Karynn Flory will rock the house in her hometown this weekend at the Northern Alberta Curling Association women’s playdowns.
The first game for the St. Albert skip is 10 a.m. today against Chana Martineau of the Saville Centre.
“It’s great. I like being there,” Flory said of the St. Albert Curling Club. “I actually got some practice in sparing in the ladies league a couple of times this season so it will be nice to be back there again.”
Six rinks are competing for three spots at the Alberta Scotties, Jan. 20 to 24 at the North Hill Curling Club in Calgary.
“To get to the provincial Scotties is our goal every year, whether it be through bonspiels and getting enough points to qualify automatically or going through the northern route,” said Flory, who is curling out of the Avonair with third Richelle Nanninga (nee Baer), second Sydney Lewko, who is based in Grande Prairie, and lead Katie Roskewich. “We weren’t able to enter as many bonspiels as we would’ve liked to just because of other factors. We have our college curling (with the NAIT Ooks) and a member of our team got married so that took up a couple of weekends. It just wasn’t as easy for us to go to as many bonspiels as we would’ve liked so northerns is kind of our hope here.”
Last year Flory’s NAIT lineup of Nanninga, Amanda Moizis and Roskewich qualified out of the B event at northerns.
“Last year being our first year (at northerns) we didn’t really know what to expect going into it. Obviously losing the A final was tough and coming back and winning the B to make it to the Scotties just shows we were resilient,” Flory said. “We knew becoming provincial champs might be far fetched in our first couple of years but at least being able to get to the Scotties and having that experience and knowing what it’s all about really helped.”
At the 12-team provincials the Flory foursome finished 0-3.
“But every game that we played at the Scotties last year got considerably better. Our first game we lost handily (10-3 to Crystal Webster) and then we just made it our goal to make it better each game and we did,” Flory said. “We were playing the best teams in the province and to be considered one of those teams was exciting.”
Rounding out the field at northerns are the Avonair rinks skipped by Nicky Kaufman and Jessie Kaufman, plus Lindsay Makichuk of Lloydminster and the underdog St. Albert squad of skip Karen Stephen, third Nicole Bellamy, second Kristina Hadden and lead Audra Lindsey.
Stephen also plays today at 10 a.m. against Makichuk.
The finals are 7 p.m. (A event) tonight, 2:30 p.m. (B event) Sunday and 10 a.m. (C event) Monday. Admission is free.
Visit www.northernalbertacurling.com for draw times and results.
Last year’s northerns featured nine rinks so the odds of a return trip to provincials for Flory have increased.
“It just means we can’t let our guard down. Whether it be six or nine teams you still have to go in there knowing every team is going to be difficult. It’s not going to be easy. You have to play your best to make it through to the end,” said the 2015 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women’s curler of the year.
After the playdowns, Flory will focus on winning the ACAC championship for the second year in a row and the third time in four years. Her NAIT rink curls in the Avonair Tuesday night women’s league and recently went 6-0 at the first regional ACAC competition.
At the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championships, Flory medalled for the third time as the bronze winner for the second straight year after earning silver in 2013.
The Bellerose Composite High School alumna also guided her Avonair club champs to victory at the Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions. She was joined by Nanninga and spares’ Lewko and Sharla Warawa as they rallied from a 6-1 deficit after three ends to knock off Lauren Jenkyns of St. Albert, the defending champion, 9-8 in an extra end.
Flory, 23, still has a year of college eligibility remaining as she works towards completing her business administration studies after receiving her personal fitness training diploma at NAIT.
In the meantime, Flory will continue to develop her curling skills while vying for spot at the Alberta Scotties and repeating in the ACAC playoffs and at the Tournament of Champions.
“For myself it’s all about new experiences and learning to play with the big teams,” said the 2013 Alberta junior champion. “One of my biggest goals is should we make it to the Alberta Scotties is for us to be able to keep up with the teams and maybe get a win or two under our belts at provincials and that would be a step in the right direction.”