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Shot at the Olympics

Vernon-based Team Morris has a shot at a place at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Curlers John Morris, Jim Cotter, Tyrel Griffith and Catlin Schneider on Sunday won the A-side qualifying game of the 2017 Home Hardware Road to the Roar Pre-trials, shading Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher 4-3.

With the victory in P.E.I., the four, along with coach Jody Epp, have booked their tickets for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, beginning Dec. 2 in Ottawa.

“It feels awesome; to get back to an Olympic trials is quite a process, it takes a few years, so to get back there feels absolutely phenomenal,” said Cotter, who abdicated last-rock duties to Morris on Friday, and the team went on to win three of its final four games with the juggled lineup.

Four years ago, Morris, Cotter and Griffith went to through the pre-trials only to lose the final to eventual Olympic gold-medallist Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

“Absolutely, (the 2013 Trials final loss to Jacobs) is a motivator,” Cotter sid. “To get that close lights a fire under you, and you definitely want to put yourself back in that position. To be that close just makes you that much more hungry.”

Bottcher, vice-skip Darren Moulding, second Brad Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin will get another shot at a trials berth Sunday at 3:30 p.m. PST when they play the winner of the B-side semifinal between Glenn Howard (Etobicoke, Ont.) and Greg Balsdon (Kingston, Ont.).

Morris, who won Olympic gold in 2010 playing third for Kevin Martin, said this team learned a lesson from the 2013 run to the final that it will put into play in Ottawa.

“We’re going to prepare for a grind for the entire event and we won’t let up one inch until the very last rock is thrown. That will be the biggest difference,” Morris said.  

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