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February 27, 2007 > Bay Area lady curlers head to U.S. Club Nationals

Bay Area lady curlers head to U.S. Club Nationals

By Biff Jones

Curlers from San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club (SFBACC) Women's Team will head to St. Paul, Minn. Sunday, March 4, to compete in the 2007 U.S. National Club Curling Championships March 5-10. As winners of the Mountain Pacific Curling Association (MoPac) Regional Championship, they will be competing against teams from nine other regions across the U.S. for the national title. This is the first time a women's competitive team from California has won the regional championship and played for the U.S. Curling Women's Club Championship. Other states in the MoPac region are Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Utah. The state of Washington has its own region as they have quite a few more curling clubs than the other western states.

SFBACC practices and plays at Logitech Ice in San Jose on Tuesday nights, 9:15 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. and at Shark's Ice in Fremont on Saturday nights, 9:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. They also have practiced at the Wine Country Curling Club in Vacaville.

The SFBACC Women's Team is coached by Barry Ivy of Livermore. He works as an Instrument Technician II at the Alameda County Water District in Fremont and is originally from Ontario, Canada. He says in his forty years of curling, coaching four women who have one year or less of curling experience each, is tougher than the nine years he spent doing mixed curling.

The skip (or captain) of the team is Gabrielle Coleman of Mountain View. She works as a newscast director at KNTV (NBC) News, channel 11, and has been curling for about a year. Vice-Skip, Beverly Van Pelt, is from Salinas, works in the mortgage business and is a writer. She also has been curling for only a year.

The team "lead" and "second" throwers each have all of eight months curling experience. They are, respectively, Karen Officer of Los Altos and JoDee Dike-Johnson of Fremont. Both are teachers at the California School for the Deaf (CSD) in Fremont. Coleman and Van Pelt are learning the sign language used by Officer and Dike-Johnson. It helps all of them to communicate strategy and tactics during a game with a rink full of curlers trying to do the same verbally at a distance of over one hundred yards. You may recall, from TCV's February 13 issue, Officer and Dike-Johnson just returned from Salt Lake City where they helped the U.S. team capture the Silver Medal in women's curling at the 2007 Deaflympics. They now are going for the U.S. National Women's Club Championship. What a year for these ladies!

As there are ten teams from ten regions, each team will play nine games in the round-robin phase of the championship. The teams will be playing two games a day, Monday through Thursday and one game on Friday, March 9. If tie-breaker games are needed, they're also scheduled for Friday. The top four teams, after the round-robin, will play semi-final games Saturday morning. The two semi-finalists will square-off Saturday afternoon for the national championship.

SFBACC also has a mixed club team (two men and two women) that will be competing at the mixed U.S. Nationals in Grafton, ND two weeks after the women's nationals. SFBACC did not have a men's team this year.

Good luck ladies in your quest for a national championship. Results of the women's nationals will be published in the March 13th edition of your Tri-City Voice.

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