CURLING: USA keeps playoff hopes alive at 2008 World Wheelchair Championship

Feb. 06, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 6, 2008 USA keeps playoff hopes alive at 2008 World Wheelchair Championship (SURSEE, Switzerland) - The Americans are still hanging on in the playoff race at the 2008 World Wheelchair Championship. Augusto Perez (East Syracuse, N.Y.) and teammates James Pierce (North Syracuse, N.Y.), James Joseph (New Hartford, N.Y) and Jacqueline Kapinowski (Point Pleasant, N.J.) improved to 4-4 this morning with a 6-2 win over Russia's Andrey Smirnov. With the win, the Americans are tied for fifth place with Sweden. Korea and Canada have already secured semifinal berths. Italy (5-3) and Norway (5-3) just need to win this afternoon to secure their spots. The Americans need to defeat Switzerland and hope for a loss by either Italy or Norway to force at least one tiebreaker game. After a slow start in this morning's game when the U.S. gave up back-to-back steals, Perez led his team for six straight points to finish off the Russian team. Statistically, the Americans are ranked No. 3 with a 55 percent shooting average behind Korea (63 percent) and Canada (58 percent). Ironically, Norway, the defending champions, are second from last in shooting percentage but have still managed to post five wins. The U.S. is hoping to win its first-ever medal at a world wheelchair championship where the Americans have finished no better than fifth place since the inaugural event in 2002. Games at the world wheelchair curling championship are six ends in length and no sweeping of the stone is allowed. Teams must consist of both men and women in order to be eligible. Line score: Russia 110 000 2 USA* 002 211 6 *last stone in first end Standings: *Korea 7-1 *Canada 6-2 Italy 5-3 Norway 5-3 Sweden 4-4 USA 4-4 Switzerland 3-5 Japan 2-6 Russia 2-6 Scotland 2-6 *semifinalist 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).