The Medford Curling Club will play host to 16 teams of two as the 2014 USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship gets underway this week in Medford, Wis.
The competition begins at 11 a.m. CT on Dec. 5 from the four-sheet club. The winning team will represent the U.S. at the 2014 World Mixed Doubles Championship, which will take place April 22-29 in Dumfries, Scotland.
The defending champions - Pete and Maureen Stolt (Plymouth, Minn.) from the St. Paul Curling Club - are back in the field looking for a repeat of last year's title win in Bismarck, N.D. Past champions champions (2012, 2011, 2009) Brady and Cristin Clark from Seattle and 2010 champion Sharon Vukich (Seattle) highlight the field.
The 16 teams will be split into two pools for the preliminary round robin. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the semifinals on Dec. 8.
The mixed doubles event debuted at the national and world level in 2008 and is being considered as a potential future Olympic medal sport, possibly as early as 2018. The U.S. has never won a medal at the world championship but the Clarks earned the U.S.'s top finish at the 2012 world event when they finished fourth.
Games for mixed doubles are eight ends in length. Unlike traditional curling, mixed doubles includes two players delivering five stones per end instead of eight for a four-person team. Two stationary stones are set up prior to the first rocks being thrown - one as a center guard and one on the button. One player throws the first and fifth stones while their partner throws the three rocks in between. Athletes can either get up and sweep their own stone or have the player in the house come out and sweep the stone.
Here is a look at the competing teams along with their hometowns and home clubs:
Team Buchbinder: Danielle Buchbinder (Buffalo, N.Y./Rochester CC) and Michael Rupp (Buffalo, N.Y./Rochester CC)
Team Buresh: Dan Buresh and Michelle Wagner (both of Bismarck, N.D./Capital CC)
Team Clark: Brady Clark and Cristin Clark (both of Lynnwood, Wash./Granite CC)
Team Doherty: Timothy Doherty (St. Paul, Minn./St. Paul CC) and Carol Strojny (Mendota Heights, Minn./St. Paul CC)
Team Murray: Sean Murray (Hartland, Wis./Kettle Moraine CC) and Emilia Juocys (Rochester Hills, Mich./Madison CC)
Team Vukich: Sharon Vukich (Seattle, Wash./Granite CC) and David Cornfield (Seattle, Wash./Granite CC)
Team Witzke: Jeremy Witzke (Oklahoma City, Okla./Oklahoma City CC) and Kristy Witzke (Oklahoma City, Okla./Oklahoma City CC)
Team Wiza: Dan Wiza (Waunakee, Wis./Madison CC) and Stephanie Martin (Barrington, Ill./Chicago CC)
Team Gemmell: Alan Gemmell and Maymar Gemmell (both of Algoma Mills, Ontario/Plainfield CC)
Team Ivy: Barry Ivy (Livermore, Calif./San Francisco Bay Area CC) and Britt Rjanikov (Wayland, Mass./Broomstones CC)
Team Kizlyk: Darrick Kizlyk (Colorado Springs, Colo./Broadmoor CC) and Dena Rosenberry (Manitou Springs, Colo./Broadmoor CC)
Team Meechai: Joyance Meechai (New York City, N.Y./Ardsley CC) and Steven Gebauer (Minneapolis, Minn./Four Seasons CC)
Team Olson: Scott Olson and Teri Olson (both of Littleton, Mass./Broomstones CC)
Team Roden: Kim Roden (Eagen, Minn./St. Paul CC) and Gary Mazzotta (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Paul CC)
Team Schally: Daniel Schally (Madison, Wis./Madison CC) and Sydney Schmus (Madison, Wis./Madison CC)
Team Stolt: Peter Stolt and Maureen Stolt (both of Plymouth, Minn./St. Paul CC)
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, and is partnered with Hilton, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.
Visit the USA Curling website at www.usacurl.org and connect with USA Curling on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare.
For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).