Wuthricha good fit with Korean curlers

The chemistry seemed proper right from the first meeting. As a result, Patti Wuthrich signed on this fall as the coach of the impressive Korean women’s curling team skipped by Eunjung Kim.

The chemistry seemed proper right from the first meeting.

As a result, Patti Wuthrich signed on this fall as the coach of the impressive Korean women’s curling team skipped by Eunjung Kim.

Wuthrich, who formerly coached the Russian national men’s squad, informed the World Curling Federation last year that she was available to mentor any overseas team that was in the market for guidance with a North American flavour.

As it turned out, a WCF official contacted her last spring, asking if she would be interested in setting up a series of games and working with the Kim foursome during a visit to Canada. Wuthrich, working with a two-week window, organized a competitive schedule and trained with the Korean team in her hometown of Gimli, Man.

“It was a good fit. They seemed to enjoy what I did,” Wuthrich said Sunday at the Pidherney Centre, following Kim’s 8-4 win over Red Deer’s Jocelyn Peterman in one of two women’s B-event qualifiers of the Red Deer Curling Classic, a World Curling Tour event.

“I can’t say they learned much in that period of time (in Gimli), but a lot of coaching is just having a fit, and we had a good fit.”

The Kim quartet returned to Korea following their stint in Manitoba and competed in their country’s national championship, finishing first in round-robin play and winning the one-two game, but losing the final to the team that will represent the nation in the Sochi Olympics.

“These girls are good,” said Wuthrich, whose husband Hans is an ice-maker during Briers and world championships and handled similar duties for the Vancouver Olympics. “The two top teams in Korea are very evenly matched.”

Wuthrich visited Korea in September and met with the heads of the country’s curling community.

“It was agreed that in terms of skills, these girls are very technically sound,” said the coach, who noted that there are just two curling clubs in all of Korea. “But it was acknowledged that a little tweaking is needed and they needed to play against this level of competition, so that’s why they’re here.”

The Kim team was on the WCT last year, as well, and enjoyed some measure of success.

Sunday’s victory, which placed the team into today’s 9 a.m. quarter-finals with the guarantee of cashing a cheque, was special.

“This is good for them. They get some (Order of Merit) points and it’s a confidence-booster,” said Wuthrich, who will coach the team through three more WCT events in coming weeks — at Saskatoon, Spruce Grove and Lloydminster.

“Even if they didn’t win today or qualify in this or the next ‘spiel, it wouldn’t be a big deal. The purpose of them coming over here was to get experience and learn from their mistakes.”

Also qualifying out of the women’s B event was Kristie Moore of Sexsmith, who advanced to today’s 9 a.m. quarter-finals with a 5-4 win over Amy Nixon of Calgary, who has Whitney Eckstrand of Red Deer at second.

In Sunday’s late draw, Peterman fell 6-5 to Jill Thurston of Winnipeg in one of four C-event qualifiers, while Nixon also failed to advance, losing 6-2 to Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge. The other C qualifiers were Alina Paetz of Switzerland, a 6-5 winner over Jessie Kaufman of Spruce Grove, and Binia Feltscher of Switzerland, who downed Heather Jensen of Calgary 3-1.

Qualifying out of the A event Saturday were Allison MacInnes of Kamloops and Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon, who advanced with respective 7-3 and 5-2 wins over Leslie Rogers of Edmonton and Moore.

On the men’s side, Brad Heidt of Kerrobert, Sask., and Oskar Eriksson of Sweden, who posted 9-3 and 5-2 wins over John Stroh of Medicine Hat and Joel Jordison of Regina, respectively, were Saturday’s A-event qualifiers.

Winning the B-event playoff berths Sunday were Rob Schlender of Airdrie and Tom Appelman of Edmonton, 6-4 and 6-3 winners over Trevor Perepolkin of Vernon, B.C., and Jordison.

Perepolkin won a C-event qualifier Sunday night, 6-5 over Chang-Min Kim of Korea. Also qualifying out of C were Brock Virtue of Regina, who has Chris Schille of Red Deer at second, Josh Heidt of Kerrobert and Jeff Richard of Kelowna.

Virtue downed Stroh 6-3, Richard got past defending Classic champion Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton 6-5 and Heidt was an 8-7 winner over Jordison.

The semifinals in both divisions are set for noon today, with the championship finals to follow at 3 p.m.

Weekend scores:

Sunday

Women

9 a.m. — B event: Moore 6 Jensen 1; Peterman 5 Rogers 4; Nixon 7 Hamilton 4; Kim 5 Scheidegger 4.

12:15 p.m. — C event: Feltscher 8 DeJong 2; Thurston 6 Barber 2.

3:30 p.m. — B event qualifiers: Kim 8 Peterman 4; Moore 5 Nixon 4; C event: Scheidegger 10 Game 0; Paetz 7 Hamilton 5; Jensen 6 Ostlund 3; Kaufman 8 Rogers 7.

7 p.m. — C event qualifiers: J. Heidt 8 Jordison 7; Virtue 6 Stroh 3; Richard 6 Bottcher 5; Perepolkin 6 Kim 5.

Men

9 a.m. — B event: Jordison 6 Richard 3; Schlender 6 Bitz 3; Perepolkin 7 Stroh 4; Appelman 5 Manners 2; C event: Kim 5 Freiberger 1; K. Park 9 Jacobson 4; Blandford 6 Willerton 2; J. Heidt 7 Eckstrand.

12:15 p.m. — C event: Stroh 8 S. Park 0; Bottcher 7 White 3; Virtue 4 Maksymetz 2; J. Heidt 9 K Park 5.

3:30 p.m. — B event qualifiers: Schlender 6 Perepolkin 4; Appelman 6 Jordison 3; C event: Kim 7 Blandford 1; Bottcher 6 Manners 5; Richard 5 MacKenzie 4; Virtue 8 Bitz 7.

7 p.m. — C event qualifiers: Thurston 6 Peterman 5; Paetz 6 Kaufman 5; Feltscher 3 Jensen 1; Scheidegger 6 Nixon 2.

Saturday

Women

9:30 a.m. — A event: MacInnes 9 Hamilton 4; Rogers 4 Nixon 3; Paulson 6 Delia DeJong 5; Moore 6 Ostlund 3.

1 p.m. — B event: Scheidegger 6 Jaing 3; Peterman 9 Game 5; Kim 7 Paetz 6; Jensen 6 Barber 3.

4:30 p.m. — A event qualifiers: MacInnes 7 Rogers 3; Paulson 5 Moore 2; B event: Nixon 6 Kaufman 1; Hamilton 6 Thurston 4; C event: Feltscher 8 Doyle 3.

8 p.m. — B event: Kim 8 DeJong 4; Scheidegger 7 Ostlund 6; C event: Paetz 4 Jaing 3.

Men

9:30 a.m. — A event: Stroh 7 Appelman 6; Jordison 6 Schlender 4; Eriksson 7 Manners 5; B. Heidt 5 Bitz 2; B event: Blandford 6 S. Park 5; Richard 4 Maksymetz 3; Kim 8 Wang 5; Bottcher 6 deCruz 1.

1 p.m. — B event: Virtue 7 O’Connor 3; J. Heidt 10 Ross 4; Jacobson 8 MacKenzie 3; Perepolkin 6 White 3; C event: K. Park 7 Zou 5; Eckstrand 5 Cross 4; Freiberger 5 Maberg 2; Willerton 6 Koe 5.

4:30 p.m. — A event qualifiers: B. Heidt 9 Stroh 3; Eriksson 5 Jordison 2; B event: Manners 6 Blandford 3; Richard 9 Bottcher 2; Appelman 9 Kim 4; C event: Maksymetz 6 deCruz 0.

8 p.m. — B event: Perepolkin 5 Virtue 4; Schlender 7 J. Heidt 5; Bitz 6 Jacobson 5; C event: White 7 O’Connor 1; MacKenzie 9 Ross 3; S. Park 7 Wang.