CURLING: 2006 champion leads team to fourth straight win at 2008 USA Curling Junior Nationals

Feb. 05, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 5, 2008 Wisconsin 1 women win fourth straight at 2008 Junior Nationals (PORTAGE, Wis.) - Wisconsin's Nina Spatola knows what it takes to win and showed her toughness with a 10-7 win over Katherine Stewart's Illinois rink Tuesday morning at the 2008 USA Curling Junior National Championships in Portage, Wis. The 2006 U.S. junior national champion led her Wisconsin 1 team of Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Anna Plys (Duluth, Minn.) and Jenna Haag (Milton, Wis.) to their fourth straight win to remain tied for first place with Alex Carlson's Minnesota 1 team. Wisconsin 1 got on the scoreboard in the second end with four points but Stewart (Chicago) and teammates Amanda McLean (Duluth, Minn.), Kendall Moulton (Lake Forest, Ill.) and Kaitlin Kovach (Lake Forest, Ill.) battled back with two in the third end and a steal in the fourth to tie the game at 4-4. Spatola's team would score two more points over the next two ends only to have Stewart tie the game once again. But deuces in the eighth and 10th ends would put the game away for Wisconsin 1. With the loss, Illinois falls to 1-3. New York's Brandon Corbett team racked up another win - this time against Washington's Matt Thomas rink, 8-7. Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.) and teammates Chris Bond (Henrietta, N.Y.), Derek Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.) and Kell Orlando (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) needed three points to win and got just that in the 10th end to hand Washington its second loss of the round robin. North Dakota's Erik Jensen team improved to 4-1 with a big win over Matt Birklid's Alaska team, 10-2. Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.) and teammates Marcus Tucker (St. Thomas, N.D.), Connor Gervais (Amarillo, Texas) and Brock Walker (Bismarck, N.D.) have seemingly flown under the radar so far and sit comfortably in a tie for second place with Brad Caldwell's Wisconsin team, which posted a 9-1 win over Richard Smith's Michigan team this morning. Caldwell (Mapleton, Minn.) broke the game open with a five-ender in the sixth end against Michigan's winless team. The round robin continues through Friday morning followed by the Page System playoffs in the evening. In the playoffs, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will face off with the winner advancing to the championship final and the losing team playing the winner of the No. 3 v. No. 4 game in a semifinal. The championship finals are set for 1 p.m. Saturday. The winning teams from the 2008 Junior Nationals will represent the U.S. at the 2008 World Junior Championships March 1-9 in Ostersund, Sweden. Standings: Women: Minnesota 1 (Carlson) 4-0 Wisconsin 1 (Spatola) 4-0 Alaska (Hufman) 3-1 Massachusetts (Walker) 3-1 Minnesota 2 (Solem) 2-2 Illinois (Stewart) 1-3 North Dakota (Tucker) 1-3 Utah (Schieber) 1-3 Pennsylvania (Anderson) 1-3 Wisconsin 2 (Schaffer) 0-4 Men: Minnesota 1 (Plys) 4-0 North Dakota (Jensen) 4-1 Wisconsin (Caldwell) 4-1 Massachusetts (Dropkin) 3-1 New York (Corbett) 3-2 Washington (Thomas) 3-2 Minnesota 2 (Wald) 2-2 Illinois (Rahn) 0-4 Michigan (Smith) 0-5 Alaska (Birklid) 0-5 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T, General Motors, The Home Depot, and Bank of America through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).