BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. -- One of the top young curlers in America is Briarcliff 16-year old Andrew Stopera.
Stopera will be heading to Seattle in a few weeks to compete in the USA Curling Junior National Championships with his team, Team Dunnam.
Last year, Stopera and Team Dunnam competed at the nationals in Wayland, Mass., and finished a surprising third with a record of 7-2, despite his team being ranked eighth in the country. Stopera said he is excited to be back with his teammates.
"We have put so much time in, it's exciting to qualify," Stopera said.
Stopera said having some so close last year, his goal is to win a national championship.
Stopera has been curling for eight years and is the son of world champion curler Bill Stopera. Andrew Stopera's grandfather is also a curler and he said he loves watching curling at the Olympics.
"I watch a lot of it," Stopera said. "You see some of the best competition."
In curling, he said teamwork is very important and that teammates must be on the same page to succeed.
"It's a big team effort," Stopera said. "We are helping each other out and always sweeping."
The 11th-grader, who attends Hackley High School in Tarrytown, regularly trains at the Ardsley Curling Club, often practicing for four days a week. He knows he has to be at the top of his game when he goes to nationals.
"It's not everyday you get to play those teams," Stopera said.
Curling experienced an increase in popularity in the wake of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. With the Winter Olympics weeks away, Stopera is looking forward to seeing the sport become popular again.
"So many people watch and realize how cool the sport is," Stopera said.
Stopera said his curling inspiration is his dad, who first taught him how to play the game when Stopera was seven.
"My dad has pretty much taught me everything I know about curling," Stopera said.
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