There were no real surprises as the seeds were revealed for the upcoming Viterra Championship.
The new Reid Carruthers and Mike McEwen team was an easy choice for the top seed considering they’ve combined to win the last four provincial men’s curling titles.
Jason Gunnlaugson’s Morris based foursome is seeded second, with the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club’s Braden Calvert ranked third. Winnipeg Beach’s Tanner Lott and the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club’s Dennis Bohn round out the top five.
For Team Carruthers, the season has had it’s share of ups and downs after joining forces in the off-season.
“We’ve obviously had some growing pains,” Carruthers said.
“But we’ve also won three tournaments, lost a final in a slam, so there’s been some flashes of some really good curling, and we’ve also had some inconsistent curling. For us, we’re still learning each other, but I feel like we’re trending in the right direction.”
WATCH: Raw Reid Carruthers Interview
The Carruthers-McEwen combo has only made the playoffs once in the five grand slam events.
They’ve made several position changes this season to try and find the winning formula. They started the season with Carruthers skipping, and McEwen throwing the fourth rocks. In November they made the change to have McEwen skipping and throwing the last stones. They also tried with Carruthers doing both skip jobs, but for this year’s provincials, McEwen will call the game and throw the skip rocks.
“It was a team decision and we’re really excited about putting our best team forward in Virden,” Carruthers said. “It’s just one of those things where we’re trying to find the right combination of who’s the best fit at which position. Also, more importantly, which gives us the best chance to win, and who’s the best support for players at different positions.”
With the exception of Rob Fowler’s victory in 2012, Jeff Stoughton, Reid Carruthers and Mike McEwen have won the last 10 provincial titles. But with Carruthers and McEwen seemingly not at the top of their game, the door might be open for another team to jump in and win the title this time around.
“There’s been no real breakout team this year,” skip Tanner Lott said. “So we feel optimistic that we can compete at just the same level as everybody else.”
The opening draw is scheduled for February 6 at the Tundra Oil and Gas Place in Virden. The winner will go on to represent Manitoba at the Brier which is being held in Brandon this year.
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