Ella Wendling on winning U.S. Youth Mixed Doubles Curling team

ella wendling mixed doubles web


Wausau West high school curler Ella Wendling and her teammate Benji Paral (Eau Claire) won the U.S. Youth Mixed Doubles Curling competition November 2-5, 2023 in Bemidji, Minnesota.

The win earned the pair a spot on Team USA at the 2024 Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon, South Korea, beginning January 19, 2024.

The two defeated Team Giroux-Podhradsky (St. Paul) in the final match after going 4-1 in round-robin play which involved 23 teams.

As reported by their coach, Jim Wendling, the finals were a back-and-forth battle with Wendling-Paral taking the early lead. Giroux-Podhradsky fought back and it came down to the final shot in the last end.  Down by one, Ella delivered a take-out to score four and seal the victory, 9-6.

In South Korea, the team will be playing at the same venue where  U.S. Team Shuster won the Olympic gold medal in 2018 and Team Thiesse-Dropkin won the 2023 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.

“The trials were such a fun and well-run event with great competition throughout the whole week,” said Ella.  “It’s very exciting to have the chance to represent the United States and experience this amazing opportunity.”

Coach Wendling was impressed with the focus and composure of both curlers in such a high-pressure situation, noting “Their trust in each other and joy for the game of curling allowed them to have the success they did,” he said.

Ella is the second in the Wendling family to achieve international curling status.  A team skipped by her brother, Wes, won the U.S. Junior Championships last spring.  He will competing at the World Junior B championships in Finland in December with the chance to return to Finland for the Junior Championships later in the year.

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