"We didn't know we were any good."
Those were the words of curling team captain Carl Spielvogel '13—the head of a 6-1 team that is heading to collegiate nationals in Chicago. Spielvogel was speaking about the team's first major tournament in Boston—effectively Eastern regionals, he said—where it landed in third place in the second division.
Winning the competition was only about an inch away, team members said.
Now the foursome of Andrew Hancock '13, Jay Tulchin '13, Margot Haines '13 and Spielvogel will head to the Midwest and aim to reach the podium in their division. The goal, Spielvogel said, is within reach.
Coming in third place "was a big deal," Spielvogel said. "We had people from all over inviting us to come curl with them."
Prior to the Boston Collegiate Tournament, the curling team had won the Maine State Championship, though the only other school to participate was Unity College.
But results have come only after much effort. Each Sunday, the curling team—which consists of at least eight regular participants, Hancock said—travel an hour and a half north to practice at Belfast Curling Club, the only curling club in Maine. Practices last three or four hours, Hancock said, including strategy meetings and playing simulated games.
"It's good fun, it's not a varsity sport," Hancock said. "You help each other out."
Spielvogel, who had no prior experience with curling, originally thought of starting a team last year.
"I was with some of my friends watching the Olympics, and we said 'We should start the curling team.'" Spielvogel called Belfast Curling Club and got in contact with Douglas Coffin, who is now the team's coach.
Tulchin said Spielvogel approached him about curling long before they received their club charter.
"[I was] sort of half-expecting it to fall through, half expecting it to come to fruition," Tulchin said.
Sure enough, however, Spielvogel received the club charter and the curling club was an official entity starting in September 2010.
Given the team's relative success already, team members were confident they would be able to recruit more participants next year. Competitively too, Spielvogel was looking up.
"Personally I think we're good enough next year to be in the first division," he said.