High Performance Program Athlete Combine invitations accepted

By Terry L. Davis | May 03, 2016, 3:37 p.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 3, 2016

High Performance Program Athlete Combine invitations accepted

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Thirty-three athletes have been invited and all have accepted invitations to take part in this year’s Athlete Combine, which will take place May 21-23 at USA Curling’s Olympic Training Site at Fogerty Arena in Blaine, Minn.

Seventy-two applications were received for the 2016-17 High Performance Program (HPP), in addition to all 32 athletes from the 2015-16 program who have indicated their desire to return. The 72 applicants include 30 junior men, 15 junior women, 22 men, and five women. The Athlete Combine – which is just one part of the athlete selection process – featured 26 invited athletes last season. The proposal for this season is to have three women’s and three men’s teams in the High Performance Program, plus two junior women’s and two junior men’s teams.

“We had an extremely high caliber of applicants once again and difficult decisions had to be made on who would be invited,” said Derek Brown, USA Curling’s Director of High Performance. “In the end all 33 athletes invited to the combine competed in their respective National Championships last season, all but three placing in the top half of the field – something we emphasize on the application form that they need to be already competing at that level to expect an invitation to the combine.”

The athletes invited into the program for the upcoming season will be selected by Brown and HPP coaches, who currently include Scott Baird (Bemidji, Minn.), Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.), Ann Swisshelm (Chicago), Dave Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.), and Wally Henry (Beaver Dam, Wis.). Rick Patzke, USA Curling’s chief executive officer, also will be involved in overseeing the process.

Brown anticipates that the 2016-17 HPP selection process will conclude a few days after the 2016 Athlete Combine.

USA Curling’s athletes and staff achieved seven of eight performance benchmarks as set by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for the 2015-16 season, including five medals at international competitions (three silver, two bronze medals).

USOC performance benchmark/milestones summary:

Women:

• World Championships – Top 6. Finished sixth; milestone achieved.

• Grand Slam/Class A events – Win at least three games at four or more events. Achieved seven times by women’s HP teams; milestone achieved.

• World Curling Tour (WCT) events – Qualify for semifinals at one or more events. Achieved five times by women’s HP teams; milestone achieved.

Men:

• World Championships – Top 6. Won bronze medal; milestone achieved.

• Grand Slam/Class A Events – At least three wins. Achieved three times by men’s HP teams; milestone achieved.

• WCT Events – Qualify for semifinals at one or more events. Achieved five times by men’s HP teams; milestone achieved.

Combined:

• Order of Merit – Have two teams in the top 18. Partially achieved with a men’s team at No. 14 and women’s team at No. 19. (For year-to-date Order of Merit, a USA’s women’s team ranks No. 14 and men’s team ranks No. 11.) U.S. Men’s teams also ranked at 23 and 34, and women’s teams at Nos. 24 and 29.

World Junior Championships 2016:

• Win one medal – Won two silver medals; milestone achieved.

Overall milestones – 7 of 8 achieved, with No. 8 partially achieved.

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, BalancePlus, Skills.com, and is partnered with Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, Hilton HHonors, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.

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For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, terry.davis@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).