In early March, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s curling team took home the bronze medal at the College Curling National Championships held in Utica, New York.
UWSP’s team practices once a week on Sunday nights. The team also participates in about 10 tournaments per season.
Jillian Behling, vice-president of the curling club, has been on the team since her freshman year.
According to Behling, the team’s trip to Utica was their fourth time participating in the national championship. Two seasons ago, the team won the gold medal at the championship.
Behling said that the team got to compete against, and do better than, ivy league schools such as Harvard and Yale.
This year the championship winner was the University of Minnesota. UWSP’s overall record at the tournament was 4-1.
“It’s not about winning. It’s about being a good sport and being fair and honest,” Behling said.
Behling describes UWSP’s team, which consists of about 16 curlers, as growing. Behling has noticed that many high school curlers are becoming more interested in the university’s team.
Behling’s brother, now a high school senior, will be a freshman at UWSP next year and plans to join the team.
“By your senior year, you know everyone that curls out of Nebraska, Minnesota and Green Bay. You make a curling family with your school, but you also have a lot of friends elsewhere,” Behling said.
Megan Benaski, freshman curler, curled in high school and won the state championship in Wausau. Benaski was attracted to UWSP, in part, because of the university’s curling team.
Benaski said that one of the largest misconceptions about curling is that people tend to believe it is an easy sport.
“I would say that it’s pretty easy to learn at first, but to refine your skills and become good at it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of practice,” Benaski said.
For Benaski, playing in the College Curling National Championships gave her the opportunity to experience competing against difficult teams.
“It was really cool playing against so many teams from all across the United States because usually we just play teams in the Midwest,” Benaski said.
According to Benaski, her decision to curl has been one of the best decisions that she has made.
“I’m really excited to continue with curling and see what we can do in the next few years,” Benaski said.