Is the Junior Program in worse shape than even critics expected?

Dear Editor, In the fall issue of the U.S. Curling News I

wrote about the USCA’s plan to eliminate region- al playdowns, support a few High Performance teams, and hold only an East and West regional. Now as we enter the junior playdown season the results are worse than even critics of the plan like myself predicted. Instead of improving the pool of curlers, the

numbers of participants, quality of those quali- fying for the national event, and amount of com- petitive play have all reduced. Number of participants: In the previous sys-

tem the 10 national qualifiers had to play in a re- gional playdown. Some of these regions with five to seven teams. Tis year the whole West regional only has eight teams on the Men's and Women's divisions. Te East just four on the men’s side and three on the women’s for a total of just 12 and 11 teams participating nationwide. Quality of participants: With the entire East

regional field qualifying for the National event a team merely had to sign up to qualify. Tis opened the possibility of teams to walk onto the Junior National ice never having played a timed or a 10-end game. And the West only eliminating four men’s teams and three women’s means more than half of those teams qualified for Nationals. Experienced teams that had qualified in previous years simply chose not to sign up sighting rea- sons explained in the Fall issue. Decreased Competitive play: With the East

regional being a sign up and qualify, the on ice competition was not held. Tis year’s eight-team


Te Kupper rink scored an eight-ender on

Dec. 11, 2016, during league play at the Racine Curling Club (Wis.). Team members include Justin Kupper, David Rank, Roger Janusiak, and Lisa Roeder.


An eight-ender was scored by the Podoll rink of the Fargo-Moorhead (N.D.) Curling Club dur-

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national event will both decrease the number of curlers exposed to this highest level of junior curling in the U.S. and also the number of games played at the event. Te junior curlers in the U18 event will not be exposed to any of the best junior curlers. I do feel bad for those curling in and those who

did not curl in this year’s event, but because it ap- pears to be a catastrophe the USCA will have to revisit their plan for the program. Tere is hope to increase the pool of junior curlers and quality of young curlers feeding into adult competitive and Olympic curling programs. In the next issue I will show a plan that would do so. Charles Miller Wausau Curling Club

Editor’s Note: We respect Mr. Miller’s opinions and critique

of the U.S. Curling Associations junior and youth development programs, but want to provide some factual information that does not support some of the statements portrayed as facts in his letter. Among them: Te number of curlers participating in the

USCA junior/youth competitive events has in- creased significantly this season when looking at the entries for the USCA Junior National Cham- pionships and the new U18 National Champion- ships. Combined, and compared with the 2016 entries, there are 11 more junior/youth women’s teams and two more junior/youth men’s teams overall. Te U18 field includes finalists and champions

from the 2017 Junior Nationals, so those partici- pating in the U18 championships will definitely be exposed to some of the best curlers in the nation. As with all USCA programs, the junior/youth

format used for the first time this season will be reviewed and improved upon as deemed necessary for next season.

// CERTIFICATIONS Level I Instructor

Philip Burian, Cedar Rapids Curling Club Kelly David Carr, Peachtree Curling Club Brian Elmer, Appleton Curling Club Ann Esswein, St. Louis Curling Club Andrew Flynn, South Shore Curling Club Simon Ganet, Windy City Curling Club Jeff Greenberg, Ardsley Curling Club Nancy Hollinger, Denver Curling Club Jeremiah Kasten, Owatonna Curling Club Connie Kupferschmidt, St. Paul Curling Club Blake Logan, South Shore Curling Club Dan Olmsted, Wausau Curling Club Jodi Olmsted, Wausau Curling Club Erin O’Shea, South Shore Curling Club Maxwell Polley, St. Louis Curling Club Kimberly Rudkin, Blackhawk Curling Club Matthew Shappell, Fargo-Moorhead CC Jeffrey Stokes, Fairbanks Curling Club Lisa Wieland, Circle City Curling Club James Winslade, St. Louis Curling Club Level II Instructor

David Bueermann, Evergreen Curling Club Steven Cooper, Evergreen Curling Club Josh Engle, Evergreen Curling Club Barbara Feist, Evergreen Curling Club Sharon Giese, Nutmeg Curling Club Linda Kirkman, Potomac Curling Club Clara Martinez, Evergreen Curling Club Richard Moore, Nutmeg Curling Club Wheelchair Instructor

Paula Bloom, Broadmoor Curling Club Ameila Knight, Broadmoor Curling Club Boris Krsulic, Broadmoor Curling Club Jorgette Krsulic, Broadmoor Curling Club Jean Otto, Broadmoor Curling Club Rochelle Sandstrom, Broadmoor Curling Club John Arnold West, Broadmoor Curling Club Level I Official

Austin Bengtson, Glacial Ridge Curling Club Mary Jo Hamilton, Brainerd Lakes Curling Club Linda Kirkman, Potomac Curling Club Michael P Smith, Brainerd Lakes Curling Club Joshua Webb, Columbus Curling Club Level II Official

ing the second end of women’s league on Decem- ber 13, 2016. Team members include Beth Podoll, Allison Fretheim, Denise Larson, and Linda Ol- son.

St. Paul Te Bassett rink scored an eight-ender during

league play at the St. Paul (Minn.) Curling Club on Jan. 10, 2017. Team members include Zach Bassett, Mitch Billings, Kyle Jacobson, and Da- vid Temple.

A list of upcoming courses is included on the USA Curling calendar of events at www.usacurl. org. Questions about courses can be sent to Christy Hering at

Charity Bengtson, Glacial Ridge Curling Club Deborah Bengtson, Glacial Ridge Curling Club Mark Tolvstad, Aberdeen Curling Club Joshua Webb, Columbus Curling Club

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