STEVENS POINT, Wis. - Ten athletes are competing for spots on Team USA for the 2009 World Wheelchair Championship as well as to be nominated to the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Team.
The five-person wheelchair curling team will be selected after individual competitions with the first of three events beginning Friday at the Utica Curling Club in Whitesboro, N.Y. Drills will be administered in order to evaluate game skills and strategy as well as game participation. The tryouts continue at the Fourth Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial Bonspiel on Nov. 29 in Ottawa and conclude at the Second Annual U.S. Open International Bonspiel, Dec. 5-7, in Utica.
Wheelchair curling is in its infancy in the United States. Only 15 athletes competed for the right to represent the U.S. at the 2008 World Wheelchair Curling Championship. A curling team consists of five players, and must include both genders in the wheelchair discipline. Because of the small number of athletes at present, and to maximize the chance for success in Vancouver, the U.S. Curling Association will select its 2010 U.S. Paralympic Team nominees from individual wheelchair curlers.
Here is a look at the field of competing athletes:
* John Powell, 60, Balch Spring, Texas
* James Pierce, 45, North Syracuse, N.Y. Pierce competed at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games as well as three world wheelchair championships (2008, bronze; 2007 and 2005)
* Julia Dorsett, 40, West Chester, Penn.
* Robert Prenoveau, 43, Chittenango, N.Y. Has been the alternate at two world wheelchair championships (2008, bronze, and 2005)
* Jacqueline Kapinowski, 45, Point Pleasant, N.J. In her first year of curling, Kapinowski made Team USA and won bronze at the 2008 World Wheelchair Championship.
* Tammy Delano, 35, Rome, N.Y.
* Augusto Perez, 36, East Syracuse, N.Y. USA Curling's 2008 Male Athlete of the Year, Perez competed at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games as well as the two world wheelchair championships (2008, bronze, and 2007)
* Roy Heathcoat, 43, Franklin, Wis.
* James Joseph, 46, New Hartford, N.Y. Joseph competed at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games as well as three world wheelchair championships (2008, bronze; 2007 and 2005)
* Patrick McDonald, 42, Orangevale, Calif.