Another big week in US Curling is ahead of us, with all of the ranked American rinks (both men’s and women’s) heading to Duluth, MN for the Coors Light/Molson Cash Spiel. In addition, USA Curling will announce later today the men’s and women’s teams that will be part of Team North America at the Continental Cup of Curling in Las Vegas in January (based on year-to-date rankings, the foursomes led by Heath McCormick and Jamie Sinclair are expected to be the US representatives). The rankings will be at the bottom of this week’s post (there is a new #1 on the women’s side), but I want to start with spotlighting a pair of curlers from California that are heading to Abbotsford, BC for their first-ever World Curling Tour event this weekend.
I met Auria Moore and Porsche Renae Stephenson through the power of Twitter while following the US Arena Nationals in May. They were part of a rink from the Wine Country Curling Club in Roseville, CA, finishing 2-3 in their pool but failing to advance to the playoffs. After reading their profiles and seeing some of their goals (2018 Olympian being the big one), I decided to keep a tab on them. Following their trip to the US Olympic Training Center in Blaine, MN for a High Performance Program Open Camp in August, I started conversing a bit with Auria and when I saw that they were listed for the WCT event in Abbotsford over the Thanksgiving weekend (the only US team this week not playing in Duluth), we talked about giving them a little publicity in the US curling community.
Auria (center) and Porsche with Darryl Horsman at the Coyotes Curling Club in Tempe, AZ.
Auria came to the sport after injuries forced her to shelve a competitive career in boxing. Oddly, her and Porsche were watching the Beatles movie Help! and there is a scene where the band is curling. It triggered memories of a trip to Canada where Auria saw curling all over TV and wondered if California had anything to do with the sport. A Learn-to-Curl led them to begin subbing at the club the next week, and then onto bonspieling. The trip to Arena Nationals and then the HPP Open Camp were further steps in playing at a competitive level, and Abbotsford is the next phase of that development. They would like to see greater elite-level training opportunities for teams to grow their games and get over the hurdle of feeling they can’t “level up” to the competition on the WCT circuit. Additionally, getting more clubs in the US hosting WCT events (currently, the only one not in Minnesota is the Ed Werenich Golden Wrench Classic in Phoenix) would help give access to US teams to test themselves against each other and against high-level curlers from Canada and abroad (The ladies’ first match is against 2009 World Champion Bingyu Wang; the event also includes the top women’s rinks in British Columbia and former Scotties representatives). Follow their adventures this weekend (November 25-28) on the WCT site. First draw for them is 11am PT on Friday.
And now, the rankings:
- Heath McCormick – 3-3 at the DEKALB Superspiel, failed to make playoffs.
- Craig Brown – Idle.
- Todd Birr – 3-3 at the DEKALB Superspiel, failed to make playoffs.
- Brady Clark – Idle.
- John Shuster – Idle.
- Jamie Sinclair – Semifinalist at the DEKALB Superspiel (B-qualifier); 6-2 for the weekend. (PW:2)
- Jessica Schultz – 2-3 at the DEKALB Superspiel, failed to make playoffs. (PW:1)
- Nina Roth – Idle.
- Cory Christensen – Idle.
- Cassie Potter – 0-3 at the DEKALB Superspiel, failed to make playoffs.
- Cristin Clark – Idle.
As mentioned in the opening, almost all US Curling attention will be focused on Duluth for the second major showdown of US rinks this season (the St. Paul Cash Spiel being the first), with Moore and Stephenson’s team (skipped this week by Jenn Nguyen from Denver) in Abbotsford. Before we go, congratulations Team Darryl Horsman as they picked up their first-ever World Curling Tour victory last weekend at the DEKALB Superspiel.