The Suzanne Birt-skipped rink invested the time to be ready for this year’s P.E.I. Scotties Tournament of Hearts and it paid off on Sunday.
The Suzanne Birt rink from the host Montague Curling Rink won the P.E.I. Scotties Tournment of Hearts Sunday morning. From left are coach Mitchell O’Shea, lead Michelle McQuaid, second Meaghan Hughes, third Marie Christianson and skip Suzanne Birt. – Curl Prince Edward Island
The squad, which also includes third Marie Christianson, second Meaghan Hughes, lead Michelle McQuaid and coach Mitchell O’Shea, defeated Veronica Smith’s team from the Silver Fox Curling Club in Summerside 8-1 in seven ends Sunday morning to defend its title. They went 5-1 in the five-team tournament.
The Birt rink became members of the host Montague Curling Rink this year in order to familiarize themselves with the ice. It also went to two tournaments in Ontario and eight more across the Maritimes.
“We just had a feeling of being very well prepared,” Birt said Sunday afternoon. “It’s a lot of time away from family and life at home, but it’s definitely worth it in these situations. We do what we love to do – curling. And the best chance we have to prepare ourselves for the big national stage is (to play a lot).”
The entire team was back from last year’s championship run and Birt said the familiarity with one another helps.
“You learn everybody’s tendencies and how they throw the rocks,” she said, while adding they have a strong bond on and off the ice. “We just really enjoy being together.”
“They played great all weekend,” Birt said of the Smith rink. “We had a few tough games this weekend so it’s good that we could grind through, keep together and keep to our game plan.”