Club curling strikes casual and competitive mix

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The Marquette Club Curling Team at a practice. (Photo courtesy of the Marquette Club Curling Team.)

There is more than one sport that calls an ice sheet its home. And for the Marquette Club Curling team, members are eager to stay on the ice with curling being showcased on the national stage in the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

The U.S. Olympic Team features three curlers — Matt Hamilton, Becca Hamilton and Nina Roth — from Wisconsin. As the popularity of the sport continues to grow it is relatively unknown at Marquette.

Many students, including Club President Micah Rojo, a senior in the College of Nursing, did not know there was a curling team on Marquette’s campus. 

“I thought it would be funny to be a part of the curling club,” Rojo said. “I just saw their booth and thought it was like the dumbest thing in the world. That’s honestly how it happened and how I got involved.” 

The team practices weekly at the Milwaukee Curling Club in Cedarburg, which is the oldest continuous curling club in the United States.  The team has around 15 members who range from first-year students to seniors.

Vice President Trevor Morris, a junior in the College of Arts and & Sciences, said he encourages people to give curling a chance.

“Don’t hate a sport until you’ve tried it, because I never thought I would be curling because I’m from Texas,” Morris said. 

Morris said while curling is a competitive sport, the team camaraderie makes it a fun atmosphere. 

Angel Martinez, a junior in the College of Arts and & Sciences, agreed that the curling team has great camaraderie.

Martinez said ,”Our team has a great sense of community and always makes sure to include the curling tradition of sharing a meal together after every practice and bonspiel.

Rojo said shaking hands and saying “good curling” is the curling etiquette at the beginning and end of a bonspiel.

“Each team has eight stones and four members and you’ll have one person be the skip. This is the person pointing what direction and where teammates want to throw out. You have one thrower and then you have two people sweeping,” Rojo said. 

The “skip” is the player who is considered the captain. In order to aim the stone, the player will turn the stone whatever way the skip is signaling and when released they will turn the stone handle back to the middle which allows the stone to curl down the ice. 

Rojo said the skip will also yell out “sweep” to the two players that are sweeping the stone and “up” when no sweeping is needed. Sweeping is done in front of the stone and decreases the friction of the ice to help allow the curlers to control the curl of the stone better. 

Scoring is based on where the stones land in comparison to the opposing team’s stone in the target on the other side of the ice. After each stone from both teams is thrown the stone closest to the center of the target  will score or if one team has more stones closer than the other team.  

Rojo said while curling looks simple it takes a lot of strategy between placing your stones and taking out your opponent’s stones, making it an intense sport. 

“You want to take out your opponent’s stones with take-out shots,” Rojo said.

Francesca Mancini, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she appreciates the duality of the casual but also competitive side of curling. 

“While practices are held in Cedarburg, the team carpools together, which is part of the fun and makes these teammates feel like a family,” said Mancini.

“It’s really fun, everybody is friends with each other and it’s very casual. It can be kind of competitive at times but it’s exciting and you keep wanting to get better,” Mancini said.

Leo Moorhead, a former junior national camp youth curling coach, currently serves as the team’s coach.

“It’s always a lot of fun and I can see so much passion on the team,” Moorhead said. “Every year we have more students who want to try the sport.”

Lizzie White, a senior in the College of Engineering, said Moorhead helps elevate the team with his knowledge and passion for the club and the sport.

“He’s been curling for such a long time and shows us techniques, strategies (while) offering advice to players that are asking for it,” White said.

Rojo said he would love to see the club grow both on and off the ice.

“We want to be eligible for collegiate curling at some point to see what it would be like to curl other college curlers,” Rojo said. 

With the Olympics underway, Martinez said the team is looking forward to spending time together watching the matches as a group.

“We’re a family, everyone takes care of everyone,” Martinez said. “Curling is all about community and the Marquette Curling Club offers a great sense of community.” 

This article was written by Catherine Fink. She can be reached at catherine.fink@marquette.edu.