Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Meakin still makin' history

Wins junior title, puts jump to women's on hold for now

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The ladies will have to wait. They should consider themselves fortunate.

Winnipeg's Breanne Meakin has had to put her promising career as a women's curler on hold for one more winter. The reason? She is not quite yet done with a history-making junior women's career.

Meakin wrote herself into Manitoba curling's history books on Monday with a 6-4 win over Ste. Anne's Alyssa Vandepoele in the final of the 2011 Manitoba junior women's curling championship at Victoria Curling Club.

The victory represented the third Manitoba junior title in a row for Meakin and her fourth in five years. It also means she joins just three other Manitoba curlers to have ever won four junior women's titles -- Barb Rudolph (1972-75); Patti Vande (1974-77); and Laryssa Grenkow (2005-07, 2009).

(Grenkow's achievement was overlooked in the official event program.)

With Monday's title, Meakin -- supported by third Briane Meilleur, second Erica Sigurdson and lead Krysten Karwacki -- will represent Manitoba at the Canadian Juniors in Calgary, Jan. 29-Feb. 6.

Those dates conflict, however, with the Manitoba provincials women's curling championship in Altona, where Meakin also has a berth as third for Cathy Overton-Clapham, one of the pre-event favourites.

It is a golden opportunity for Meakin to win her first provincial women's title, but she did not hesitate when asked yesterday how she intended to resolve the conflict. "It's too bad," Meakin said of her decision to miss the provincial women's championship in favour of the Canadian Juniors, "but there's years to come for that."

Overton-Clapham was in attendance for yesterday's final, hugged her teammate after the game and wished her well at the Canadian Juniors. As for her own team, Overton-Clapham has recruited former Manitoba women's champion Karen Fallis to curl third for her in Altona later this month.

Meanwhile, Meakin, for all the curling achievements crammed into her 20 years, still has some boxes to check off on her curling resumé.

For starters, while Meakin won a Canadian junior championship in 2009 as lead for Kaitlyn Lawes, she finished middle of the pack and out of the playoffs last winter in her first appearance at the junior nationals as a skip.

She will definitely be looking to improve upon that performance in Calgary. "End-by-end, shot-by-shot -- patience will definitely be a big thing for us there," said Meakin, a third-year nutritional sciences student at the University of Manitoba.

There is also the outstanding matter of a world championship for Meakin. That 2009 Canadian junior champion she played on with Lawes had to settle for a silver medal after a heartbreaking loss in the world final that year.

It was the kind of disappointment Vandepoele wishes she knew -- and at the same time knows too well.

Vandepoele also lost the 2009 provincial junior final -- to that Lawes-Meakin team -- and was in tears yesterday as she tried to put the disappointments in perspective. "Sometimes the rocks just don't go where they're supposed to."

Vandepoele went through the round-robin last week at 7-0 before the wheels came off. First, it was Meakin handing her a 9-4 loss Sunday night in the page playoff 1 vs 1 game that vaulted Meakin to the final and forced Vandepoele to play a semifinal game Monday morning.

Vandepoele won the semifinal handily -- 7-2 over East St. Paul's Katie Spencer -- but could not solve the Meakin riddle, falling behind quickly when Meakin took full advantage of a second-end miscue to draw for three and an insurmountable lead.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2011 B6

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