Professors play in qualifier for Olympic trials in curling

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RIT professors Jack Beck and Jason Scott participated in the East Regional Qualifier round of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling last week in Brookline, Mass. There were 22 teams representing nine states. Beck, film professor in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, and Scott, criminal justice professor in the College of Liberal Arts, are part of Team Mantha, which did not qualify to advance to the next round.

“This was my first National Championship event so it was exciting and a real eye opener,” says Scott. “The competition at this level is really tough. It was exciting to be competing in the same event alongside 2006 Olympic Bronze medalists (Team Fenson) and against the 2007 World Bronze medalist (Team Birr).

Curling is played on ice with two four-member teams. Using brooms, teams try to slide heavy granite stones (about 45 lbs.) toward a target or what is called the house.

Beck has been part of Team Mantha for seven years.

“My first attempt at delivering a stone almost hit the button (the center of the house, or scoring area), so it was a good start,” says Beck. “Team Mantha has played in the national playdowns before and the Olympic Trial qualifiers once before. This year was our best team so far. Jason joined us this year as lead.”

Last fall, Team Mantha won The Pumpkin, an international curling tournament, besting sixteen teams.

Scott also is the faculty advisor to RIT’s student curling club. The students play on Sunday nights. The club is open to any student. RIT has sent a team to the National College Championship for the past two years.