Ottawa curler Jenn Hanna beats the odds, downing Rachel Homan in Ontario championship
BY JOE PAVIA
Jenn Hanna’s team celebrates their Ontario Scotties win on Jan. 24. (Robert Wilson, OCA)
Losing to Rachel Homan might have been the key to beating her.
Jenn Hanna’s Ontario championship win on Sunday over Team Homan in Brampton was hatched in the team’s extra end loss to Homan on Wednesday night.
“Our goal in the round robin was to take Homan to 10 ends. And see what would happen,” Hanna said. “When we lost in the extra it gave us some confidence being able to go into the final and get that close and maybe even beat her.”
The Ottawa skip thinks that Team Homan is the best women’s curling rink in the world.
Besides Hanna’s extra-end loss, Homan played only one round-robin game to 10 ends and in that game versus Cathy Auld, Homan was up 7-3 in the 10th.
Her first and last Ontario Scotties title was in 2005. She says she’s happy winning both but her life has changed.
“In 2005, I was 25,” Hanna said. “Curling was pretty well my life. It was my first and foremost priority. Today clearly it’s far down the list of my priorities. I still love the game. I have three kids, a husband and a job. It slides down the list a little bit.”
As we talked on the phone, the mother of three children (two girls and a boy) had to say “Charlotte, mommy’s on the phone love.
“There’s a perfect example right there how life is different.”
Her sister and second Stephanie (also a mom) played with two younger athletes, 29-year-olds Brit O’Neill and Karen Sagle, third and lead respectively. Their busy lives make competing a challenge.
“It’s just much harder now to put in the time you really need to be good enough to compete with people like Rachel Homan and Sherry Middaugh and anybody else who plays at that level all the time,” Jenn Hanna said.
A huge part of the team’s success is their father Bob as coach, the same coach they had in 2005. “We were enjoying the week together,” Hanna said. “And we really did. We had so, so much fun together. We did the hospitality lounge. It’s rare now in our busy lives for the three of us to spend time together.”
Hanna thinks that setting realistic goals was the key to their success.
“We went there with the intent of trying to make the playoffs. I don’t remember a year when 6-3 didn’t get you at least a tiebreaker. The goal was to win more games than we lost.
“It was setting realistic goals and not looking at more than one game ahead that helped us all week.”
The skip feels her team was ready but its been a long time since her last championship win.
“It’s not that we didn’t believe that we were capable of winning but when you are away from it as long as we were and with 11 years since a win it becomes something that you just don’t allow your mind to get to,” she said.
Summing up that final game Hanna said “Regardless of the outcome they (Homan) are still best team in the world. They had an off day and that happens in sports sometime. On the other side of it we played really, really well. I’m super proud of the girls.”
Meanwhile, Gatineau residents and husband and wife, Jean-Michel Menard and Annie Lemay are heading to the Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties, respectively. Menard is skipping his team and Lemay plays second for Marie-France Larouche.
Regional action took place in bantam, intermediates and stick curling last week. Those advancing to provincials are: Bantam: Hazen Enman, Ryan Hahn, Sierra Sutherland and Corri Burke. Intermediate: Dave Collyer, Bill Blad, Jennifer Harvey and Sheryl Dobenko. Stick curling winners were Jack Casserly and Bob Matheson.
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