Fall League Preview

Summer’s over and we made it through the Crush. Hard to believe, but we’re only 24 hours away from starting the next round of leagues. Here’s what top expect from Fall League 2019, our 23rd season! 

Four Leagues. For the third time in a row, we have split up into four different leagues, each with its own personality and things to look forward to. 

A League. The granddaddy of our leagues is up first tomorrow morning. A League has 10 teams playing over a span of 12 games. The teams will play a 9-game round-robin, after which the top eight teams will enter a 3 game playoff for the championship. The 9th and 10th place teams will be unable to win or all, but will still have a chance to climb as high as 6th place with a late-season surge.

The league definitely has some powerhouses, but there don’t look to be any dynasties forming. Gone is Team Wicks, who won it all last Fall and then went through the regular season undefeated in the Spring. Two of the members from the Spring League champion, Jon Swartz and Yin-Ping Li, are playing together again, but the other half of their team has departed for Tuesdays. With David Markowski traveling and ineligible for Arena nationals, Camren Spangler has moved up from Vice to Skip and they’ve slotted David Betts into the two-hole. What a Curl Wants, the runner-up from Winter League, is returning with its entire lineup, as is the old Team Sampson, reunited with Josh Bally after a season apart. Not to be overlooked is Ryan Smith’s team, which is returning to their lineup from last Fall, when they entered the playoffs as the third seed. 

It’s anybody’s league.

B League. Our casual Sunday fare is going to look substantially different this year. We have four teams who will get to know each other very well over their six-game schedule. It will be a double round-robin with no playoffs. It might start feeling like the NL West before too long. Really? The Giants are playing the Padres AGAIN???

A lot of experienced skips and a mixture of new and returning curlers should make for some interesting matchups. Bromancing the Stone is taking their usual spot in B League. Katie Feldman is skipping a team that includes a new-to-us, but not new, curler, which is always hard to predict. The Girl Power team will feature Alice Hartman returning to the ice after a year off due to surgery, teaming up with Sonia Montero and Larissa Spangler. Rounding out the league will be veteran Mike Smith skipping Daisy MacCallum and Larry Nicolaus.

Tuesday Night League. This is the only league with the potential for a repeat champion. Team Frey, who won three straight games to win Thursday League four weeks ago, is returning its entire lineup to try to win it all again. Standing in their way is Laura Lunetta, who has tweaked the lineup they beat in the Championship game for another shot. Also, Ramon Cusi and James Meinert, returning to the ice for the first time since they hoisted the A League trophy back in May, have shifted their game to midweek and are hot to lay claim to a new league. And with the other three teams featuring names like Feldman and Vida and Kuhl and Kozlowski, this league could continue the wide-open competition that had become a feature of the first to incarnations to our midweek leagues. 

And hey, how about that 6:00 start time? Plenty of time to get through that Business 80 boondoggle.

Doubles League. The lineup hasn’t been set yet, but as with our Sunday Leagues, the winning duo have decided to go their separate ways. In fact, most of the teams have reorganized. Only the Feldman/Feldman team, the Frey/Fox team, and the Betts/Lunetta team are staying together. Nick Vida has paired up with Cole Hartfiel, while the other champion, Camren Spangler, is currently on the bubble about joining or not. More information on this league, and this new game that we’re finally getting a little bit of experience with, next week.

Open Ice. If you were doing the math, you’d notice that, in addition to having open spots in every league except for Doubles, there are going to be plenty of unused sheets during most draws. And for the first time in a long time, it isn’t just sheets one and five. During B League, sheet four will be open for practice or scrimmages. David Betts and Camren Spangler have put together a binder with tons of drills. If there is demand, we can bring back King of the Hill, as well. When asked, the number one thing people wanted was more ice time, with a combination of directed and non-directed activities. Well, the good news is that we’ve got a mixture of both available. Or you can help with the Learn to Curls on sheet one.

But use it up fast, because the rumors are that at least ten missing curlers will be coming back for C League in late October. 

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