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The Alexandria Vikingland Curling Club sent five curlers to the USCA Arena National Championship this past weekend. They are, pictured from left to right, Michael Bouressa, Troy Dittberner, Logan Moore, Jason Lattimer and Andy Siira. (Contributed photo)

Local curlers take home consolation title

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A group of five Alexandria curlers proved to be right there with other teams from around the country as they took home the consolation title at the inaugural United States Curling Association's (USCA) Arena Curling Championships this past Saturday.

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Troy Dittberner, Andy Siira, Logan Moore, Michael Bouressa and Jason Lattimer all traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana to compete in the event, which ran July 18-21. They dominated their first game 11-0 against a team from Michigan before falling with last-shot losses in their next two. That sent them to the consolation bracket, where they won three straight to claim the consolation title.

"I thought we could have done better," Dittberner, the skip of the team, said. "But a lot of the southern teams play all summer. It took us a few games to kind of get in sync. As you could tell by the scores in the last three games, we did pretty well."

The Vikingland Curling Club does not start their league season until the end of October when ice is put down in the Runestone Community Center (RCC). That meant the group had to be creative in trying to find practice time leading up to the event. They were appreciative that the RCC helped them out by putting down a sheet of ice. They also traveled to Blaine to practice.

"We did get some practice time in and it certainly helped," Dittberner said. "There were definitely other teams in the same boat as us. I know that the two teams that beat us were saying they had been playing in leagues recently. But both the teams we lost to, it says two points, but we lost on the last shot on both of them. We were in the games. They just made some nice shots."

Those losses came in 8-6 and 7-5 games against teams from San Francisco and Pittsburgh, respectively. They bounced back on Saturday with 10-3, 10-5 and 7-1 wins over teams from South Carolina, Virginia and Oklahoma.

"I didn't know the level of competition [going into the tournament]," Dittberner said. "But I felt with the quality of players we had, that we would do well...I think we did do well considering the circumstances."

This was the first time any of the five curlers have competed in a national event.

"It was a nice experience," Dittberner said. "The people at the venue were very good. It was nice. We had fallen pretty flat and were kind of like, we're going to way underachieve, but we ended up rallying well. Everything started to come together. Everyone got in a groove, and we came together and started playing better."

The Vikingland Curling Club will get its league-season started in October. Those interested in trying the sport can come to the group's Learn to Curl Clinics on October 12 and 16 at the RCC. For more information, visit www.vikinglandcurling.org.

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