The season may be early, but the standards are high for the Bearden curling team.
Bearden is currently one of two high schools with a team in Knox County, the other being CAK. Even though Bearden is the only experienced team in the area and the only team with a real shot, they are hoping to qualify for the Junior Nationals in February in addition to attending competitions called “bonspiels” in the spring.
The curling team practices every Sunday night at the Ice Chalet and sometimes plays against CAK or the UT team. In addition, the team hosts Learn to Curl events regularly for adults or students.
“The culture of the sport is really collaborative and constructive, so our main focus is helping other schools like CAK build their teams so that eventually we can have a high school league in Knoxville,” senior and co-founder Adam Hasan said. “The CAK team is really supportive of that goal as well, so we’ve been working together to help achieve it.”
The team continues to work toward their goals, even with little competition readily available.
“So far the team has been practicing to make it to the regional competition in December,” team member Max Neveau said.
If the team makes it through the Regional competition, or “qualifiers”, then they will be able to attend junior nationals, which will be held in Devils Lake, N.D., in February.
Bearden curling is expecting a challenge at the qualifiers, but they believe that they can make it.
“We’re in the same qualification region as teams from the Great Lakes, so it’s going to be challenging,” Hasan said. “That being said, we’re optimistic about our chances.
“We regularly tie or beat adult teams in our league, and last week we tied UT’s Curling team.”
The only real issue with Bearden’s team is the number of upperclassmen.
“Our biggest concern is that our team is comprised of seniors,” Hasan said. “While we all have been improving our skills together, we would really like to pass the team on to underclassmen next year, so moving forward we are going to start focusing more on recruitment than we have been previously.”
The team is working hard to find new members so that curling may continue next year, when the current seniors have left Bearden.
“We’re trying to recruit underclassmen, and if anyone would like to check it out or join, our sessions are at 8:30-10:30 almost every Sunday at the Ice Chalet,” team member Sebastian Soldner said.