From April 9-10, twenty teams participated in the MCA 5 Year & Under at Chicago Curling Club. Established in 2007, this event is free to all MCA members who have played less than five full curling seasons. The event aims to give newer curlers the opportunity to gain more experience and curl against their peers. The winner qualified for the 5&U National Championship hosted at Southern California Curling Center on May 12-15, 2022. The Midwest Curling Association would like to thank Chicago Curling Club for hosting, and we would like to extend our gratitude to all new MCA curlers who attended!
Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!
1st Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club
James-Grant Robertson, Tycho Spardaro, Adam Goettcshe, Beth Hinson
1st Event Runner-up: Chicago Curling Club
Gregory Dowell, Steven Coberly, Adam Baxter, Eric Bertram
2nd Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club
Matt Peterson, Joel Miller, Ryan Shaw, Ryan Besch
2nd Event Runner-up: Windy City Curling Club
Lauren Visser, Aaron Visser, Eric Williams, Jason Weible
3rd Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club
Ryan Koralik, Gary Harman, Diane Greening, Lee Brunz
Girithar Anthay Suthakaran, Chris Hadac, Megan Mackinson, Tom Sikma
Nicholas Haws, Tom Arra, Angela Haws, Linda Arra
4th Event Runner-up: Windy City Curling Club
Oivind Naess, Scott Seymour, Janet Naess, Gio Seymour
Midwest Curling Association Member Clubs and Members:
As mentioned in my President’s Letter for the 2021-2022 Season, the MCA aims to strengthen our region’s curling potential. With this in mind, I wanted to address a recent situation regarding the registration for the MCA U18 Playdowns. This year only one team, Team Ponzio, signed up by the deadline in our region. Team Ponzio curls out of Minnesota and could not make Minnesota playdowns through no fault of their own. They sought the input of USA Curling, who directed them to look to other regions for two reasons: 1) USA Curling does not hold juniors to the same standards as adult curlers, as U18 teams aren’t required to be league-playing members of a regional club and 2) our region’s playdowns had not occurred. To fulfill the requirement to play at MCA U18 Playdowns, Team Ponzio paid dues to an MCA member club.
I’d like to point out several things about this situation:
- We believed this situation could pose future problems for junior MCA curlers, as we did not want to set a precedent that encouraged larger regions to send their teams to the MCA Playdowns and displace the juniors from our regional clubs. Whether you win or lose every game, National events are a great place for MCA juniors to learn and grow as a curler and team.
- No MCA teams signed up for this event by the deadline other than Team Ponzio; therefore, no MCA team was being denied the opportunity to attend U18 Nationals this year. The MCA believes rules make games fair, fun, and in line with the ‘spirit of curling.’
- The club that allowed Team Ponzio to pay dues is not to blame. All clubs accept members to grow the sport, and few survey why individuals are joining.
- Team Ponzio was not at fault, as they acted appropriately to safeguard others’ health, reached out to USA Curling, and followed the course of actions suggested by USA Curling.
With all of this in mind, the Midwest Curling Association called a special meeting on February 28th to discuss this situation. We voted to defer the responsibility of determining the representative of the MCA region to USA Curling for the 2021-2022 season. Therefore, it was USA Curling’s decision whether to send this Minnesota team in the MCA slot or turn this slot into a vacant slot that an eligible team would fill, as dictated by the USA Curling Rules of Curling & Competition Handbook.
We did not take this decision lightly. Team Ponzio fulfilled the requirement outlined by USA Curling to register for our region, and we did not want to deny juniors the opportunity to play. However, the MCA Board was disappointed with how USA Curling handled this situation and felt the implications on a regional level were not considered. To prevent this situation in the future, the MCA plans to update our bylaws to ensure that only curlers active within our region can register for our U18 MCA Playdowns.
President, Midwest Curling Association
While the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are on February 4th, viewers have the opportunity to begin watching curling on February 2nd. There will be 17 days of curling for you to enjoy this olympics. Below is a list of things you should know before the games start.
History of Curling in the Olympics
Curling was first introduced at the 1924 Winter Olympics held in Chamonix, France. The sport then reappeared as a men’s demonstration sport during the 1932 Winter Olympics in New York. For many years, curling was set aside; the sport returned again as a demonstration sport for both men and women in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics. Curling was officially added to the Olympic program as a medal sport in the 1998 Winter Olympics and a women’s and men’s event has remained ever since. In 2015, the International Olympic Committee decided to add a new event, Mixed Doubles, which was included for the first time at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Team USA Curlers
Never watched curling before, check out this awesome video created by USA Curling: Watch Curling Like A Pro
From January 21-23, four teams participated in the 2022 MCA Mixed Playdowns at Exmoor Country Club. The events format was a single round robin (double elimination). COVID safety guidelines were in place, games were timed, and a USCA-certified official oversaw the event. Team Brundidge finished the semi-finals with a 4-0 record and advanced to the finals against Team Miller who finished with a 3-1 record. Team Brundidge was declared the winner of the MCA Mixed Playdowns after finishing the event undefeated, while Team Miller secured second place.
We look forward to having Team Brundidge represent the MCA at the USA Curling Mixed Nationals. Thanks to all the teams and volunteer timers who attended the MCA Mixed Playdowns. Thanks to Exmoor Country Club for hosting such a great event, and we want to extend our gratitude to David Haverick for officiating!
Team Brundidge: Jed Brundidge, Bella Hagenbuch, Cameron Rittenour, Mae Hagenbuch
Team Miller: Adam Miller, Sara Gaum, Matt Sherry, and Kailey Meyer
From December 3-5, the MCA Men’s and Women’s Club Playdowns were hosted at Exmoor Country Club. Seven men’s teams and three women’s teams participated in the event, our largest group in many years. We want to extend our gratitude to David Haverick for officiating the event; in addition, thanks to all the teams, coaches, and volunteer timers. Congratulations to the winners, Team Wright (Men’s Division) and Team Collins (Women’s Divison). Both teams will represent the Midwest Curling Association at USA Curling‘s Club Nationals later this season.
MCA Club Playdown Winners:
Team Wright (Exmoor Curling): Jeff Wright, Steve Waters, Steve Wright, Russ Brown, Ken Brown
Team Collins (Chicago Curling Club): Elisabeth Collins, Kailey Meyer, Laurie Longee, Ellen Dickson
MCA Club Playdown Runner-Ups:
Team Iwanga (Windy City Curling Club): Naoki Iwanaga, Aaron DeGagne, Girithar Anthay Suthakaran, Raymond Stone
Established in 2012, the Prairie State Challenge was created to give curlers, especially those who don’t have dedicated facilities, the opportunity to get on the ice for an exciting weekend of comradery, gameplay, and socialization. Sponsored by the Midwest Curling Association, this open event is free to MCA members and provides curlers the chance to mingle with other teams in the Midwest region at the beginning of the curling season.
This year, 20 teams from seven regional curling clubs played in the two-day event hosted by Exmoor Country Club and Chicago Curling Club. After the cancelation of the event in 2020 due to the pandemic, we were excited to welcome teams back on the ice. Thanks to all those who participated, and congratulations to all the winners and runner-ups!
We look forward to seeing everyone again at the next Prairie State Challenge!
1st Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club
Ryan Murphy, Katherine Stewart, Aaron Horowitz, and Stephanie Martin (not pictured)
1st Event Runner-up: Windy City Curling Club
Bella Hagenbuch, Genevieve Salander, Mae Hagenbuch, Brianna Massey
2nd Event Winner: Waltham Curling Club
Maxwell Salander, Logan Brandner, Logan Fahr, Dagen Setchell
2nd Event Runner-up: Exmoor Country Club
David Kassner (only one pictured), Steve Wright, Chris Schallmo, Wilson Gottschild, and Koen Brown
3rd Event Winner: Cedar Rapids Curling Club
Cale Tesch, Andy Beland, Emily Johnson, Robert Wallraff
3rd Event Runner-up: Exmoor Country Club
Anthony Fowler, Gloria Chao, Kevin Burns, Elaine Burns
4th Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club
Matt Peterson, Staffan Axelsson, Randall Cross, Eric Bertram
4th Event Runner-up: Chicago Curling Club
Tycho Spadaro, Gregory Dowell, Steven Coberly, and Missy Dowling
Midwest Curling Association Member Clubs and Members:
Like many of you, I am keen to get back on to the ice…and the curling season is right around the corner! As the new MCA President, I’m excited to build upon the great work done by Jeff Wright and continue to expand the MCA and help our member clubs. To improve MCA transparency, I wanted to highlight some of the MCA’s recent goals:
Return to Safe Curling and Increased Number of Events: Improving upon lessons learned from last year, all of our member clubs are excited to return to a more ‘normal’ curling and events. Clubs are working collaboratively to share best COVID safety practices, and the Midwest Curling Association continues to provide support and resources to our regional clubs during this time. Our goal is to ensure all curlers feel comfortable and to see an increase in participation in member club and MCA-sponsored events. For a list of member club and MCA events, please visit the 2021-2022 MCA Calendar.
Improve Member Club Support: While the Midwest region faired better than other regions, we understand that most of our clubs were hit hard by the 2020-2021 season. Our goal is to support our clubs and help them capitalize on the upcoming Olympic year.
As a first step, the Board of the MCA approved the continuation of the MCA Grant Program at a pre-COVID membership rate. Available to all MCA clubs, the grant money determined by each club’s annual membership can be used to enhance or promote the sport of curling. Secondly, the MCA is committed to promoting member club events and sharing best practices so each club can return to levels of pre-COVID success. Examples of these initiatives include:
- MCA Blog Highlights featuring local teams, local fundraisers, and events
- Continue to grow our MCA Website and social media presence
- Providing fundraising suggestions like Curling Night in America watch parties
If you haven’t already, we highly recommend following the MCA’s Facebook Page to receive the latest news and the MCA’s Facebook Warm Room to share your club’s and member’s curling success stories. Reach out to your MCA Representative with any ideas to improve curling in our region.
Finally, the MCA Board established a sub-committee to examine future opportunities to give back to member clubs. The committee will look into what can be funded (e.g., money for dedicated ice or capital improvements), how much can be funded, and so forth.
Strengthen Our Region’s Curling Potential: The Midwest is filled with dedicated and passionate curlers. We want to harness that commitment and build towards a better Midwest curling community. The MCA is currently looking into:
- Hosting USCA Level I/II Instructor Clinics within the region to increase the number of certified instructors and, as a result, improve the Learn2Curl experience for juniors and new curlers.
- Hosting USCA Level I/II Officiating Clinics within the region and grow our network of officials. Without these certified volunteers, our regional playdown events would not be possible.
- Providing resources and in-person timing instruction for upcoming competitions. We need timers for multiple competitive regional events this season, including all MCA Playdowns, USCA Men’s & Women’s National Championships, and USCA Senior Men’s National Championships.
- Improving ice conditions at our clubs. We want all of our clubs to make great ice and for all curlers to enjoy it. The MCA Board approved a sub-committee to examine regional ice technicians’ opportunities and develop resources for them to learn best practices. We hope improved conditions will increase opportunities for all our member clubs.
We look forward to a successful curling season, and we hope you and your families stay safe during this time! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your MCA Representative or myself. We are glad to help!
President, Midwest Curling Association
From April 26-28, two teams participated in the 2021 MCA Women’s Club Playdowns at Chicago Curling Club. Teams played a best-of-three format with 8-end games. COVID safety protocols were enforced and Sara Gaum, one of our MCA officials, graciously donated her time to facilitate the games. After two great games on Saturday, the third, tiebreaker game came down to an extra-end, and Team Collins from Chicago Curling Club came out victorious. Thanks to all the teams, coaches, and MCA board members who made the MCA Women’s Club Playdowns possible!
Team Collins from Chicago CC (Winner): Elisabeth Collins, Kailey Meyer, Laurie Longee, and Ellen Dickson
Team Hagenbuch from Windy City CC (Runner-Up): Bella Hagenbuch, Genevieve Salander, Mae Hagenbuch, and Brianna Massey