Curling competitor has home field advantage for tournament - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Curling competitor has home field advantage for tournament

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW)--Olympic hopefuls took to the ice. The Women's Nationals Challenge Round Curling Tournament continued today in Marshfield. Eleven teams are competing for six remaining sports in the National Tournament next month.

Medford native and curling competitor Jackie Lemke has home field advantage. She was born just two miles away from the site of this weekend's tournament.

"I was born in Marshfield, my mom worked here when I was born. It's really neat. I've watched my dad curl here," Lemke said.

Lemke says her dad got her onto the ice at eight years old and she hasn't stopped since.

"It's pretty cool considering they travel all over the curling belt between the states and into Canada," said Jeff Mueller, Lemke's father. "For them to end up here for a chance to qualify for Nationals is pretty cool," he said.

This weekend's Challenge Round for Nationals is a step towards the ultimate goal. The top two teams from Nationals qualify for Olympic trials in 2013.

"We have a really good team this year, so hopefully if we stick together and keep improving, we will have a really good shot at 2014," Lemke said.

Lemke's father says being able to share the sport with his daughter is special. But he says seeing her in the Olympics would be even better.

"I would be elated. It would be huge for us but for her, that's just been her dream forever," Mueller said.

Lemke says it's been great being able to play in the city she was born in.

"The ice has been really good. The hospitality has been fantastic. It's exactly what you would expect from Central Wisconsin," Lemke said. 

Officials for the tournament say they are glad to have Lemke as well.

"It's a thrill to have a local competitor," said Dean Markwardt, Deputy Chief Umpire.

The tournament finishes up on Sunday. Lemke says her husband is competing in the Men's Challenge Round this weekend in Eau Claire. She says it would be awesome if they could both move on.

Online Reporter: Cassandra Vinch

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