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Bowdoin’s Curling Team—Its Largest Ever—Plays Nice

January 26, 2018 by Rebecca Goldfine

Bowdoin Curling leaders: Kylie Best ’19, Thomas Ezquerro ’18, Cole Hamel ’18, Zachary LeBlanc ’20, and Isabella Vakkur ’20

Bowdoin Curling leaders: Kylie Best ’19, Thomas Ezquerro ’18, Cole Hamel ’18, Zachary LeBlanc ’20, and Isabella Vakkur ’20

Curling is sometimes referred to as “chess on ice,” according to Cole Hamel ’18, who is co-captain of the Bowdoin Curling team.

While the winter sport might look deceptively simple — players take turns sliding heavy polished granite stones across ice, attempting to get their stones closest to the target — teams win based on strategy as well as skill.

It is that mental component, as well as the “spirit of curling” — its camaraderie and friendly competitiveness — that has helped propel curling into an increasingly popular club sport at Bowdoin.

“You’re not just trying to crush your enemy,” team treasurer Zachary LeBlanc ’20 said. Ezquerro added, “No matter if we win or lose, we’ll be the same team, laughing and joking.”

When Hamel and Ezquerro joined the team four years ago, there were only five players. This year, thanks in part to the duo’s promotion of curling on campus — including more team bonding activities, a stronger social media presence and sharp team jackets — there are twenty-eight players. A little more than half are women.

“For a Bowdoin sport, that it’s co-ed changes the attitude and the mentality,” team secretary Kylie Best ’19 said. “It’s not an aggressive, high-pressure sport.”

There is no advantage to being large or small, being a woman or being a man. And that “accessibility is appealing,” said Isabella Vakkur ’20, the team’s communications director.

Despite most of Bowdoin’s players not having played before coming to college (only Best played in high school), they are a strong competitor on the college curling circuit. The Bangor Daily News recently reported on a weekend curling tournament, or bonspiel, in Belfast, Maine’s only dedicated curling facility.

Harvard, Yale, Bowdoin, MIT, University of Maine, and Unity were some of the eleven teams competing.

Bowdoin was defeated by “a team of experienced curlers largely made up of graduate students from Yale,” the BDN reports. Bowdoin came in second.

But Hamel said the defeat doesn’t rankle. “We may not always win, but we never lose,” he said.

Sharing the spirit of curling

Kylie Best with her French curling teammates

Kylie Best with her French curling teammates

Kylie Best ’18 did not let being abroad stop her curling practice; she joined an intergenerational team in France — all of whom received complimentary Bowdoin Curling t-shirts. In return, Best received a “Curling Club de Lyon” sweater. Bowdoin Curling co-captain Thomas Ezquerro ’18 spent part of the winter break in Buffalo, N.Y., helping the local curling club there get up and running in its new indoor facility. “I felt that this was a great way to give back to a sport that I love so much and also help out my hometown community,” he said. And Zachary LeBlanc ’20 recently advised a friend at Brown University who was inspired by LeBlanc’s social media posts to start a team at his school.

Artlicle originally published on Bowdoin News:


Seven schools battle in Maine College Curling Crash ‘Spiel

BELFAST, Maine — The sixth annual Maine College Curling Crash ‘Spiel took place at the Belfast Curling Club over the weekend and featured 24 hours of intense curling competition among the seven colleges/universities that attended.

Teams from the University of Maine and Bowdoin served as tourney hosts and played curling teams from Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University and MIT.

During Sunday morning’s finals, Harvard bested Penn in the “A” event, Yale beat MIT in the “B” event and Bowdoin I defeated Bowdoin II in the “C” event.

Bowdoin is preparing for the United States Association Curling College championship on March 11-13 in Chaska, Minnesota. Bowdoin won gold in Division IV of the college nationals in 2011.


Originally posted (with photos) on:

Bowdoin’s New Curling Team Wins National Championship

Curling128Bowdoin’s curling team, which came together only months ago, clinched the national title for its division Sunday, March 13, at the 2011 National College Curling Championships in Chicago.

An injury left the team a member short. “With only one person brushing, it meant we had to be much more accurate for every one of our shots,” says team founder Carl Spielvogel ’13.

“St. Scholastica (3rd place) and Tennessee (2nd place) were the most intense and skilled teams we’ve ever come across. It was a thrill to play with them, and we can’t wait for next year to play with them again.”

View a photo gallery on the Bowdoin Daily Sun.

Bowdoin’s State Champion Curling Team Brushes Up for Nationals

March 8, 2011

Having swept up not only the state championship, but a third-place finish in the Boston Collegiate Tournament as well, Bowdoin’s new curling team will be among 32 teams competing in the National College Curling Championships March 11-13in Chicago.

(L. to r.) Carl Spielvogel ’13, Evan Boucher ’11, Margot Haines ’13, Jay Tulchin ’13, Andrew Hancock ’13, Molly Krueger ’13, Brian Jacobel ’14 at the Belfast Curling Club.

(L. to r.) Carl Spielvogel ’13, Evan Boucher ’11, Margot Haines ’13, Jay Tulchin ’13, Andrew Hancock ’13, Molly Krueger ’13, Brian Jacobel ’14 at the Belfast Curling Club.

Team founder Carl Spielvogel ’13 says the team got one last chance to “throw some stones” at the curling facility in Belfast over the weekend and will leave Thursday for the event.

Bowdoin Curling Team Sweeps Up State Championship

Bowdoin’s curling team won the college state championship over the weekend, and now, with a 6 and 1 record, has its sights set on College Nationals, to be held in two weeks in Chicago.

This quirky and arcane Olympic sport has gained traction at Bowdoin over the winter. Each week, the team’s devoted students have packed their brooms and traveled an hour and a half to practice and compete. No stranger to the thrill of competition, Emily Neilson ’11, goaltender for Bowdoin’s three-time NCAA champion field hockey team, provides a closer look at Bowdoin’s curling team.

Several students from have found a new way to spice up the Maine winter — by joining Bowdoin’s new curling team. Every Sunday afternoon, a van takes them the more than 70 miles to Belfast to train at the only curling facility in Maine.

Bowdoin's curling team (l. to r.): Andrew Hancock '13, Brian Jacobel '14, Margot Haines '13, Matt Spring '13, Carl Spielvogel '13.

Bowdoin’s curling team (l. to r.): Andrew Hancock ’13, Brian Jacobel ’14, Margot Haines ’13, Matt Spring ’13, Carl Spielvogel ’13.

It was sophomore Carl Spielvogel’s idea.

“I had never done it before,” he says. “Watching the Olympics last year with friends I thought, you know what, we should start a curling team.”

Spielvogel called Douglas Coffin at the curling facility to discuss forming a collegiate curling league, prompting Coffin’s immediate offer to coach the Bowdoin team. Following Bowdoin’s lead, Colby and Unity College have also formed teams that practice and play on Sundays in Belfast.

Coffin hopes curling fever spreads further across Maine. “I would like, in time, for there to be a league among University of Maine-Orono, Husson, Unity, Colby, Bates, Bowdoin, College of the Atlantic and Maine Maritime Academy,” says Coffin. “That’s going to take some time, but this is a real start.”

Each Sunday, the Bowdoin team spends as much time studying strategy as they do playing. Spielvogel says the challenge is maintaining the necessary mental focus and balance for the precision involved.

“It is so complex that if even a hair falls into a stone’s trajectory, its path will change,” says Spielvogel.

Brushing the ice in front of the stone controls how much or how little a stone’s trajectory will “curl” around the blocker stones, hence the sport’s moniker.

In late February, Bowdoin is poised to send at least one curling squad to the Boston Collegiate Curling Tournament to compete against Harvard, Boston University, MIT and Hamilton. Four members of the curling team will head to Chicago in March to represent Bowdoin at the National Collegiate Curling Championship. Spielvogel will be on that team along with Margot Haines ’13, Andrew Hancock ’13 and Jay Tulchin ’13.

Spielvogel says many people are surprised to learn a Bowdoin curling team even exists. “Mostly they say, ‘We have curling here?’ I think people find it’s cool when I explain it.”

The team welcomes those interested to give it a try. There is no cost, and the team will provide the equipment as well as beginner lessons.

“We’d love to teach people of any age and sports experience how to curl,” says Spielvogel. “All you need is a jacket, some warm clothes and we’ll all hang out on the ice.”


Originally posted in Bowdoin News: