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Published November 20, 2011, 06:37 PM

Grand Forks Teens Hoping to Curl Their Way to Youth Olympics

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Two local youngsters are competing for a spot in the Youth Olympics. But exactly what sport they play takes a different type of strength.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Two local youngsters are competing for a spot in the Youth Olympics. But exactly what sport they play takes a different type of strength.

For some it's just another sport, but for others it's "chess on ice".

"The curlers then who get up to this level, up at the top are the ones who are able to maintain that focus throughout the length of the game," chief umpire Greg Bolk said.

For 17-year-old Katie Siguardson and 16-year-old Madeline Shaft of Grand Forks, keeping their minds focused is just another part of the game.

But on Sunday, at lot more was at stake.

"We wanted to come here and do our best and we've been doing really well and so if we win here today we go to Austria in January for the 2012 Youth Olympics," Katie, a senior Central High School, said.

The goal for the team was to get a 42 pound rock into the house, but surprisingly it takes more mental focus than physical strength.

"This is a lot more mentally stressful, it is physical, too but I think it's a lot of strategy. You do need to keep your mind in the game," Katie said.

"Just a lot of concentration and try not to get too stressed out and just focus," Madeline, a junior a Red River, said.

"I think the mental aspect has to be sustained throughout the rest of the game and the physical aspect comes in bursts," Greg said.

The combination of mental and physical strength is what makes curlers well-rounded athletes. And it doesn't hurt to have some fun along the way.

"It's been really fun. I like all the people and it's been a blast to be with everyone," Madeline said.

Curling is a competitive sport, but at the end of the day, there are no hard feelings.

Unfortunately, the team from Grand Forks lost Sunday afternoon but the good news is curling is a sport that everyone can play including the blind, deaf and paraplegic.

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