STEVENS POINT, Wis. — The top U.S. wheelchair curlers are in Madison, Wis., this week for the team tryouts for the 2013 National Team, which will also represent USA in the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championship. These curlers will also gain top consideration to be nominated to the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team.
Led by Steve Brown, USA Curling's wheelchair national coach, the individual tryouts will take place today through Sunday at the Madison Curling Club in McFarland, Wis.
This competition is open to the top 12 ranked curlers in the United States, who were determined in 2012 National Team Trials and a separate pre-qualifying event held this spring. The 2013 Trials will consist of individual skill shots and game play, along with further assessments by a Player Selection Panel. Throughout the event, participants will be assessed by this panel regarding their curling abilities as well as other qualities including on- and off-ice behavior, team dynamics, and practice regimen. The panel will select five athletes from the top-ranked male and female curlers at the end of the competition on Sunday. These five athletes will represent Team USA at the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championship on Feb. 16-23 in Sochi, Russia.
The five athletes will also be given top consideration to be nominated to the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team, which will compete in Sochi, Russia, March 7-16, 2014. The five Paralympic athletes will be officially named in December 2013.
The tryout competition gets underway this morning with the first round of the skills competition and continues until 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, action starts at 9 a.m. with more skills competitions and concludes Saturday evening with one-on-one mini games. A second session of mini games is on tap Sunday followed by the five-team announcement at approximately 1:30 p.m. The Madison Curling Club is located at 4802 Marsh Road in McFarland.
Team USA finished fifth at last year's world wheelchair event and secured essential qualifying points for the U.S. for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. The Americans are in good shape to earn a berth for the Paralympic Games as they are in sixth place in the qualification standings and will earn a minimum of a single qualification point by competing in the 2013 world championship.
Countries earn points at the three world wheelchair championships in the lead-up to the Paralympic Winter Games. The 10 qualified nations will be formally announced after the 2013 world event. For a complete look at the qualification standings, please visit the World Curling Federation website at http://www.worldcurling.org/curling-at-the-paralympics
Here is a list of the competing athletes:
- Catherine Cummins (Portland, Ore.)
- William Gray (Coos Bay, Ore.)
- Penny Greely (Green Bay, Wis.)
- James Joseph (New Hartford, N.Y.)
- Tim Kelly (Rockford, Ill.)
- Jimmy Kenner (Green Bay, Wis.)
- Meghan Lino (East Falmouth, Mass.)
- Patrick McDonald (Madison, Wis.)
- David Palmer (Mashpee, Mass.)
- Robert Prenoveau (Chittenango, N.Y.)
- Pam Wilson (Westminster, Colo.)
- Gerald Wynne Jr. (Plover, Wis.)