Future of junior curling and stronger competitive curling, clubs

Dear Editor, In the Fall issue of the Curling News I expressed the goals of the USCA

junior program to be: “Growing curling participation as a club sport, and improving the USA performance at the world level in competitive curling.” In the last issue I showed the weakness of the current junior program: de- creasing the pool of curlers participating, quality of those qualifying for the national event and amount of competitive play being reduced. In this letter I will introduce a plan that will address these issues. Instead of just an East and West regional we return to a multi regional

format with regions with a large number of clubs(Minnesota, Wisconsin, Grand National) holding sub-regional events with the possibility of quali- fying more than one team. A sub-regional playdown in a State like Wis-

consin could look like this: NW


Superior Rice Lake Eau Claire Medford

Wausau Tri-City

Stevens Point Green Bay

Centerville Waupaca La Crosse Marshfield

Clintonville Appleton


Portage Lodi

Pardeeville SE

Milwaukee Wauwatosa Racine

Poynette Kettle Moraine Arlington Madison Monroe

Racine Blackhawk Each USCA club would be encouraged to have a junior program and

enter at least one male and female team to their sub-regional or regional event. Sub-regional events would be untimed eight-end games and all with- in a short drive. Tis plan, of course, would eliminate all High Performance funding at the junior level. Funding at this level is way too early to be pick- ing winners and losers. Tis format would expose a much larger number of curlers to the junior program, curling at other clubs and against young curlers from other clubs. A small number of these curlers will progress to elite levels but a few would. Many will become lifetime advocates of the sport and become the backbone of the future of curling. Tere is nothing that precludes an “All-Star” team curling out of one club, but the goal of this


system is not to win Junior Worlds but to get the biggest number and best curlers to the next level of curling and the Olympics and build foundations for strong clubs. Charles Miller Wausau Curling Club Editor’s note: Te dual and complementary mission of the USCA is to grow

the sport and pursue international excellence, and the organizational vision is a commitment to sustained growth through competitive excellence. Te 2017 USA Curling Junior Nationals field of 8 women’s and 8 men’s

teams were viewed by many coaches and participants as among the strongest ever, if not the strongest. High performance at the World Junior Champion- ship level remains an important strategic objective of the USCA for multiple reasons. Twenty-one women’s teams and 20 men’s teams registered for the first USA

Curling U18 National Championship playdowns across nine regions. Com- bining these numbers with the overall Junior National Championship entries and comparing it with 2016 Junior Championship registration numbers, there were 11 more junior-aged women’s teams and two more junior-aged men’s teams signed up across the two events. Te USCA Junior (U21) and Youth (U18) development and high perfor-

mance programs are annually reviewed and adjusted as deemed best for meeting the goals and objectives at each level. Junior High Performance Pro- gram Director Dave Jensen has openly sought feedback and met extensively with coaches, players and parents in the junior and youth levels, and has re- turned this season with a plan to enhance and improve upon both the Junior (U21) and U18 programs.

Winners of the Detroit Ladies Two-Day International Pre-Historic Party were (l-r) Kristine Rathke, Courtney Urbiel, Julie Benson, and Katlyn Mulka representing the Kalamazoo and Detroit clubs.

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