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Kleibrink taking her last shot

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SHANNON KLEIBRINK won her B-side qualifier Sunday at the Manitoba Lotteries Women's Curling Classic with her last shot at the Fort Rouge Curling Club.

Fitting, because the Calgary skip is also taking her last shot this season at Olympic qualification and the intense competitive schedule that comes with it. Kleibrink won the bronze medal at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, albeit with a different team behind her, and would love to get to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

"This will be my last try so we are going pretty hard and playing in as many spiels as we can possibly fit in," said Kleibrink after defeating the Krista McCarville team from Thunder Bay 4-3. Kleibrink, third Bronwen Webster, second Kalynn Park and lead Chelsea Matson advance to today's playoff round at 10 a.m.

"I'll still play, but I'm not going to go 13 weekends out of 15 again. I didn't know if I'd do this, another round, for the Olympic trials. I feel just as good as I did when I was 30 so I figured why not," Kleibrink said, laughing. "It's just so much fun, even trying to get there."

The Manitoba Lotteries Women's Curling Classic carries not only a $60,000 total prize purse, with $15,000 for first place, but important points that teams are trying to accumulate to earn an Olympic qualification berth next year.

The playoff round begins today with the 10 a.m. quarter-finals followed by the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. and the final at 5 p.m.

"It's great, because I'm old so it saves us that one last game," said the 44-year-old, referring to the fact her team would have had to play again Sunday night if they had lost.

Kleibrink took a 3-2 lead in the fourth end. After consecutive blanks, the McCarville team had to take one in the seventh to tie 3-3 which gave Kleibrink the hammer in the eighth.

With McCarville lying one, Kleibrink used perfect draw weight with her last stone to tap back a McCarville rock to score two for the win.

"It worked out well in the seventh, we made a really long roll to kind of take the play behind the centre guard and we got lucky to force them there," Kleibrink said.

This season Kleibrink added Park at third, daughter of Kevin Park who formerly curled with Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton, as longtime former third Amy Nixon left to start her own team.

In the eighth and final end, Park made a difficult double takeout in the four-foot while leaving two of her own team's stones counting.

"She makes some big shots for us," Kleibrink said.

Other women's teams that qualified for today's quarter-finals included Team Jennifer Jones, Laura Crocker, Stefanie Lawton, Cheryl Bernard, Barb Spencer and Renee Sonnenberg.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 22, 2012 C5

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