Seattle teens headed for national curling competition

Seattle teens headed for national curling competition
SEATTLE - The winter sport of curling doesn't get much attention outside the Olympics, but there's a team of local teenagers that deserves some recognition.

The group of young curlers is preparing for the Junior National Tournament in Fairbanks, Alaska, which begins next week.

Two teams - a boys and a girls team - will make the trip from Seattle. They've already proven they're the best in the state.

When you think about intense sports - curling probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But these teenagers are full of intensity aas they gear up for Junior Nationals.

"Yeah, you yell a lot. ... Communication is key," says Shelby Sweet, junior girls curling captain.

For many of the teens, curling runs in the family.

Jake Vukich, captain of the boys team, is following in his parents' footsteps. Both his mom and dad made it past nationals to the world competition.

"Wow - to win nationals - that would be the greatest victory. ... That would be amazing. That's my dream," he says.

Making it to nationals is a treat for the girls' team - it's the first group Washington state has sent to nationals in six years.

And with an under-aged team of mostly 12- to 14-year-olds, Captain Shelby Sweet evaluates their chances.

"They're slim - never know what will happen," Shelby says.

The national competition begins next weekend in Fairbanks, where Jake and Shelby's teams will face 10 other junior teams from around the country.

The winners will represent the United States in the world competition.

And what's after that? Who knows ... maybe the Olympics.