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Published February 14 2011

Pregnancy doesn’t slow Wagner

Fargo resident Michelle Wagner is undoubtedly a dedicated athlete, but even she’ll agree: Curling isn’t necessarily her first priority right now.

Spectators at Scheels Arena this week probably wouldn’t notice it by looking at her, but the 27-year-old curler is eight months pregnant.

Wagner is due to have her first child, a boy, in late March.

But being pregnant isn’t stopping Wagner from competing with Team Reiser in the USA Curling National Championships.

“I’ve been curling throughout the whole pregnancy,” she said. “Every time that I go out there, I just have to make small, little adjustments.”

Wagner acknowledged the pregnancy can make the sport a little more challenging for her, but “it hasn’t been too bad.”

“Sweeping is a little harder; my back gets a little more sore than usual,” she said. “Luckily, my teammates are really supportive.”

Team Reiser is comprised of Wagner; Nicole Reiser of Mandan; Gabrielle Coleman of Mountain View, Calif.; Ann Drummie of Washington, D.C.; and Charrissa Lin, of New Haven, Conn.

Wagner said her teammates help her by carrying her rocks or her bag, when necessary.

Wagner considered whether to give up curling while pregnant, but her dedication and love of the game keep her on the ice – at least for now.

“It crossed my mind, and it’s still that way,” Wagner said. “If something goes wrong, or if I’m not feeling well, we’re prepared, we’ve got back-up plans.”

“It’s great to be out here, but also, he’s my priority,” Wagner said referencing her unborn son.

The effect Wagner’s condition has on the team’s play remains debatable.

“Today, I don’t think I was playing as well as I did yesterday, and I don’t know if that has anything to do with the pregnancy or just an off day,” Wagner said, adding jokingly: “I’d hate to blame it on an unborn child.”

Wagner’s pregnancy certainly didn’t seem to affect Team Reiser’s performance Sunday afternoon.

The women defeated the No. 1-seeded Team Brown, 7-4.

After three draws, Team Reiser is 1-2.

Team Reiser has six draws left in the tournament, with the goal of placing among the top four women’s teams, Wagner said.

While Wagner can continue participating in the National Championship, her pregnancy will force her to miss out on the world championship, if her team qualifies.

“Our fifth would have to go instead,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541