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March 20, 2007 > Bay Area curlers in national competition

Bay Area curlers in national competition

By Biff Jones

The Grafton Curling Club of Grafton, North Dakota hosts the 2007 U.S. Mixed National Championship March 19-24. The eight states in the finals, in order of seeding, are: Washington; Maryland; Wisconsin; Alaska; Minnesota; North Dakota; Ohio; California.

Round-robin eliminations will run Monday through Thursday, followed by semi-finals on Friday. The championship match will take place on Saturday, March 24.

California Skip (or Captain) Lyle Sieg, had this to say about his team and their chances at the U.S. Mixed Nationals. "Simply put, we plan and have trained to win. We are currently ranked 8 of 8 because we're from California and no one knows us very well. We plan to change that this week in Grafton.

"We have a very smart and well-qualified team and have had several successful bonspiels (tournaments) this year in preparation for this event. We won a 32-team bonspiel in Seattle in November and we've had winning records in each of the other three events we have entered leading up to our event in Grafton."

Sieg, a native of Canada, currently resides in Castro Valley and has lived in the United States for the past 10 years. He plans to become a U. S. citizen. Although relatively new to Bay Area curling, Sieg counts 33 years of experience in the sport. He's been to the Nationals twice already since 2004 and has competed in many international competitions.

Candace Seip, a San Jose resident will compete as "lead." Like her Skip, Seip is also a Canadian native, hailing from Regina, Saskatchewan. She brings some 15 years of experience to the team.

Another San Jose resident, Brannon Wells, will man the position of "second" at the Grafton competition. He'll be near his home too, as he was born in Fargo, North Dakota. He's been building his curling resume for 12 years now. Wells expects many family and friends in the stands this week.

Rounding out the team is Christina Pastula, also Canadian, who will compete as the "third," sometimes called the "vice-skip." Pastula comes to SFBACC's teams by way of the highly-regarded Granite Curling Club in Seattle, WA and brings over 12 years curling experience with her.

Sieg says he loves the game, "the more pressure the better as everything is going on at once and you have very little time to make your decisions before going on to the next move. The game is a beautiful combination of athletic skill, mental dedication and team work, all played out on some ice with a few rocks and some circles."

Despite being seeded eighth, Sieg believes the California team will definitely be there at the end of the week and they have a legitimate chance to win it all. If not, he's certain they'll scare the heck out of some of the northern teams who think Californians are only about sunshine and surf.

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