Working up the ranks: McManus looks back on five World Junior Curling Championship appearances

This is the fifth and final appearance at the World Junior Curling Championships for Swedish skip Sara McManus WCF/Alina Pavliuchik

Swedish skip Sara McManus is the most experienced player at the 2013 World Junior Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia. But every streak has to come to an end, and her fifth appearance at the World Junior Curling Championships will be her last. McManus, 21, will age out of junior competition this year and will focus on the senior women’s game. “I think it’s awesome to be here and I love it. This is something I really want to do every year,” McManus said.

McManus made her first appearance as an alternate at the 2009 World Junior Curling Championships in Vancouver, Canada. “It’s been interesting. I got to play some games at my first Worlds so I had that experience before,” she said.

McManus worked her way up the ranks of team Sweden to play lead and second at the 2010 games in Flims, Switzerland, third at the World Juniors in Perth, Scotland in 2011 and skipped the team that finished fourth at last year’s event held in her homeland, in the town of Östersund. Her team won the gold medal in 2010. “I think I’m just very fortunate to have played with some good players throughout my career to help get me there,” said McManus.

McManus has played through the entire ranks of a team, but admits she’s most comfortable playing at third. Skipping in 2012 and again at this year’s World Junior Curling Championships has been a steep learning curve for her. She said: “I like to play fourth and I like to skip, but I love to sweep as well. I would say I’m a third. The thinking and knowing strategy was pretty new to me. But I’m a vice-skip so I know how to read the ice.” She added: “I’m not used to it, but I talk to the girls a lot and they help me out.”

On her senior team, McManus plays vice-skip and her sister Jonna skips. The young team will have their work cut out for them in seniors because they’ll have to face the likes of former World Champion Anette Norberg and silver medalist Margaretha Sigfridsson. “I’m going to miss it because now I’m aging out. All I can do is train with my team and see how many years it will take for us to get to the Women’s Worlds,” she said.

McManus’ final World Junior team consists of third Sofia Mabergs, second Rosalie Egli, lead Malin Ekholm and alternate Marina Stener. “We just wanted to try this team at Swedish nationals and it did go well,” McManus said.

The Swedes have picked up their pace at the 2013 World Junior Curling Championships. After starting 0-4 the team has won their last three. McManus’ chances of making the play-offs one more time are still alive, and with it the opportunity to finish her junior career on a high-note.

Kyle Jahns
WCF Trainee Journalist

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