DUNSTONE TEAM NAMED TOP SEED FOR VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIP

(CurlManitoba Release) The five top-ranked Manitoba men’s curling teams on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) have been seeded into the top five positions in the draw for CurlManitoba’s Viterra Championship which will be played in Neepawa, February 7-12.

In his return to Manitoba championship competition, Matt Dunstone’s Fort Rouge team, currently #2 on the CTRS ranking, has been awarded the top seed.

#1 Seed: (Fort Rouge) Team Dunstone includes the former Manitoba and Canadian junior champion skip along with B.J. Neufeld, Colton Lott, and Ryan Harnden. They earned their CTRS #2 ranking, and a 2022-23 CTRS entry into the Viterra Championship, competing in nine events so far this season. They qualified for the playoff round in eight of those events, with a win in Red Deer and three other finalist finishes. This marks a return to Manitoba championship play for Dunstone after several years of competing at the Brier for Saskatchewan.

#2 Seed: (Morris) Reid Carruthers and Derek Samagalski represent the reigning Manitoba champion team. After line-up shuffles for the new quadrennial, former Manitoba junior and mixed champion skip Reid Carruthers moved back to the tee. Another recent line-up shuffle has Samagalski playing third with Connor Njegovan and Matt Lorenz on the front end. The team earned their CTRS #5 ranking, and a 2022-23 CTRS entry into the Viterra Championship, competing in ten events so far this season. They qualified for the playoff round in five of those events, with a win in Fredericton and two other finalist finishes.

#3 Seed: (Fort Rouge) Ryan Wiebe, Ty Dilello, Sean Flatt, and Adam Flatt were the semi-finalists at the Viterra Championship a year ago in Selkirk. The young team has earned their CTRS #10 ranking, and a 2022-23 CTRS entry into the Viterra Championship, competing in eight events so far this season. They qualified for the playoff round in six of those events, with a win at the Granite Curling Club and two other finalist finishes.

#4 Seed: (Fort Garry) Corey Chambers, Daley Peters, Julien Leduc, Brendan Bilawka, and Michael Martin played a lesser, and mostly local schedule, compared with the three teams ranked above them, They still managed to earn a CTRS #24 ranking. They have played five events and qualified in all five, with a win at Thistle and one other finalist finish to earn a Manitoba Curling Tour berth into the Viterra. A year ago in Selkirk, Chambers and Leduc advanced to the Page Playoff final round before being knocked out. Chambers will enjoy returning to Neepawa where he played third for Sean Grassie in a 2013 championship final game loss to Jeff Stoughton.

#5 Seed: (Fort Rouge) Braden Calvert, Kyle Kurz, Ian McMillan, and Rob Gordon earned this year’s Viterra Championship berth as a result of a high end-of-last-season CTRS ranking. This year, playing a reduced schedule of six events, the team has a #35 CTRS rank. They have played six events and qualified in three but have yet to reach a final. A year ago in Selkirk, the same line-up advanced to the playoff round but did not qualify for the Page Playoff final round.

CurlManitoba’s YouTube Channel will feature the game played on every draw in the centre (Sheet C) of Neepawa’s Yellowhead Community Rec Centre. Given the nature of the Viterra Championship draw, with winners advancing to play winners, it is not possible beyond the opening draws, to identify match-ups. However, curling fans can be assured of great championship curling entertainment each time they tune in.

Neepawa has hosted the Manitoba Men’s Championship three times previously, in 2000, 2002 and 2013. In 2002, Mark Lukowich skipped the winning team. In 2000 and 2013, the championship was won by a Jeff Stoughton team. This year’s #2 seed skip Reid Carruthers was the second on the 2013 champion team which defeated Grassie in the final.

**

All livescores and personnel can be found at Live Scores & Results – CurlManitoba

CurlManitoba will stream one game per draw on their YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/@CurlManitoba/playlists

**

OPENING GAMES: 8:30AM WEDNESDAY
Joey Witherspoon, AMCC VS Daniel Birchard, Pembina
Reid Carruthers, Morrisw VS Rob Van Kommer, Carberry
Justin Reynolds, Winnipeg Beach VS Steve Irwin, Brandon
Sean Grassie, Deer Lodge VS Ryan Hyde, Portage
Cale Dunbar, Brandon VS JT Ryan, AMCC

OPENING GAMES: 12:15PM WEDNESDAY
Riley Smith, Thistle VS Steve Pauls, Pilot Mound
Mark Franklin, Granite VS Ryan Wiebe, Fort Rouge
Kelly Marnoch, Carberry VS Jeff Stewart, Gladstone
David Hamblin, Morris VS Steen Sigurdson, AMCC
Corey Chambers, Fort Garry VS Wayne Ewasko, Beausejour

OPENING GAMES: 4:00PM WEDNESDAY
Grant Shewfelt, Baldur VS Braden Calvert, Fort Rouge
Tanner Lott, Fort Rouge VS Richard Muntain, Granite
Justin Richter, Beausejour VS Hayden Forrester, Fort Rouge
Matt Dunstone, Fort Rouge VS Tuffy Seguin, Burntwood
Jace Freeman, Virden VS Brett Walter, AMCC

OPENING GAME: 8:00PM WEDNESDAY
Jay Kinnaird, Virden VS Jordan Peters, Fort ROuge

ZACHARIAS AND WIEBE WIN MANITOBA TOUR TITLES

Mackenzie Zacharias and her Altona team (Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine) were the winners Sunday of the Manitoba Curling Tour final at Thistle – their first MCT Championship.

TEAM ZACHARIAS

The eight team championship was played in two pools of four and Team Zacharias were 2W-1L to advance to the semifinals where they posted a 7-6 extra end victory over Kristy Watling. The final was a short-game victory over Kristy McDonald, who had reached the final with a win over Kim Link and her team, prepping for their upcoming trip to the Canadian Seniors.

Zacharias’ first prize purse is $1,600. Kristy McDonald and her team earn $1,000 toward their season expenses while Kristy Watling and Kim Link’s teams each pick up $700.

In the Men’s MCT final, Ryan Wiebe (Ty Dilello, Sean & Adam Flatt) was a 5-4 winer over Riley Smith. It was a well-played game with a lot of rocks in play and the young men favouring the big weight hits so much on display at the elite level these days.

TEAM WIEBE

Wiebe was in his third game of the day, having beaten Braden Calvert (7-1) in the quarter-final and Corey Chambers (5-2) in the semi-final.

Smith, who had a first round bye to the semi-final, beat Jacques Gauthier (4-2) in the semi-final. Gauthier had beaten Tanner Lott (skipping the Pat Simmons team) in an extra-end (6-5) semi-final.

The final four earned the same prize money as the women’s final four. The quarter-finalist teams both earned $500.

For Wiebe and the Flatt brothers, it was a repeat victory as they had won the previous (2019) MCT title as well.