Team USA Weekend Preview: Nov. 15, 2013

By Paul D. Bowker | Nov. 15, 2013, 1 p.m. (ET)
Curler Erika Brown poses for a portrait during the NBC Olympics/U.S. Olympic Committee promotional shoot on April 26, 2013 in West Hollywood, Calif. 

Four women will be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Sochi, Russia, in February by the time the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling wrap up this weekend, and four men will move on to the Olympic Qualification Event in hopes of securing a spot of their own. Olympic hopefuls also will be competing this weekend in alpine skiing, figure skating, long track and short track speedskating, luge and bobsled and skeleton. Check out the Team USA Weekend Preview for all of the details.

CURLING

2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling, Nov. 10-17, Fargo, N.D.

A nomination for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is at stake when the women’s playoffs at the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling take place this weekend in Fargo, N.D. The playoff round begins Friday, continues Saturday and, if needed in the best-of-three format, would conclude Sunday.

An experienced group of Olympians will be showcased for the women's playoffs as teams skipped by Erika Brown and Allison Pottinger are set to face off Friday afternoon.

“We had a couple of tough, close losses, which were frustrating, but we have short memories. We try to put those aside and focus on the next one and this one was a big one for us,” said Brown, who was a member of the 1998 Olympic team and is the reigning national champion. “Everyone played really well today. They made a lot of great shots.”

Pottinger's rink clinched their spot Wednesday night and when Brown and teammates Debbie McCormick, Jessica Schultz and Ann Swisshelm defeated Pottinger, 5-4, Thursday at Scheels Arena, they secured the final women's playoff berth at the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

“We tried to make it a two-step process this week,” said Pottinger, who was a member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic team. “One was qualify and make sure we were in that final three and now we're in there so it's kind of like reset and start all over ... so we're pretty excited.”

The two teams now will compete in a best two-out-of-three playoff format beginning Friday afternoon.

In the men's division, Pete Fenson’s team will play John Shuster’s rink in the best two-out-of-three playoff.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Saturday, noon Sunday, NBC Sports Network

SKIING

FIS Alpine World Cup, Nov. 16-17, Levi, Finland

Mikaela Shiffrin, the defending world champion and world cup champion in women’s slalom, begins the 2013-14 slalom season Saturday at the FIS World Cup in Levi, Finland. She is coming off a 2012-13 season in which she won four world cup slaloms and medaled in six. At the opening world cup event in Soelden, Austria, she finished a career-high sixth in the women’s giant slalom.

Ted Ligety will chase after a medal finish in the men’s slalom Sunday. He won a gold medal in giant slalom in Soelden.

Other U.S. skiers in the men’s competition will be Nolan Kasper, David Chodounsky, Will Brandenburg and Colby Granstrom. Resi Stiegler and Paula Moltzan will join Shiffrin in the women’s slalom.

Levi is north of the Arctic Circle and skiing will happen under the lights since the days are so short this time of year.

TV: 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday (women’s event) and Sunday (men’s event), Universal Sports

FIGURE SKATING

Trophée Eric Bompard, Nov. 15-16, Paris

Two-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner is among six U.S. skaters competing in the Trophée Eric Bompard, the fifth event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. Wagner won this event last year and earned a silver medal earlier this season at the Hilton HHonors Skate America.

Other U.S. skaters are Christina Gao and Samantha Cesario in the women’s competition, Jason Brown in the men’s competition, and Caydee Denney and John Coughlin in pairs. 2013 U.S. silver medalist Ross Miner withdrew earlier this week due to a right ankle sprain. The United States does not have an ice dancing team entered in this event.

The United States this season has totaled 10 ISU Grand Prix medals, including two gold medals.

TV: 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 8 p.m.-10 p.m. ET Friday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Universal Sports; 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, NBC

Webcast: 9:30 a.m. ET Friday and 8:10 a.m. Saturday, icenetwork.com

SPEEDSKATING

ISU Long Track World Cup, Nov. 15-17, Kearns, Utah

Tucker Fredricks, who won a gold medal at 500 meters last week, and Shani Davis, who won the men’s 1,000, will be out for more medals on their home track this week in Kearns, Utah. The second ISU Long Track World Cup of the season begins Friday at the Utah Olympic Oval.

Fredricks, who is attempting to land a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for the third time, defeated 2010 Olympic champion Mo Tae-Bum of South Korea last week in Calgary, Alberta. Davis, a three-time Olympian, added a bronze medal in the 1,500. Also seeking a podium finish for the second straight week will be 2010 Olympian Heather Richardson, who won the women’s 1,000-meter race last week.

TV: 4 p.m.-7 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports

Webcast: icenetwork.com, universalsports.com

Samsung ISU Short Track World Cup, Nov. 14-17, Kolomna, Russia

The fourth ISU Short Track World Cup event of the season will go through Kolomna, Russia Sunday. And for the second consecutive week, Olympic quota spots will be at stake for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

John-Henry Krueger earned a silver medal in the men’s 1,500 last week in Italy. Other top U.S. skaters include J.R. Celski, Eddy Alvarez, Chris Creveling, Alyson Dudek and Jessica Smith.

Webcast: icenetwork.com, universalsports.com

LUGE

World Cup, Nov. 15-17, Lillehammer, Norway

Julia Clukey, a 2010 Olympian, and two-time Olympian Erin Hamlin will be among 16 U.S. athletes at the world cup luge opener this weekend in Lillehammer, Norway. The competition is the first of five world cups events that will determine the composition of the U.S. Olympic Luge Team for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The team will be nominated Dec. 14 in Park City, Utah.

“I’m ready to buckle down and get into the race week,” Clukey said. “I’m excited to see where I stand after working hard all summer and training this fall, and building momentum as the winter goes along.”

Chris Mazdzer, who placed sixth at the 2013 FIL World Championships, leads a men’s singles contingent that also includes Taylor Morris, Tucker West, Joe Mortensen and Aidan Kelly. Preston Griffall, a 2006 Olympian, will join Matt Mortensen in men’s doubles. Other doubles teams include two-time Olympian Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman, and Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk.

BOBSLED/SKELETON

North American Cup, Nov. 14-17, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Bree Schaaf, a 2010 Olympian, and U.S. national team men’s bobsled pilots Nick Cunningham and Cory Butner, will be among the U.S. athletes competing in the first North American Cup event of the season. Cunningham and Butner are preparing for the upcoming world cup series.

Competition includes men’s and women’s skeleton Thursday and Friday, and bobsled races all four days through Sunday. The U.S. team includes eight skeleton athletes and eight bobsled teams.

SWIMMING

Arena Grand Prix, Nov. 14-16, Minneapolis

Olympic gold medalists Conor Dwyer, Jessica Hardy and Matt McLean are expected to compete in the Arena Grand Prix meet this week in Minneapolis. The event is the first of the six-stop series.

Also competing at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center will be David Plummer, a former University of Minnesota swimmer. Plummer earned a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke at the 2013 FINA World Championships.

One race to watch is the 50 free featuring Megan Romano and Hardy; another is the men’s 200 featuring France’s Yannick Agnel (now training in Baltimore with Bob Bowman, who guided Michael Phelps in his storied career) and Agnel’s training partner, Tom Luchsinger. This meet will feature another Bowman swimmer in Allison Schmitt, an Olympic gold medalist who will be swimming in Minneapolis this weekend.

VOLLEYBALL

FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup, Nov. 12-17, Tokyo

The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will finish up play in the season-ending FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup when it faces Thailand on Saturday and Dominican Republic on Sunday in Tokyo.

The United States, which is ranked No. 2 in the world, split its first two games in the tournament. It lost to top-ranked Brazil in the tournament opener Tuesday and defeated host Japan, 25-19, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21, Wednesday. Jordan Larson-Burbach had 20 points on 18 kills and two blocks in the win over Japan.

The tournament features a round-robin format among the top teams from each continent.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Hilton HHonors Beach Volleyball Challenge, Nov. 15-17, Honolulu

Two-time Olympians Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal will represent the United States in the men’s side of the Hilton HHonors Beach Volleyball Tournament, and Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross will be in the women’s tournament.

The tournament features beach players from the United States, Canada and China. The event will be held at the Waikiki Beach Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu. Dalhausser won the men’s tournament last year in the last time that he and former partner Todd Rogers played together. Ross and former partner Jennifer Kessy won the 2012 women’s tournament. Walsh Jennings, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, became Ross’ new partner this year.

SOCCER

U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Scotland, Nov. 15, Glasgow, Scotland

The U.S. Men’s National Team, which has already set a national team record by winning 16 games in 2013, will face Scotland in an international friendly Friday at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

The roster includes goalkeeper Tim Howard, who has 33 career shutouts; Jozy Altidore, who set a team record by scoring in five consecutive games earlier this year, and Michael Bradley, who is returning from an ankle sprain. Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Fabian Johnson will not play due to injuries.

The United States will also play Austria on Tuesday in Vienna, Austria.

TV: 3 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN2

WRESTLING

USA vs. Russia, men’s freestyle dual meets, Nov. 16-17, Clifton Park and Ithaca, N.Y.

A pair of United States versus Russia men’s freestyle dual competitions will be held Saturday and Sunday, featuring U.S. Olympian Sam Hazewinkel, 2013 World Team member Keith Gavin and several past NCAA champions. The dual meet Saturday will be held at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, N.Y., followed by the dual meet Sunday at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Hazewinkel will wrestle at 55 kg. in Saturday’s dual against Russia’s Omak Syuryun, champion of the 2013 Olympia Tournament. The U.S. team in Clifton Park also includes Gavin, 84 kg. pounds; 2011 World Team member Nick Simmons, 60 kg.; and 2013 Cadet World champion Aaron Pico, 66 kg.  The U.S. team Sunday at Cornell includes three former Cornell stars: four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake, 74 kg.; NCAA champion Cam Simaz, 96 kg.; and All-American Frank Perrelli, 55 kg. Dake will battle Russia’s Boris Makoev.

Prior to the men’s dual Saturday, a pair of women’s freestyle matches will be held. Alexis Porter, a member of the varsity wrestling team at Shenendehowa High School, will face Canada’s Keegin Collie in a 65 kg. match. Porter was the 2012 Cadet Nationals champion. Jenna Burkert of Rockey Point, N.Y., will battle Canada’s Michelle Fazzari in a senior-level 59 kg. match. Burkert is a three-time U.S. Junior World Team member and a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Webcast: 2:45 p.m. ET Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, Flowrestling

TRACK & FIELD

U.S. National Road Racing Championships, Nov. 17, Alexandria, Va.

Matt Tegenkamp, a two-time Olympian, holds an eight-point lead in the USA Running Circuit standings entering Sunday’s 10th and final stop of the season. The U.S. National Road Racing Championships will include seven of the top eight runners in the men’s standings.

Tegenkamp won the USA 10km and 20km championships. Among those challenging him Sunday are U.S. marathon champion Nick Arciniaga, and 2012 USARC co-champions Christopher Landry and Aaron Braun. The women’s field includes 2012 Olympians Janet Bawcom, Molly Huddle and Shalane Flanagan. Bawcom is the defending USARC champion and Huddle won the USA 5-kilometer championships in September.

Webcast: 7 a.m. ET Sunday, USATF.tv

SAILING

ISAF Laser World Championships, Nov. 17-23, Al Mussanah Sports City, Oman

Of the 50 top ranked Laser sailors in the world, 46 of them will be on the start line at Mussanah Sports City in Oman, the world-class sailing facility purpose built to Olympic standards, which is hosting its first ever sailing world championships. The 39th edition of the Laser World Championships is one of the largest dinghy sailing sporting events and the first sailing world championships ever held in the Sultanate of Oman.

BOWLING

QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, Nov. 17-23, Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Danielle McEwan and John Szczerbinski will represent the United States at the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup, which begins Sunday in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. McEwan returns to the World Cup after rolling a 300 game last year and finishing fourth — just one spot out of the stepladder final round.

Bowlers from more than 80 countries will compete in four days of qualifying rounds. The field is then cut to the top 24 men and top 24 women. Eight additional games determine the top eight for round-robin match play. The top three advance to the finals.

JUDO

Oceania Open, Nov. 15-16, Apia, Samoa

Five athletes will represent the United States at the IJF Oceania Open in Samoa: Nick Kossor, 60 kg.;  Brad Bolen, 66 kg., Alex Turner, 73 kg.; Ajax Tadehara, 100 kg.; Leilani Akiyama, 63 kg. The competition begins Friday.

CYCLING

UCI Jingle Cross Rock-Rock, USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross Calendar (Pro CX), Nov. 15-17, Iowa City, Iowa

Jeremy Powers and Elle Anderson are the men’s and women’s points leaders, respectively, entering this week’s UCI Carousel Volkswagen Jingle Cross Rock-Rock tripleheader of Cyclo-cross races in Iowa City, Iowa. The 10th annual event over three days includes a UCI 1 race on Sunday, which offers triple points.

RUGBY

USA Men’s Eagles vs. Georgia, Nov. 16, Tbilisi, Georgia

The USA Men’s Eagles national team will face Georgia Saturday in Tbilisi, Georgia. The Eagles lost to the New Zealand Maori All Blacks last week in a game played in Philadelphia.

GYMNASTICS

World Trampoline and Tumbling Age Group Competition, Nov. 14-17, Sofia, Bulgaria

Age-group world champions will be decided in individual and synchronized trampoline, double mini-trampoline and tumbling at the World Trampoline and Tumbling Age Group Competition in Sofia, Bulgaria. The competition is for gymnasts ages 11 to 18. U.S. gymnasts in the 17-18 category include Mitchell Dewey, Jerrett Jensen, Noah Orr, Stewart Pritchard, Joshua Coles, Trevor Jackson, Alexander Katchalov, Tyler Waller, Garret Waterstradt and Cheyenne Kelley.

FENCING

Junior World Cup, Men’s and Women’s Epée and Foil, Nov. 16-17, Bratislava, Slovakia

Junior World Cup competition in men’s and women’s epée and foil will be held Saturday and Sunday in Bratislava, Slovakia. It marks the beginning of the Junior World Cup season.

Also in fencing:

Junior World Cup, Men’s and Women’s Saber, Nov. 16, Sosnowiec, Poland

EQUESTRIAN

USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final, Nov. 16, Kansas City, Mo.

The top 17-and-under premier saddle seat equitation riders of the nation will compete Saturday in the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final. The competition includes preliminary rail work, prelim workout, final rail work and final workout. It will be held as a part of the United Professional Horsemen’s Association’s American Royal National Championship in Kansas City, Mo.

WATER SKI

IWWF World Championships, Nov. 16-Dec. 1, San Bernardo, Chile

Five American water skiers for the 33rd Water Ski World Championships in San Bernardo, Chile, from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1. Scot Ellis, Regina Jaquess, Erika Lang, Alex Lauretano, Adam Pickos and Nate Smith as the primary competitors for the USA Water Ski team. That group was selected based on their success at the 2013 U.S. Elite Water Ski Team Trials in October in Groveland. The United States has won 25 world team gold medals, but finished third in 2011 behind Belarus and France. The race is a biennial event.

Earlier this week, the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation's Tournament Council approved Lang's women's world tricks record of 10,180 points. Lang, of Gilbert, Ariz., set the record on Oct. 12 at the Imperial Lakes Skiers Choice Record in El Centro, Calif. The score eclipses the record of 10,040 points held by France's Clementine Lucine, which was set at the Alexis Pickos Open in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., on Sept. 18, 2011.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for teamusa.org.

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