Yes, you guessed it! We qualified in Eveleth and made it as far as the Semi-Finals! So close to that elusive finals appearance and win! The last weekend of the "cash" season for us was highlighted by a high quality win over team Fenson (reigning Olympic team) in the Quarter Finals. By quality win I mean that we played well from top to bottom for the whole game and really controlled it from the start. Much like Madison we controlled all but one of our games and played very well as a team. In the Semi-Finals against our friend, and eventual spiel winner Tyler George, we had a one critical miss that put us behind by three points. The ice was pretty tough to generate offense on so come behind victories were few and far between. Certainly dissapointing for us to never have made a finals appearance on the Tour this year, but we have made a ton of progress and feel like we are starting to peak at the right time. To put it into perspective, every team starts the year hoping that they have what it takes to win a National Championships or Olympic trials, but only a few enter January really believing that it can happen. I would count us in that last group!
So now the Trials process begins. This year there are a total of 49 teams entering the "playdown" process. The process can be a bit complicated to explain, but essentially it's this.
The Qualifying Round (QR) - Jan. 7 to 11
In this round 6 Teams Advance from four different sites to the Final Trials, and 10 more teams advance to the Challenge Round.
The Challenge Round (CR) Jan. 28 to Feb 1
The 10 Teams from above compete at one site for the final four spots at the Final Trials
The Final Trials Feb. 21 to 28
The 10 Teams (6 from the QR and 4 from the CR) compete at one site over 9 days. The last team standing at the end of the event will be the next Olympic Team and National Champion.
As I mentioned in an earlier update, our QR is being hosted in Centerville, WI. John has won two National events in Centerville so we feel like it has good karma for us! Our first game is 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 8th. This will be pool play like the Madison event and we will need to finish in the top 3 to guarantee advancement. When we finish 1st, we'll advance to Denver for the final trials. There should be online scoring via the USCA website. For that and more information on the Trials use this link: http://www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks/ and click on "Championships" at the top.
BTW - If any of you are as optimistic as I am you can book your early tickets for the Final Trials in Denver here: http://www.denversports.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128&Itemid=55
I'll send another quick update before we start next week.
I speak for the entire team when I say thanks so much for your support this season!
Happy New Year!