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SYDNEY, N.S. — Tabitha Peterson isn’t new to competing at the international level for the United States. 

The 35-year-old has been curling for close to 25 years and over that time has attended six World Women’s Curling Championships while also representing the country at the Olympics in 2018 and 2022. 

During her time at the world championship, the Minnesota native won a bronze medal at the 2021 tournament in Calgary, defeating Anna Hasselborg and Sweden 9-5. 

Peterson and her team will be back in Canada for the World Women’s Curling Championship at Centre 200 in Sydney, but the team won’t have an easy opening weekend. 

The team, featuring skip Peterson, third Cory Thiesse, second Tara Peterson, lead Becca Hamilton and alternate Vicky Persinger, will kick the event off on Saturday with a draw against Turkey at 2 p.m. before meeting four-time defending champion Silvana Tirinzoni and Switzerland at 7 p.m. 

While all games are important at the tournament, one many have circled on the calendar is the United States’ draw with Rachel Homan and Team Canada. The teams will be on the ice at 2 p.m. on Sunday. 

“Playing in Canada is always fun because they draw an amazing crowd,” said the 35-year-old Peterson, who joined curling at the age of 10 at the St. Paul Curling Club. 

“We always know we have to bring our best when we play Canada because they are such a good team.” 

United States skip Tabitha Peterson watches a shot closely during curling action earlier this season. Peterson and her team will begin the 2024 World Women’s Curling Championship on Saturday with games against Turkey and Switzerland. The team will play Rachel Homan’s Team Canada at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Centre 200 in Sydney. CONTRIBUTED - CONTRIBUTED
United States skip Tabitha Peterson watches a shot closely during curling action earlier this season. Peterson and her team will begin the 2024 World Women’s Curling Championship on Saturday with games against Turkey and Switzerland. The team will play Rachel Homan’s Team Canada at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Centre 200 in Sydney. CONTRIBUTED – CONTRIBUTED

 

‘BEAST OF AN EVENT’

The Peterson rink is the last team from the U.S. to win a medal at the women’s world championship. The team posted a 6-6 record at the 2023 tournament in Sweden and missed the playoff round. 

“We had some really close games that came down to the last shot,” said Peterson of last year’s tournament. “We’ve adjusted a few things in our game plan and our mechanics so we’re looking forward to showcasing our team this week.” 

Peterson, who won the U.S. national in East Rutherford, N.J., described the world championship as “a beast of an event.”

“It’s long, games are 10-ends and the teams keep getting better and better and raising the bar on what it takes to win,” said Peterson, a pharmacist. 

“We have been training all season in hopes that our individual performances all peak at the same time and we can really gel as a team.”  

The Peterson team will lean on experience at the tournament. Tara Peterson and Hamilton have both played in four world championships, while Thiesse has appeared in three and Persinger has played in five. 

“We have so much international experience which makes a big difference in important events like the worlds,” said Peterson, who admitted when she first started curling she didn’t like it as much as she did soccer. 

“We have had a fairly successful season thus far, hoping to cap it off this week.” 

Tabitha Peterson, skip for the United States. CONTRIBUTED - World Curling
Tabitha Peterson, skip for the United States. CONTRIBUTED – World Curling

 

SIBLING TEAMMATES

To make playing in the world championship even more special, Peterson is joined on the team by her sister Tara. 

“We live close to each other, so we practice and train together,” said Peterson, who lives in Vadnais Heights, Minn., a city with a population of 12,912 people and a 10-minute drive from St. Paul. 

“We are also good friends and have similar friend groups, so we hang out a lot.”

Peterson, a five-year skip, said the team’s first goal for the Cape Breton-based tournament is to make the playoffs and then concentrate on a medal. 

“We won a bronze medal in 2021 so we know we can do it,” she said. “We just have to bring our absolute best and play with a lot of grit. It’s a very long week of games and every little inch will matter.” 

The United States, listed sixth in the world rankings, has won seven medals at the World Women’s Curling Championship, but the team only has one gold medal and that came in 2003 under the direction of skip Debbie McCormick.

Before Peterson in 2021, the United States had last won a medal at the event in 2006 in Alberta. 


– Jeremy Fraser is the sports reporter for the Cape Breton Post. Follow him on X (Twitter) @CBPost_Jeremy.






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