Broomall curling family sets sights on 2018 Olympics

Emily Anderson, 26, delivers the stone as her sisters Courtney Slata (left), 29, and Taylor Anderson, 19, sweep sweep in front of it during their game at the 2014 USA Curling National Championships in Aston. The Andersons, captained by fourth sister Sarah, 19, lost to a squad from Rochester, N.Y. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Emily Anderson, 26, delivers the stone as her sisters Courtney Slata (left), 29, and Taylor Anderson, 19, sweep sweep in front of it during their game at the 2014 USA Curling National Championships in Aston. The Andersons, captained by fourth sister Sarah, 19, lost to a squad from Rochester, N.Y. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Posted: March 08, 2014

They are all outspoken at home in Broomall, Delaware County. But the youngest sister runs the show on the ice.

The four Anderson sisters - Sarah, Taylor, Emily, and Courtney - competed together this week in the U.S. National Curling Championships at IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston.

And while they were eliminated from this tournament Wednesday, the sisters are still looking ahead, all the way to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"That's anyone's dream, to go there," Sarah Anderson said. "And that's the goal."

There will be obstacles, such as Sarah's and Taylor's going off to the University of Minnesota. And Courtney Anderson-Slata's work schedule may impede them.

But the challenge remains.

"Hopefully," said Anderson-Slata, "we'll keep getting stronger."

Longtime members of the Philadelphia Curling Club - their coach and father, Wayne, grew up in curling-crazed Canada - only three of the sisters made it to their first national championship tournament, last year in Green Bay, Wis. Emily was out of the country.

So Sarah and Taylor, 19, identical twins and seniors at Marple Newtown High School, played with Anderson-Slata, 28, and another woman, and lost in the early rounds.

This year, Emily Anderson, 26, joined the team, and the family foursome made it to the championships again.

"We have a pretty close family," Anderson-Slata said. "To actually get to play competitively together is pretty exciting."

A fifth sister, the oldest, Larissa Day of Toronto, didn't compete in the U.S. championships, since she was born in and lives in Canada.

The other four sisters have competed in tournaments for years and have curled since they were 10. Sarah, the family's team captain, was even invited to serve as an alternate for the U.S. national team at last year's World Championships in Latvia.

"We tend to go along with what she says" on the ice, Anderson-Slata said of Sarah.

Wayne Anderson grew up curling in Ontario before moving to Philadelphia, and said his daughters have what it takes to be Olympians.

"I think they've got the ability to do as much as they want," he said. "I think it's a question of how much of a priority they want to put on it in their lives."

So far, they seem to take it seriously. Three of the sisters - Sarah, Taylor and Emily - practice regularly together, and they all curl in Paoli at the club on the weekends.

Anderson-Slata's work schedule makes it hard for her to attend the regular practices, so she persuaded her boss at Odessa Technologies in Philadelphia to let her work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays so she can do her own workouts.

"I get up at 6 [a.m.] and throw rocks around with Dad those days," Anderson-Slata said.

Perhaps predictably, none of the younger sisters volunteered to join her.

At IceWorks this week, the women received a warm welcome as they competed against nine other teams from around the country for the national title.

On the men's side, the U.S. Olympic team rushed back from Sochi, Russia, to compete. The championship rounds are Saturday.

Of all the curlers this week, the sisters seemed to be having the most fun. IceWorks was full of their friends and fans, and local media types were clamoring for their time.

Even Wayne Anderson noticed their celebrity status.

Wednesday afternoon, before they played their final matches, Emily Anderson, Anderson-Slata, and their father were going to lunch. Then Taylor Anderson waltzed through the front door, right past the ticket-takers into the lobby, to join them.

"You think you can just get in with that face now, huh?" Wayne Anderson teased Taylor.

As a matter of fact, she could.


U.S. Curling Championships

What: U.S. Curling Championships.

Where: IceWorks Skating Complex, 3100 W. Dutton Mill Rd., Aston.

Schedule: Women - semifinals, Friday, 4 p.m.; finals, Saturday, 10 a.m. Men - semifinals, Friday, 8 p.m.; finals, Saturday, 3 p.m.

For more info: Call 610-497-2200 or visit www.iceworks.net


cmindock@phillynews.com

610-313-8105 @clarkmindock

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