Simpson’s curling team heads to Nationals

by Matt Bower

When the Simpson curling team entered the Minnesota Regionals one month ago, it didn’t expect to win.

“We went up to regionals to play Drake thinking we weren’t going to win,” sophomore Doug Rolwes said. “Every little bit out there helps so much and we got better real fast.”

The five-member team went undefeated, beating Drake and winning gold and has now set its sights on Nationals, which will be held in Chicago, March 18-20.

“We thought we’d get beat at regionals but and when we won, there was talk about Nationals,” senior Kyle Doyle said.

According to Rolwes, the national competition will include 32 teams and will also be televised.

“We are guaranteed at least three games, one on Friday and two on Saturday, but hopefully we get more,” junior Andrew Bergman said. “We hope to win a few and being regional champions, we expect to win at least one or two.”

The team is heading in with focus and determination but winning won’t be an easy task.

“It’s really tough competition,” Bergman said. “A lot of teams try out for the Olympics, so we could be playing against some future Olympians.”

According to Doyle, the team has been preparing since it received funding from the Student Government Association in January.

Over this time, Bergman believes the team has gotten much better.

“We started with just a basic understanding of the game,” Bergman said. “Now we’re fairly good at it.”

Before the season started, Doyle was the only member who had seen any ice time, since he played for Drake last year, but he’s been impressed with the progress the team has made.

“It’s amazing to see how quick the new players are picking it up,” Doyle said. “The ice gets hot in the third or fourth end and you have to do a lot of sweeping to get the stone in.”

Bergman says the win at regionals gave the team a huge boost.

“We were unsure about how we’d do,” Bergman said. “It made us work harder and showed we could compete.”

Even though the team has been practicing through much of the season, recently that task has become a difficult one.

“We haven’t been able to practice lately because the place we’ve been going to in Owatonna (Minn.) has been holding league tournaments on the weekends,” Rolwes said.

Despite the lack of practice time, the team is still looking forward to the tournament.

“It’s really kind of cool,” Doyle said. “Everyone’s really happy. We looked into going last year but it filled up too quick.”

Curling has been gaining interest around campus and while the team will be losing its senior member, Doyle, Rowles said he expects to have some new teammates next year.

“We’ve talked to multiple people who are interested for next year,” Rolwes said.

The team is happy about the support they’re gaining and are excited for next season.

“We’ve had people ask what’s going on and they want to get involved in the sport,” Doyle said. “It’s great to see the energy.”