The Manitoba Junior Curling Tour features the best men's and women's teams from around the province, all of which battle for several titles throughout the season, the biggest of which is the season-ending Tour Final.
On the women's side, the 2019 circuit was dominated by Dauphin's Lane Prokopowich and her team. Before this past weekend, the foursome came together to win the Morris MJCT and the Petersfield MJCT. The two titles earned the team the top spot heading into the finale with the biggest prize up for grabs.
Lane and her team would begin the tournament with two straight wins. They would then drop an 8-4 decision against Team Zacharias. After that, the foursome went into cruise mode. They won their final round-robin game, 7-2. They would then win their semifinal, 7-5, which put them up against Team Zacharias in the finals.
Trailing 2-1 through two ends, Team Gray-Withers would steal the show. They scored eight straight points from the third end to the sixth and Team Zacharias would shake after the sixth end as they were trailing 9-2. The win means Lane and the rest of Team Gray-Withers are the 2019 Manitoba Junior Curling Tour women's Champions. It also completed a three-win circuit.
"It felt incredible for all of us. Going into the event, we knew we would have to bring our best game because we were playing the best teams in the province," said Prokopowich. "It was also nice to get some redemption on Team Zacharias because we lost to them last year. It was great to come out on top this year."
"We sort of treated the event like a pre-trial before provincials. We know we're going to see the same faces next month," she added. "We just wanted to have some fun and relax and play as we could."
This bonspiel was the final one for the team before they take part in no doubt their biggest event of the season so far. The team has already qualified for the Telus Junior Men's and Women's Provincial Championships that will take place at Credit Union Place and the Dauphin Curling Club from January 1-5, 2020.
With three wins under their belt, the team knows they have a chance to get it done.
"Winning the MJCT Final gave us a confidence boost heading into the provincials," she added. "We'll most likely be ranked first or second going into the provincials which is amazing. With that said, we know we're going to have to make all of our shots and play our best at all times."
Lane is one of several local athletes that will get the opportunity to shine right at home in front of her family and friends. Dauphin's Lauryn Kuzyk and her team won the provincials last year. It's not often that a rural team has a great opportunity to win the provincials in their hometown, but Prokopowich is ready for the challenge that will await her and Team Gray-Withers from January 1-5.
"It's going to be amazing playing an event in my hometown. It's honestly like a dream come true for me," she concluded. "All of my family and friends will be watching, it honestly means everything to me."
Swan River will host a West 1 Regional this weekend which means the Parkland could clinch a couple of more spots in the event this weekend.