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Scheidegger returns to scene of GSOC title win

Casey Scheidegger is obviously excited to head back to North Battleford, Sask., next week for the Meridian Canadian Open.

The 30-year-old skip from Lethbridge, Alta., will return to the scene of the crime where she captured her first career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s championship two years ago and in her top-tier series debut no less.

Steals played an integral role as Scheidegger swiped a whopping 25 total points during the stunning week including the championship-winner in the final frame against Silvana Tirinzoni’s Swiss squad.

“We just battled and I think we were a little bit of an underdog at that time, so we kind of slid under the radar a little bit,” Scheidegger said during last month’s Boost National. “It definitely was a lot of fun and good memories.”

There was no stage fright from the Grand Slam rookie Scheidegger, who thrived under the spotlight at the packed North Battleford Civic Centre overcoming an early 1-2 record and sliding to the C event of the triple knockout to earn victories in five consecutive must-win games.

“The fans and the atmosphere was really awesome in there,” Scheidegger said. “It was like a small arena and it was really packed for the playoffs, so that was really fun and that was a great intro to our first Slam.”

Among those in attendance two years ago were her husband, Duncan Koning, and then-infant son Kayden plus her best friend and her family. Scheidegger said it was awesome having them all there for the special week although she’s unsure if her lucky charm Kayden will be on hand again.

“He’s a little bigger now but I don’t know if they’ll make the trip this time because he doesn’t sit as well as he did when he was a baby,” Scheidegger said with a smile, “but we’ll see.”

It’s fair to say Team Scheidegger — which also includes third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Haughian and lead Kristie Moore — will not be underestimated this time around. Their 2017 Meridian Canadian Open victory proved to be a launching point for the club as they’ve established their place among the world’s best in the elite series.

Things have come full circle for Scheidegger and her sister Haughian as they both waitressed at Humpty’s in Lethbridge back in the day and recently landed a sponsorship deal with the family restaurant chain (Humpty’s is also a major partner with the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling and title sponsor for its season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup event).

“It’s very key,” said Scheidegger, who is ranked 13th on both the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit and Year-to-Date rankings. “We lost one of our title sponsors just for economic reasons, so it’s too bad.

“The economy in Alberta is struggling a little bit. I think it’s on an upswing so we’re hoping that we’ll be able to find some more sponsorship for the upcoming year as well.”

The Meridian Canadian Open is also the final major test for teams heading into provincial playdowns with Scheidegger set to defend the Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the triple knockout serving as a suitable tuneup.

“We like the Canadian Open because it’s a very similar format to our provincials,” Scheidegger said. “Obviously a few more teams but it’s a really good warmup for us.

“Last year we played our provincials before the Canadian Open and we had won, so we were just on such a high and we did not well there, so we’re really hoping to turn things around this year.”

The Meridian Canadian Open is the fifth event and third major of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season and starts Tuesday night at North Battleford’s Civic Centre. Team Scheidegger begin their play Wednesday morning against Alberta rivals Team Chelsea Carey.