Olympic pre-trials begin low for Bernard

(Photo by Heather Davidson)

(Photo by Heather Davidson)

KITCHENER, Ont. — Some people would say that life is full of surprises. The Road to the Roar curling pre-trials tournament is no exception.

In a day that saw three out of the top four seeds handed their first or second loss in only the second day, it is safe to say that Canada is filled with potential in preparation for the Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia.

Cheryl Bernard of Grand Prairie, Alta., is no stranger to the Olympics. Having represented Canada in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics, she was able to bring home a silver medal with the help of her teammates.

“It was pretty amazing,” she revelled when asked about her experiences in Vancouver. “It was an experience, it makes you wanna get back there real bad, and so that’s what makes this even tougher.”

“Canadians were awesome, and I loved representing this country, I couldn’t have been more honoured.”

However, the odds did not seem to be in her favour Wednesday, as she lost her first draw to the 12th seed Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont. 6-5, barely coming up short in the final end.

“I didn’t catch onto the ice as quick as the other team,” Bernard said. “Sometimes that’s tough and we didn’t catch on quite as quick.”

Bernard moved on to face top-seed Shannon Kleibrink of Norquay, Sask., who had also lost her first draw in an upsetting defeat against eighth-seed Kelly Scott of Winnipeg. The two veteran curlers, with both an Olympic berth under their belts  — Kleibrink represented Canada in Turin, Italy in 2006 — faced off.

The match stayed fairly close and proved to be a nail biter until the very end.

After trading stone for stone every end, an open end gave Kleibrink the advantage coming into the 10th end with the hammer, where she was able to make the draw to close the match 6-5, handing Bernard her second loss in the triple-elimination tournament.

Despite being on the edge of elimination, Bernard still has her eye on the prize.

“[We want] to definitely clinch one of the two spots” Bernard said. “But the depth of field of play in Canada is deep, and you gotta get some breaks going your way. We’re still fighting in it, and hopefully we’ll catch up.”

So what’s the secret to success? How will Bernard and her teammates persevere in the rest of the tournament?

“Make more shots. We’re struggling a little bit with weight, so we need to improve on our draw weight, and we’re learning every time and that’s what it is when you go out there that’s what you try to do.”

Bernard continues to battle for a berth in Winnipeg when she plays against Barb Spencer of Winnipeg, Man. The draw starts at 7 p.m., on Thursday night.

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