From Stephen Hart:
Today Evergreen CC curlers Cathy Cummins, Bill Gray, and Arnie Iwanick (coach) leave Portland for Madison, WI for the last set of trials to form the US Paralympic Wheelchair Curling Team.
This last set of trials will focus on skill shots. It’s a very demanding three day challenge. Each player will stick-deliver more than 200 rocks per day. Each stone has to be delivered the way it’s described in the instructions. There will be many sets of draws with various stones placed on the ice to obstruct the player, and going through ports that are 1.5 times the width of a stone. Each shot gets three tries. Points are counted by how accurate the delivery worked; 5, 4. 3, 2, 1. A perfectly made shot gets 5 points. The athlete will deliver approximately 85 stones in the morning, and again after a lunch break and again in the evening.
It’s a marathon of skill shots, really tiring and stamina taxing. (Plan ‘B’ shots will not count at all).
Steve Brown (team USA head coach and proprietor of Steve’s Curling Supplies) reports that it takes an average of at least 65% to get the ‘gold’ and make the team. That is a high number to reach at the final trials. The top 5 players making these skill shots will join Team USA.
Team USA has already qualified for the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia. USA qualified by virtue of a 5th place finish at the 2012 championships in South Korea behind Russia (gold), Korea (silver), China (bronze) and Slovakia.