Junior Austin Rose, an actuarial science major from Broken Bow, Nebraska, helped the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Curling Club place second at the USA Curling Championship in Utica, New York, March 10-12. The accomplishment served as the highest national finish since the club began in 2007.
Despite low participation in the sport throughout the state, Rose knew he wanted to join the Curling Club after watching his older brother, Morgan Rose ’13, compete for Nebraska. Gravitating toward the actuarial science field, Nebraska served as a perfect fit to combine his interests.
“After discovering what the actuarial science program at Nebraska offered, I decided to give it a shot. Ever since, the program has been extremely rewarding and I found a core group of peers to study with – the major is like its own community,” Rose said. “Taking many different classes involving management and leadership through the major, it helped me become better at communication on and off the ice.”
Often compared to shuffleboard, curling involves two teams of four where players slide large stones on ice toward a target area called “the house” to score points. The heart of the sport includes strategic thinking, communication and good sportsmanship. Based on a point system formed around wins and participation in bonspiels (tournaments), 16 teams from across the U.S. qualify for the national tournament each year. As the Nebraska team advanced through each match, they strived to keep a focused and relaxed mentality – even when they reached the championship against the University of Minnesota.
“Our goal for the tournament obviously included winning, but also sticking to our strategy and making the other teams play to our pace and level,” Rose said. “We played Minnesota previously and formed friendships with the players, so we were all still serious about the championship but also celebrated both teams making it that far.”
Nancy Myers, director of organizational development for human resources at Nebraska, helped build the team in 2007 and coached ever since. She entered the national tournament with a high level of confidence in the group.
“After attending college curling events for many years, I had a very good feeling about the team going into nationals,” Myers said. “When they played an aggressive team during nationals they stayed calm, strategized and received a standing ovation when they finished the game. Everyone watching admired their resilience and support of each other.”
Myers credited Rose’s positive leadership and consistency on the ice as assets to the team’s success. Learning the sport in college, she commended his growth as a curler.
“Austin serves as a role model for the team. He appears very laid-back, but don’t let that fool you – he is always focused and paying attention to the right things,” she said. “As a native Nebraskan who hadn’t curled before coming to college, he now holds a national medal.”
Currently boasting 18 members, Nebraska natives and first-time curlers make up the majority of Curling Club participants. Rose hopes the national success will attract more members to the organization and recognize Nebraska as a legitimate curling state.
“This is the first year we represented Nebraska to the best of our ability and fulfilled what we thought we could do,” Rose said. “Hopefully this gives us the publicity to attract students who curled in high school or recreationally and shows we can compete on a national stage.”
Ali Creeger, a senior environmental restoration science major from Woodbury, Minnesota; Harrison Hruby, a sophomore computer science major from Bismark, North Dakota; and Adam Schlichtmann, a freshman software engineering major from Fargo, North Dakota, also competed on the curling team at nationals.