Forget the bones. Nebraska is gearing up to throw the stones.
The UNL Curling Club will compete as the nation’s top-ranked team in the USA Curling College Championship March 13-15 in Rochester, New York.
The team, which formed in 2008, earned the nation’s top ranking in October and has held the post for most of the 2014-2015 season. The club is sponsored by Nancy Myers, UNL’s director of organizational development for Human Resources.
“We have some incredibly talented students who have worked very hard to achieve that ranking,” Myers said. “They’ve traveled all over the Midwest playing some very tough teams.”
The team, which is offered through Campus Recreation, is led by Cameron Binder, a senior economics major, and Ali Creeger, a sophomore environmental studies major. Both have previous experience in the sport.
“Cameron and Ali have really stepped up this year and improved their game,” Myers said. “They do a great job working with our other players who have no prior experience.”
Other members of UNL’s championship-bound team include Isaac Fuhrman (sophomore, mechanical engineering), Ty Rempe (junior, mechanical engineering) and Tim Adams (junior, civil engineering).
Each college team is awarded points on the national level based on playing in approved college events and tournaments. The UNL team has accumulated 72 points to secure the No. 1 spot. Rensselear Polytechnic is second with 66, followed by Wisconsin-Stevens Point in third with 62.
The nation’s top 16 teams play in the national championship tournament. Among the teams making that cut, UNL has played Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Carroll University, Minnesota and Tennessee.
Also this season, the team hosted and won the Big Red Bonspiel, the first tournament held in Nebraska. The tournament was at the Ralston Arena, where the UNL club practices.
Overall, the UNL curling club has competed in the national championships six out of the seven years it has been active.
“Though Nebraska is not known for curling, we do a really good job of recruiting freshmen and sophomores to replenish graduating seniors,” Myers said. “And the kids we do draw are excited to learn about the sport and want to compete at a high level.”
Myers is also a lifelong curler. She was raised in upstate New York, where playing winter sports is part of the landscape. Read more about Myers’ history with the sport here.
She said this year’s student team has a good chance to return with Nebraska’s first national championships curling medal.
“We have a good team with lots of experience, but you never know what will happen until you get out on the ice,” Myers said. “It’s going to be fun being there and competing against some great teams.”
Nebraska will face Yale at 4 p.m. March 13 in the opening round of the 2015 championships. Other opponents in round robin play include Rensselear Polytechnic and Minnesota, both on March 14. Semifinal and championship rounds are March 15. For a complete schedule, click here.