Rensselaer hosted the largest collegiate bonspiel ever held in the nation in the United States Curling Association this past weekend, with 20 teams from 10 schools in attendance. RPI entered five teams into the three-day tournament which ran from Friday evening through Sunday morning at Schenectady Curling Club, where the team practices every Tuesday and Wednesday.
RPI 1 crushed SUNY 3 from the State University of New York Polytechnic 16–1 during the first draw time of the bonspiel on Friday with senior Chris Celi as skip, freshman Evan Mullaney as vice, senior Kirsten Cardinal as second, and senior Joseph Skulski as lead. The team of RPI 2, consisting of senior Alex Kelleher as skip, senior Zach Wietsma as vice, freshman David Dawnkaski as second, and senior Greg Stankewicz as lead, played against team Yale 1 at the same time, but fell 1–9. This was Stankewicz’s first time competing in a curling tournament, and Dawnkaski’s second.
On Saturday, RPI 1 faced the team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and after a close game, won 7–6. This was the team’s first of three games on Saturday, the second was against Hamilton 1, which RPI won 9–0, and their third was a rematch against MIT, which was won 9–1. This knocked MIT out of the finals, and RPI proceeded into Sunday’s semi-finals against Hamilton 2.
Hamilton 2 lost to RPI 1 on Sunday during the second-to-last draw time of the tournament. With only the finals remaining, if RPI 1 could manage to deliver the stone closer to the button in the house than SUNY 1 for eight ends, then RPI would win the competition A-event. Through accurate throwing and powerful sweeping, RPI 1 defeated SUNY 1 6–4 to win the event.
RPI 2 did not win any games over the weekend; however, the team of RPI 3 beat their first opponent, Rochester Institute of Technology, 8–7 on Saturday morning. Despite their initial victory, senior skip Jenny Amador, junior vice Kaitlin Fermano, senior second Dana Stevens, and sophomore lead Amy Reynolds did not continue to the semi-finals after losing to Villanova University and Bowdoin College in their second and third games respectively.
The team of RPI 4 incurred the same curse as RPI 3, winning their first game, but losing their second and third. The team of junior Anthony Naslas as skip, sophomore Gideon Bartlett as vice, senior Mark Stein as second, and sophomore Colin Higgins as lead lost to Yale 2 and the University of Pennsylvania after winning against SUNY 2.
Finishing runner-up in the C-event was the team of RPI 5, with junior Mitchell Loser as skip, sophomore Zach Umstead as vice, freshman James Cassidy as second, and freshman David Palazzo as lead. The team lost its first game against Colgate University on Friday and second against Hamilton 2 on Saturday, but won its third and fourth against Colgate and RIT 1 respectively, advancing to the finals. Once there, RPI 5 lost to SUNY 2 4-8.
“It was a fun weekend overall,” said Stevens. “I think based on the results from this weekend, we will move up to be No. 2 in rank. We will get extra points for hosting, and I think we will pull ahead of SUNY Poly finally. I think we are in a great spot for qualifying for nationals.”
Next semester, the club plans to send teams to the Yale Super Spiel at Nutmeg College from January 27–29 and to the Utica College Bonspiel from February 10–11, among others. The team looks forward to competing at the USA Curling College Championship at Utica College in March.