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Shantz rink claims B.C. title

Second provincial win in a row for a local women’s curling team
Parksville skip Penny Shantz

For the second straight year a local team has clinched the BC Senior Women’s Curling Championship.

In acton at the eight-team B.C. Senior Women’s playdowns in Kelowna Feb. 15-19, Parksville skip Penny Shantz and her team — third Debbie Jones-Walker, second Deborah Pulak and lead Shirley Wong — went 7-1 in round robin, their lone loss to Karen Lepine from Langley.

“One bad end,” Shantz surmised when The News caught up with her.

That record of 7-1 earned them first place overall and a bye straight though to Sunday’s championship game, which would end up being a winner-take all rematch against Lepine.

Shantz scored two in the first end, and Lepine countered with one each in the second and third. Shantz scored two in the fourth, and Lepine countered with to of her own in the fifth for a 4-4 tie. The locals counted one in the sixth end to go up 5-4, but then their opponents counted four in the seventh to go up 8-5.

“It didn’t look good there for a while,” Shantz chuckled, “but then we came back with four in the eighth end — she let us back in.

“We all made our shots and just controlled the (eighth) end. I didn’t have to make any big shots, and I had an open hit for four,” Penny explained of the counter punch that  put them up 9-8 with two ends remaining.

In the ninth, Lepine was sitting three and Shantz hit and rolled to the button behind some guards to steal the end and go up two coming home without the hammer.

Shantz said they froze to a rock in the back 12 foot to lie two, which took away any chance of Lepine scoring two and thus secured them the win.

“It was a crazy game ... we had really solid games all week, but that game all I can say is it was crazy. Back and forth, back and forth ... we were pretty excited to win.”

Debbie Jones-Walker lives in Vancouver and as such the local team only played a couple of bonspiels together this year. Three weeks ago the team won the Sr. Women’s District play-downs in similar fashion.

Shantz and Jones-Walker were teammates on the Canadian Women’s Olympic team that garnered gold at the Calgary Olympics in 1988 and have remained good friends.

“We have a pretty successful record in the finals,” Shantz laughed, pointing out, “we haven’t lost yet.”

It has been a busy month for Shantz, who was also the event chair of the BC Men’s Curling Championships held here in Parksville.

Last year, longtime Qualicum Beach and District Curling Club member and mentor Lynne Noble and company (Lorraine Jeffries, Ellen Merriam, Lorraine Gagnon and Kristin Nickells) became the first team from these parts to win a Sr. Women’s provincial title.

The 2012 Sr. Women’s Canadian Curling Championships is slated for March 15 to 25 in Abbotsford and will feature the country’s top 12 teams.

In the meantime, Shantz and Wong are back on the ice in Qualicum Beach this weekend for a mixed bonspiel. The newly crowned B.C. champs, said Shantz, will be looking for a tuneup bonspiel in March, “preferably the weekend before (the nationals).”

Shantz, said local curler Eileen Leachman, “is one remarkable woman — won regionals, chaired the men’s provincials and won the senior women’s provincials in a very short time.”