USA Curling

Picture
  • 1998
 Position:    Vice skip
 Teammates:    
 Delivers:    Right-handed
 Born:    February 11, 1974, in La Crosse, Wis.
 Hometown:    Eau Claire, Wis.
 Occupation:    Teacher
 Education:    
 Family:    Married, two children
 Year started curling:    1984
 Height:    6 feet, 2 inches
 Weight:    180 pounds

CURLING HIGHLIGHTS

  • U.S. Men's National Qualifier (for the Olympic Trials): 2001 (qualifier #1)
  • U. S. Olympic Team – Curling: 1998 (4th)
  • U.S. Men’s Nationals: 2000 (runner-up); 2001, 1999, ’97, ‘96 (semifinalist all 4 years)
  • Wisconsin State Men’s Playoffs: 1993, ‘92 (runner-up)
  • U.S. Junior Men's Nationals: 1995, '94 (champion both years);1991 (silver medallist)
  • Junior Worlds: 1995 (5th); 1994 (bronze medallist and All-Star skip); ‘91( bronze medallist)
  • Wisconsin State  Junior Men's Playoffs: 1995, '94 , ‘91 (champion all three years)
  • USCA, U.S. Olympic Committee Male Curler of the Year: 1994
  • Sullivan Award nominee: 1994
  • World Championships:  1991 (alternate player)
  • World Challenge Round: 1994 (champion)

Other highlights include:

  • 1994-95 – Went 11-0 at U.S. Junior Nationals; one of the youngest skips to reach the U.S. Men’s National Championship semifinals.
  • 1992-93 – Wettinger Trophy – Baden, Switzerland, 5th place in field of 60 teams from 14 countries. Bull Trophy – Grindelwald, Switzerland, won 4 of 6 games, including over Canadian Junior Men’s champions.

PERSONAL FILE
Peplinski is a fifth grade teacher at Locust Lane Elementary School in the Eau Claire (Wis.) Area School District. He has Idiopathic Membranous Nephropathy, a rare kidney disease that forced him to undergo a transplant in June 1998 (his father-in-law was the donor).

In his own words:  "I started curling in the 4th grade at the Centerville Curling Club, in Centerville, Wis. The junior program at this club grew to be one of the largest in the nation and continues to grow, producing five State Junior Championship teams!

Curling has provided a competitive activity for me to participate in. I was very active in high school, playing three varsity sports, not including curling. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to play the others for the rest of my life, so I pushed myself to excel at curling. It has provided me with lifelong friends and experiences, and this sport will be part of my life for years to come.

I am a person who loves to work with children. I have a degree in education and use that along with my curling. I have presented curling to over 500 different students, either introducing them to the sport, or helping them fine-tune their skills. I truly enjoy sharing my success with these children. My curling experiences range from these wonderful times with kids, to sledding in the Swiss Alps, to sharing "stories" in Canada, being the 1st U.S. team to ever play against Russia, and also being the first U.S. team to play in an Eastern Block country (Bulgaria)."

Nickname:  "Pep."

Education:  Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics from Viterbo College of LaCrosse, Wis.

Teaching:  "I often incorporate my curling into teaching. I have referred to the history of curling, its traditions, and other Olympic topics."

I can't live without: "My wife and children. We really bond well together and have that certain understanding of each other. Also, I couldn't live without CURLING!"

Other favorite sports: "I have loved baseball all my life, as a player and a coach. I competed at a high level (sophomore in college), but curling always held the #1 spot in my heart. I am now hooked on golf because it has many of the same elements as curling."  Peplinski has a golf highlight, stemming from a game against former teammate and 2002 U.S. Olympic Team Trials opponent Ryan Quinn, a highly-competitive golfer: "I beat Quinn once (he was only 10)!"

Before every game: "I often sing certain lines from songs to myself. Garth Brooks' The River has been my inspiration for many years. When I take my practice slide, I sing (in my head) Cheryl Crow's Feeling Fine lyrics: 'Jump in, let's go. Sit back, enjoy the show.' Because I believe if we play well, we will put on quite a show!"

Something unique: Peplinski proposed to his wife, Michelle, by spelling out "Will you marry me?" in curling stones at his local club.

Lucky Day: "I have been very successful on my birthdate, February 11th. For many years, I have won a big curling game on my birthday." 

Curling goals: "To stand on the Gold Medal Stand and have our National Anthem played for our country and know that I helped obtain that medal for the United States. I would also love to see curling evolve and grow into a popular sport in the United States. I would like to see all club memberships grow, and possibly more clubs built. I would like to walk into McDonald’s and have everybody whispering to their parents, "Hey, that’s Mike Peplinski!" Just like people in Canada say, "That’s Wayne Middaugh!"