Congratulations Curling Association of UWSP, the 2022 USA Curling Collegiate Champions!
The spirit of curling is alive and well at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Just ask Meghan Taylor, a first-year student who came to the university to curl – from Hillsboro, Ore.
Taylor had been curling since she was in seventh grade, with three years of competitive experience in junior leagues. Her high school guidance counselor, a UW-Stevens Point alumna, knew the university had a competitive curling club as well as opportunities for Taylor to study physics and astronomy.
“I loved the size of the campus, and I wanted a change, to go somewhere new,” she said. “And I have really enjoyed it.”
For Taylor and others who join the Curling Association of UWSP (CAUWSP), it’s the teamwork, friendship and camaraderie of the sport that is “the spirit of curling.”
“Anyone can be good at it,” Taylor said. “It is about teamwork and relying on each other. Adults, kids and seniors enjoy watching and playing. It’s a fun time on a sheet of ice.”
This weekend, the UWSP team is showing just how good they are at curling. Qualifying as the top team in the country with the highest points of the season, they are competing against 15 other teams at the 2022 USA Curling College National Championship in Fargo, N.D. Their first-round pool includes teams from Yale, Cornell and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Founded in 2013, the club team has been to nationals every season, with the exception of 2020 and 2021 when nationals were canceled due to the pandemic. The team won nationals in 2015 and 2018 and came in third in 2017.
This year’s team includes seniors who have curled for years as well as a member who began curling last fall.
“Placing as one of the top four finishers nationally this year would be a wonderful accomplishment,” said Jodi Olmsted, the CAUWSP faculty adviser and a professor of health science. “We have a young team, along with all the colleges being in a rebuilding phase following the two-year pandemic shutdown of real competition.
“We hope to represent our association, the university and the Stevens Point community all while both sharing ‘the spirit of curling’ with our competitors,” she said.
Taylor said she is most looking forward to seeing friends from the curling world at nationals. “We love seeing all the teams and meeting everyone,” she said. “Curling is ‘a gentlemen’s sport’ in that all the teams are very encouraging of each other. We love hanging out together.”
CAUWSP had a record of 20 wins and 9 losses this year from play in tournaments, or bonspiels, and smaller matches between September and March. CAUWSP usually has one or two teams compete, with four members on each team.
The sport itself has each team member sliding heavy stones on a sheet of ice toward the “house,” a circular target marked on the ice. Players take turns throwing two stones each. As one throws, two other players act as sweeps and another as a skip, the strategist for the team. The skip tells the sweeps how much they need to use their brooms to influence the speed and path of the stone. Teams earn points for getting their stones closest to the center of the house after each “end,” which is when both teams have thrown all of their stones once. A game consists of eight or ten ends.
“You don’t need to have athletic experience, but it does require skill and thought,” said Taylor, who hopes to continue curling for the rest of her life. Already working with Professor Brad Hinaus on research in computational physics in her second semester at UW-Stevens Point, she aspires to be an aerospace engineer for NASA or Space X. Both are located in the southern part of the United States.
“It may be harder to find curling in the south, but I’ll play in a hockey rink,” she said. “It keeps me active and is so different from math and science. It will give me a break from the lab when I need it.”
In addition to Taylor, team members attending nationals include Jackson Armstrong, Sawyer Cadwell, Kayla Guenther and Jayda Harris.
The CAUWSP competes at the Sentry Curling Club in Plover. The club offers a Learn to Curl session each fall. To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final standings | Photos
USA Curling news release