It’s day one of the 2024 Provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Access Event Centre in Morden. Kaitlyn Lawes, Selena Njegovan, Jocelyn Peterman and Kristin MacCuish of the Fort Rouge Curling Club in Winnipeg are the number one seed.
Skip Lisa McLeod and her curling team are the 6th seed and with members from different areas around Manitoba, they meet in Portage la Prairie for practice. McLeod shares the team's regional makeup.
"Jolene Callum is from Miami, and Hallie McCannell is from Rivers. We've got Janelle Lach from Plumas, Hailey McFarlane and myself, we're both from Winnipeg. We come together practicing in Portage because it's the most central for us."
The team, representing the Portage Curling Club, faces tough competition from 12 formidable teams. McLeod emphasized a step-by-step approach.
"We really must take it one sort of chunk at a time. First, we have our initial five games. We know the draw; we can prepare in advance for which lineup is playing against which team because we do have a five-person team. Then if we get to the first round, then we'll reassess when we get to the championship round and decide if we need to do any tweaks at that."
Having qualified through strong performances on the Manitoba Curling Tour, McLeod expressed familiarity with most opponents. She stressed the importance of adaptability and maintaining focus on each game.
Looking ahead to their first opponent, Team Kaatz which is a new team, McLeod aims to stay calm, understand the ice, and quickly adapt to draw weight, a crucial element for success in curling.
Despite the team's experience at large-scale events, she expressed the joy of participating in tournaments held in smaller communities like Morden.
"We love curling in smaller communities," McLeod shares. "There's just nothing like the Scotties. Honestly, when the Scotties are in a smaller town, it's amazing. It's still great when it's in Winnipeg, but in the rural areas we just get to see more people, you get to go around and see everyone and they're so excited. There's a good vibe and it's fantastic."
The first draw is 8:30 a.m. Wednesday with Team McLeod setting their sights on their first game against Rachel Kaatz of Winnipeg, at 12:15 p.m.
You can view the scores here.