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March 13, 2007 > Lady curlers find U.S. Club Nationals no walk in the park

Lady curlers find U.S. Club Nationals no walk in the park

By Biff Jones

San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club's (SFBACC) women's team traveled back to St. Paul, MN last week to compete in the U.S. Club Nationals against teams from nine other regions across the USA. The women's team from SFBACC won the Mountain Pacific (MOPAC) region to qualify for the national tournament. Led by Coach Barry Ivy of Livermore and formerly Ontario, Canada, the lady curlers from SFBACC are Skip (Captain) Gabrielle Coleman of Mountain View, Vice-Skip Beverly Van Pelt of Salinas, Lead Karen Officer of Los Altos and Second JoDee Dike-Johnson of Fremont. The curlers train and practice at Shark's Ice in Fremont and Logitech Ice in San Jose.

For the young and inexperienced women (each has been curling for one year or less) it would be an exhausting week, as each team would have to curl two games a day over a four game stretch (Monday-Thursday), then one or two games on Friday and Saturday to win a medal. During a game, the four curlers throw a forty-two pound rock the equivalent distance of six tenths of a mile while also vigorously sweeping the ice in front of a thrown rock for up to 100 feet per throw. This physical activity is in addition to the mental strain of mapping out the strategy needed to give their team the best chance of defeating some of the opposition's wily old veterans.

On the first day of competition, SFBACC went up against two of the competition's favorite teams. In the first game, SFB lost to Duluth, MN 14-3 after eight ends (most games go to ten ends) and in the second game, Madison, WI was victorious 11-5 after nine ends. On day two, it would be winless SFBACC against a winless team from Dallas/Fort Worth, TX. In a hard fought contest the Bay Area ladies would prevail and came away with a high scoring 11-9 victory to improve their record to 1-2. The second game of the day was another nail biter for SFBACC as the faced a team from Grand Forks, ND. Grand Forks would go up 7-1 after six ends before our local curlers closed the gap to 7-4 after eight ends. The team from ND would extend the lead to 9-4 after nine ends only to see our young ladies score four in the tenth and final end. It would not be enough as Grand Forks prevailed 9-8. The final five games saw our curlers from the Bay area go down to defeat as they seemed to struggle more in the strategic aspects of the sport against the more experienced midwestern and eastern curlers.

A wealth of knowledge and experience was gained about the sport of curling by Gabrielle, Beverly, Karen and JoDee during the week spent in the twin cities. Under the continued tutelage of Coach Barry, the young women will become more adept at the strategy required to succeed at this complicated but fun loving sport as they prepare for next year's regional and national competitions.

SFBACC will be holding an open house on the sport of curling in the next few of months at Shark's Ice and/or Logitech Ice. This will give anyone interested in trying this fun and friendly sport a chance to come and try their skills. Watch the sports section of TCV for more details as they become available.

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