John Morris, left, and Jim Cotter talk strategy in the Home Hardware Road to the Roar.Men’s A Final. (Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Morris opens Trials with Jacobs

John Morris’ Vernon rink opens the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Saturday against Brad Jacobs

John Morris has taken a similar path to the last two Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings events.

Morris has once again qualified for the opportunity to represent Canada at the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea by winning one of the final two qualification spots available through the Home Hardware Road to the Roar pre-trials event.

Morris, third Jim Cotter of Vernon, second Catlin Schneider of Saskatchewan and lead Tyrel Griffith of Kelowna (and coach Jody Epp) earned the right to be at the Roar of the Rings starting Saturday in Ottawa by winning the first available qualification spot at the Home Hardware Road to the Roar in Summerside, P.E.I.

The Vernon Curling Club team went 3-3 in the round-robin for second place in its pool to qualify for the A-side semifinal. Morris beat Charley Thomas 4-2 in the A semifinal, followed by a 4-3 win against Brendan Bottcher to win the first qualification spot available.

While playing for an Olympic berth is all the incentive a team needs, Morris’ trip to Ottawa comes with additional value. Morris will be playing in his hometown. Qualifying through the pre-trials has been a successful route for Morris. In 2013, Morris, Cotter and Griffith advanced to the final of the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings and lost to Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie. Those teams have a rematch in the opening round Saturday afternoon.

Morris goes up against Mike McEwen of Winnipeg in a Sunday matinee and then gets Monday off before facing Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton Tuesday night. Morris meets Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Vernon’s Jesse Monette has qualified for the 2018 Boston Pizza B.C. Junior Curling Championships, Dec. 18-23, at the Langley Curling Centre.

Monette’s rink, featuring Erik Colwell, Adam Raber, Ben Morin and Logan Miron, finished third with 186 points on the B.C. Junior Curling Tour.

Teams were able to take part in a total of five Tour events, including the most recent one which wrapped up at Esquimalt Curling Club on Nov. 13.

Team Sarah Daniels (Delta Thistle/Royal City) on the junior women’s side and Team Tyler Tardi (Langley/Royal City) on the men’s side were the top teams.

Daniels, with Kayla MacMillan, Megan Daniels and Sarah Loken, secured 254 points overall. Team Taylor Reese-Hansen of Victoria were second with 241 points. The Vernon team of Megan McGillivray, Jaelyn Cotter, Winter Harvey and Cassidy Schwaerzle rated an honourable mention for posting 146.25 points, just shy of a berth.

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