Junior Nationals Bonspiel Qualifiers announced

By Dave Jensen | July 09, 2018, 12:34 p.m. (ET)

Late May, and my phone was ringing off the hook with questions about qualifier locations, D-Pool registrations, and available curlers. What’s going on?

It wasn’t long ago that juniors were looking for teammates in October. What a long way our sport has come in the pursuit of excellence, and it shows. 

Having just wrapped up the camp for the inaugural class of Junior HPP Developmental Pool (D-Pool) athletes, I observed first-hand what a great crop of up-and-coming athletes our country has. The level of focus, commitment to improve, and overall talent were fun to witness. 

We are set to begin the next D-Pool session, which will run from August through March. The purpose of the Junior HPP D-Pool is to enhance the development of junior curling in the country by providing athletes with education and coaching resources on a year-round basis. This includes strength and conditioning training, mental skills training, sports nutrition, and injury prevention, along with a technical camp in the Spring to assess progress. Sports science education and strength and conditioning coaching are administered online. 

D-Pool participants are asked to perform a weekly strength and conditioning routine designed for their level of fitness, complete various mental skills and nutritional exercises monthly, work on other sports science education pieces, and attend a weekend camp during the first part of April 2019 in the Twin Cities. There is no fee for the camp, but the cost of travel and accommodations is at the expense of the D-Pool athlete.

The D-Pool is open to any junior curler who has entered a USCA playdown in the past season (either U18 or U21), who was born on or before June 30, 2002, and on or after June 30, 2000, and is a citizen of the United States. 

Registration deadline for the 2018-19 season is July 27. Interested athletes should register on USA Curling’s registration site. Cost for participation in the D-Pool for the 2018-19 season is $140 per athlete. 

The D-Pool fits seamlessly into the athlete pipeline for U21, where some terrific teams are being formed. Last year’s level of competition was great, and this year’s teams seem poised to comprise a junior field that will be among the deepest in recent memory.

The 2019 Junior National Championships will be held Jan. 12-19 at the Two Harbors Curling Club in Two Harbors, Minn. The field of eight teams will be determined by a berth qualifier system which will select six teams, and the HPP junior teams will fill the last two spots. These qualifiers are placed in areas where higher concentrations of junior curlers reside in order to mitigate travel costs, allow for the greatest number of teams to compete at multiple events, and to determine the nation’s best junior teams.

Here is how the system works:

Step 1:

Register on the USCA’s registration website, http://leagues.bluesombrero.com/Default.aspx?tabid=769668

Registration open: Sept. 5, 2018

Registration close: Nov. 18, 2018 11:45 p.m. CT

Registration fee: **$92.50 per player

Contact: Jenny Biadasz, jenny.biadasz@usacurl.org, 888-287-5377

Step 2:

Register your team with the host site of your choice. There will be a team entry fee collected by the club to cover the cost to run the event.

Format:

The qualifiers are set approximately one month apart, except for Qualifiers 2 and 3, to allow teams to play in multiple qualifiers until they secure a Junior Nationals berth.

Teams do not have to consist of the same players for every qualifier. If after playing in one you wish to enter a different team in the next, that’s allowable. Once your team has secured a berth, the line-up is set and you are ineligible to play in subsequent qualifiers.

Entry deadlines for each qualifier are set approximately two weeks prior to the event in order to give the draw master time to create the draw. All teams are required to have a coach who has completed the SafeSport course and a background check and registered 10 business days in advance of the qualifier deadline.

All participants must have completed and met all registration requirements for the Junior National Championships 10 business days prior to the start of a Qualification Bonspiel, unless otherwise noted within the USCA Championship Registration Schedule. Games will be eight ends with one timeout per game. 

Qualifiers #1 and #4 have the potential for two junior national spots per gender, and qualifier #2 and #3 have one spot available. Qualifier #1 requires three or more teams of the same gender for two spots to be available. For all qualifiers, if there are two teams, one spot will be available, and qualifiers that register less than two teams will be cancelled. All unused spots will go to qualifier #4. 

Qualifier Sites and Registration Information

Junior Nationals Bonspiel Qualifier #1:

Two available spots per gender

Oct.12-14, Dakota Curling Club in Lakeville, Minn.

Entry deadline: Sept. 21 ($140 entry fee per team)

Contact: Darcy Ellarby, darcye@dakotacurling.org

Junior Nationals Bonspiel Qualifier #2:

One available spot per gender

Nov. 2-4, Potomac Curling Club in Laurel, Md.

Entry deadline: Oct. 19 (no entry fee)

Contact: Kim Clawson, kc3@hotmail.com

Junior Nationals Bonspiel Qualifier #3:

One available spot per gender

Nov. 9-11, Capital Curling Club in Bismarck, N.D.

Entry deadline: Oct. 26 ($80 entry fee)

Contact: Dave Jensen, dave.jensen@usacurl.org 

Junior Nationals Bonspiel Qualifier #4:

Two available spots per gender

Dec. 7-9, Portage Curling Club in Portage, Wis.

Entry deadline: Nov. 16 (entry fee to be determined)

Contact: Vietta Kampen, vkkampen@gmail.com

Planning – All qualifiers will have an optional Friday morning pre-event practice, and all qualifiers will conclude by late Sunday afternoon.  If you are flying to an event, plan on arriving Thursday evening and departing Sunday evening. Depending on numbers, qualifiers may start later and end earlier, but under no circumstances will they run outside these guidelines.

Questions may be directed to USA Curling HPP Director Dave Jensen at dave.jensen@usacurl.org. Have a great summer, but start getting ready for fall. n