FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — A Fairview High School senior will be representing the USA on the world stage next month in the sport of curling.
Kaitlin Murphy, 17, is one of four teenagers on the United States curling team who will be participating in the World Youth Olympic Winter Games in Switzerland.
Murphy has been curling for eight years.
She got into the sport after her mother watched the curling event in the Winter Olympics.
"She got super interested and my parents started playing, and as soon as they started, I started as well," Murphy said.
Murphy said that while she was at an event, a peer named Charlie Thompson from Wisconsin approached her about making a team and attempting to qualify for the Youth Olympics.
She trained all summer in Minnesota with Thompson and her two teammates from Boston, before winning the trials this fall.
Murphy said curling is unique compared to other sports.
“This sport is really not like anything else. There is a lot of strategy to it, and (that's) a big part of it that most people don’t understand. Most sports people play are physical, but with curling you need to know the strategy and what shot you’re going to call, otherwise there’s no chance of making the shot. That’s what I think is the most interesting thing," Murphy said.
Murphy said she is very excited to represent her country in the Youth Games and hopes to make it to the big stage one day.
“I think this is definitely a stepping stone and I would love to do more international curling after this, and obviously the Olympics is the true goal, so if I could get there one day I would be ecstatic," Murphy said.
Murphy said the support of the community means everything and that she hopes the sport will grow.
“I love to see people come out, especially kids. The more that the junior programs grow, the better," Murphy said.
Twenty-four countries will be competing in the games, concluding with a playoff involving the top eight teams. The teams that qualify for the playoffs will then be split up with either a boy or girl from another country to form 48 teams for a mixed-doubles tournament to follow.
Murphy's entire family will be flying to Switzerland to cheer her on. This is her first time leaving the country.
The World Youth Olympic Games take place from Jan. 10-22.