Curlers Hope For Home Ice Advantage
Hamilton’s Club Curling Team will compete this weekend, March 10 to 12, in the USA College Curling Championships at the Utica Curling Club, in Whitesboro, NY. This is the first year that the national championship will take place at the Utica Club, which has a reputation as one of the finest clubs in the Northeast. Hamilton practices there regularly, and is hoping to have a home-ice advantage.
Hamilton will face the top curling teams in the country, defending a 5th place title from last year and aiming for another top position.
The road to Utica this year was paved through five different competitions and a great effort from several members of the team. In November, the team finished in 4th place at Broomstones Curling Club’s College Bonspiel. Despite a 2-1 group record at Rochester the following weekend, the team lost a tiebreaker and finished 3rd in its pool, failing to advance to the championship rounds.
In a December bonspiel at the Schenectady Curling Club, the team finished 4th overall once again, with a very strong performance from all curlers. In late January, Hamilton competed at the Nutmeg Curling Club in Bridgeport, Conn., going 1-2. Then, in a home tournament in February at the Utica Curling Club, Hamilton was runner up in the E event.
The team now approaches the national tournament in Utica this weekend where it will face a tough pool. Other teams in the pool are University of Pennsylvania, the 2016 national champions, along with University of Minnesota, the 2016 national runners-up, and Wayne State University. After pool play, the team will be seeded to compete against similarly placed teams from the three other pools to play for 1st/2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th place.
Hamilton’s nationals team consists of Jessica Weston ’17 (lead), John Zhang ’19 (second), treasurer Alex Hirsu ’17 (vice-skip), and captain Andrew Fletcher ’17 (skip). Hirsu and Fletcher were both part of the 2016 championship team, which finished 5th place nationally after a close extra-end victory over NESCAC rival Bowdoin. The four curlers have been practicing extensively over the past few weeks, and confidence and morale are high going into the tournament.
Streams will be available through the Utica Curling Club and the USA Curling websites, and spectators from the community are encouraged to come support the team, free of charge. Hamilton will open against the University of Pennsylvania at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Then on Saturday, Hamilton will play University of Minnesota at 12 noon and Wayne State University at 6:30 p.m. Sunday’s schedule will be determined by these pool matches.