Author Archives: Kylie Best '19

Bowdoin Orient: Curling team finishes regular season on top

Curling team finishes regular season on top

February 15, 2019

Kayla Snyder
SWEEP ME OFF MY FEET: Claire Pierce ’22 and Maynor Loaisiga ’22 sweep as Ella Crabtree ’22 throws a stone. The team will go to nationals over Spring break.

The curling team ended its regular season in Utica last weekend, finishing third out of 24 competitors. Now, the top five members will continue to the national competition in Wayland, Massachusetts over spring break, where the team is seeded seventh. The team has doubled in size since last year, contributing to its successful season.

After the U.S. men’s curling team won gold in the 2018 Olympics, the sport became more appealing to new players, and Bowdoin’s own team has doubled in size since last year. This uptick in members has been seen in both teams and clubs across the curling community this year.

“We have had an upward growth which has been amazing,” said captain Kylie Best ’19. “All of our team, except for myself, did not curl before college, so for us to be so successful with a bunch of relatively inexperienced people is fantastic.”

At the Student Activities Fair last fall, the team received over 75 sign-ups. Out of the 75, over 20 students became permanent members. Uniquely, the team consists of social members who go out on the ice to have fun and those who want to become more competitive at the sport and frequently participate in the tournaments.

“At the beginning of the season, we ask the entire group who wants to be considered for the [national competition],” said Best. “Some are only interested in the social aspect, which is totally fine. This way, those who are more interested in being more competitive can express it early on.”

Looking toward the national competition, the team expects to hold its own against northeastern competitors. Teams from the Midwest tend to be stiffer competition as they have smaller teams that have been curling longer.

“The hope is to win,” said captain Zack Leblanc ’20. “Last year, I think we had a little bit of a disappointing finish; we finished 10th or 11th. This year, [we’re ranked] seventh, [and] I think we can do a little bit better just playing as well as we can.”

In addition to the increase in new members, the team also added a volunteer advisor, Jonathan St. Mary ’67. He is the first community member to enter a mentorship role for the team. With many years of curling experience, St. Mary has competed in the Francis Dykes Memorial Bonspiel and Men’s Grand Nationals.

“He had some really good pointers about strategy, which has been something that has hurt us in the past,” Best said. “We just don’t know a lot about strategy, and it’s very difficult.”

St. Mary was especially influential in teaching the influx of first years curling technique. His expert advice is helpful for newcomers who have no prior experience with the sport.

“It’s been really helpful to have someone who knows what they are talking about give some pointers,” Best said, “rather than have people who haven’t been curling very long teaching people who haven’t been curling at all.”

This weekend, the team will host a learn to curl event at Flight Deck Brewing Company. No experience is necessary, and members of the team will be demonstrating the sport and putting on a mini bonspiel for the community.

“There are actually some people in Brunswick [who] are looking to bring a new sort of ice facility to the area that would be both a hockey rink and a curling facility,” Leblanc said. “So they’re putting us on to demonstrate community interest.”

The team will teach curling from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The event is free and open to the public.

2018-2019 Results

*updated 8 February

Philadelphia College Spiel

One team, record 1-2. Win against Colgate, loss to Yale, RPI.

Broomstones College Bonspiel

Bowdoin I record 3-2, wins against RPI, MIT 1, MIT 3; losses to Harvard & MIT 3. C event winners.

Bowdoin II record 1-3, win against Harvard, losses to Penn, Oklahoma, MIT 3.

RPI Schenectady College Bonspiel

Bowdoin I record 0-3, losses to Colgate, RIT, Hamilton.

Bowdoin II record 3-1, C Event winners. Wins against RPI I, RPI III, MIT. Loss to Yale.

Belfast College Crash Spiel

Bowdoin I record 3-1, A event runners-up, Wins against UMaine, Unity, MIT. Loss to MIT.

Bowdoin II, split team with RIT, record 2-2. C event winners. Wins against UMaine and Unity, losses to MIT and RIT.

Yale College Bonspiel

Record 1-2, Win against Syracuse, losses to RPI, SUNY Poly.

Cape Cod Bonspiel

Bowdoin 1 record 2-2, wins against Castleton and Unity, losses to MIT and SUNY Poly. B event runners-up.

Bowdoin II record 1-2, win against Cornell, losses to Syracuse and SUNY Poly.

Utica College Bonspiel

Bowdoin I record 3-2, B event winners. Beat Castleton, SUNY Poly II, and Hamilton. Losses to SUNY Poly I, RPI I.

Bowdoin II record 1-2, beat Yale II, lost to RPI II, Colgate II

Bowdoin College’s curling team is growing fast

Curling isn’t a sport you hear much about in the U.S. outside of the Olympics, but Bowdoin College’s curling team has seen huge growth over the past four years. The team started in 2010. Four years ago, there were just 5 players. But this year, Bowdoin has 18 registered members, and a few more who are checking the sport out.

BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Curling isn’t a sport you hear much about in the United States outside of the Olympics, but Bowdoin College’s curling team has seen huge growth over the past four years.

The team started in 2010. Four years ago, there were just 5 players. But this year, Bowdoin has 18 registered members and a few more who are checking the sport out.

Some players are drawn to the team because they saw the sport on TV during the Olympics. Others are looking for leadership opportunities, or just want to try something new. But Senior Max Sterman thinks its the friendships that blossom on the team that makes people stick with it.

“We are a high-energy team,” Sterman said. “Everybody enjoys being with everybody else. We enjoy what we do on the ice. We enjoy what we do off the ice.”

Being on club curling is not without sacrifice. The team practices 4-5 hours per week. Thursday nights, practices often don’t start until 9 p.m. because ice time is at such a premium. The curlers travel an hour and a half each way to the Belfast Curling Club on Sundays to train with more experienced curlers, and to get on actual curling ice.

Hockey ice is colder than curling ice, and in order to make the stones slide, you have to “pebble” the ice. That means, spray small droplets of deionized water all over the surface. Tournaments, or bonspiels, as they are called, can sometimes be 9 hours away.

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Sophomore Kylie Best, who is the women’s captain of the team, says all that hard work is worth it. “Curling just attracts really kind, really fun, really interesting people. It’s very much a sport of camaraderie.”

Part of the reason, perhaps, is that it is a “gentleman’s sport.” Players shake hands with their opponents. You congratulate the other team when they make a particularly good shot, and, according to team co-captain Cole Hamel, “Traditionally, the winning team buys the losing team drinks. But that doesn’t happen in college curling.” We are told college curlers go out for coffee.

Bowdoin Orient: Five from curling team will travel to Nationals

March 2, 2018

Five members of the Bowdoin curling team will travel to compete at the 2018 College National Curling Championship in Eau Claire, Wisconsin next week. Having ended the season ranked fourth in the nation, the team hopes to do well enough in the starting pool to advance to the championship bracket.

In order to advance in the tournament, the team needs to finish in one of the top two spots out of the four teams in their round robin pool. The teams are Bowdoin, St. Norbert College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute and University of Oklahoma. The top two of each of the four brackets then advance to the championship bracket.

“Top six is the goal. We’ve done it before and I don’t see why we can’t do it again. This year, the team that we’re taking is a lot stronger than any team we’ve taken before, so I’m fairly optimistic,” said captain Tom Ezquerro ’18.

This is the team’s third consecutive and fourth overall time competing at nationals since it was established seven years ago.

“Two seniors are going, so I hope they will end their season in a way that they’re proud of and in a greater way, that the rest of us end our season in a way that we’re proud of,” Kylie Best ’19 said.

While the team has never won the tournament, captain Cole Hamel ’18 says the growth of the team—it has gone from five to six players in 2015 to over 20 this season—has contributed to the team’s success. Since the team gets one point for playing in a game and another for winning, their overall ranking goes up depending on how many teams they send to a tournament.

Matt Swiatek ’20 believes that a point system that rewards participation has helped make the team more inclusive.

“Even people who haven’t been on the team for very long we’ll still send to competitions because we know they can get points even if they don’t play at the highest level. They’ll get points simply for competing,” said Swiatek.

However, Ezquerro notes that curling on the college level has become more competitive recently, making Bowdoin’s success at tournaments more important in getting a bid to nationals.

“The other side of it is [that] curling at the collegiate level has become more popular, so we’re vying for the same amount of points with more teams, so the point qualification is a little bit more challenging this year. There’s anticipation for a lot more teams to join next year as well,” said Ezquerro.

According to Best, the team’s fourth-place ranking is not just a product of the team’s growth, but also due to their increased competitiveness.

“We definitely made a concerted effort to be more competitive this season and I think that shows in our ranking,” she said. “This is the highest we’ve finished since 2010. So I do think that we have more of a drive to be competitive and I think that has shown itself in how our season worked out.”

Since most members of the team never curled before joining, practice starts at the most basic level. While the team has a liason at the Belfast Curling Club in Belfast, Maine who provides advice and support, it has no coach. New members learn first at the Watson arena–where the ice is pebbled to make it suitable for curling– before heading over to the Belfast Curling Club for Sunday practices.

“It’s basically just getting people familiar with the ice, familiar with the weird movements and weird body positions that go into curling, making sure they get as much practice as possible,” said Hamel.

Outreach for the team has continued into the second semester, with the curling team holding a “Learn to Curl” event this past weekend. The event encouraged Bowdoin students and members of the community to get acquainted with the sport.

“It was for people who had never curled before, so they could come and just see what curling is all about. It was very exciting.” said Hamel.

According to Ezquerro, 52 people, including students, professors and their families, and other staff members showed up to the event.

The team has also been enjoying other forms of publicity from the Bowdoin Magazine to an Instagram post showing President Clayton Rose curling with the team.

“My hopes from that are that we get more people interested,” Best said. “In terms of recruiting, it would make me so happy if somebody said “I came to Bowdoin because I wanted to curl.’”

Five from curling team will travel to Nationals