The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Champ curls to the top

Sweeb Monorail Technology designed a bicycle like monorail system that trainsports people.Photo courtesy of Sweeb Monorail Technology.

Marquette senior Alexandra Carlson has Olympic ambitions after being recognized as the top woman curling athlete in the nation this past summer by the USA Curling’s Athlete/Curler Recognition Committee.

The biomedical engineering student led her Minnesota-based team to back-to-back U.S. Junior Championships in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, she brought home the first women’s junior medal since 2003. The team competed in Switzerland this past March and finished behind Sweden and Canada for the bronze medal.

The junior championships are for curlers aged 21 and under, though she topped women curlers of all ages for her award this summer.

Carlson said she plans to continue curling after graduating from Marquette, and hopes to one day compete at the highest-level—the winter Olympics.

“I want to go to the 2014 Olympics, or 2018, or 2022 or whenever it takes,” she said.

Carlson said she has been curling for 17 years, since she was big enough to move the granite stones across the ice.

“I got into curling because of my family,” she said. “My grandparents, my parents, my two older sisters all do it.”

Although Carlson will not be competing in the junior championships this year in order to focus on graduating in May, she will continue curling with the Marquette club team in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Matthew Allie, a senior in the College of Engineering, said the team members enjoy when Carlson is able to practice with them because of her knowledge of the game and experience.

Carlson is always willing to help curling newcomers learn the game and technique, he said.

“It’s great to see other people that are interested in curling,” Carlson said, with regard to the club team. “It’s a blast to be able to teach other people about the game.”

Carlson said she was “baffled” by the level of interest abroad, compared to the relatively small following in the U.S.

“When I talk to people about curling here, they normally are like, ‘What’s that?’ or ‘Oh, I’ve seen it on TV, but I don’t understand it,’” she said. “But (in Switzerland) people were like ‘Oh, I love curling!’”

The small following leads to a tight-knit community of curlers, according to club team member Kathleen Boland, a dental student, who has curled for five years. She said she met Carlson during Carlson’s freshman year.

“Alex is a great curler.  She helped get me excited about curling,” Boland said. “I loved watching her games at Worlds.  She did fantastic.  How many people can say they know a world-class athlete or someone who is third in their sport in the world?”

Regarding the technical aspects of curling, Carlson said that she is the “Skip.” She said that the skip is primarily in charge of strategy in the game.

Curling gets its name from making the curling stone rotate by sweeping the ice in its path, melting the ice and causing the stone to curl one way or the other, Carlson said.

The basic objective is to slide your stones into the center of a circle located at the other end of an ice sheet without being knocked out by the opponent.

Taylor Lawless, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said in an e-mail that he enjoys curling because of its uniqueness and the attention to detail it requires.

He said he appreciates how helpful Carlson is to the other curlers and always sees her happy and proud of her accomplishments.

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    Craig (Dad)Oct 9, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Alex has been a joy to instruct, coach, and father. She has intensity and facility to rapidly adjust like few can.

    I am pleased to watch her continued success and growth in curling.