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February 23, 2008 Brown captures first national title in eight years at 2008 USA Curling National Championships (HIBBING, Minn.) - Craig Brown's eight-year drought at the world championships came to an end Saturday afternoon as the Wisconsin skipper led his team to a 9-6 win over Craig Disher's team at the 2008 USA Curling National Championships at the Hibbing Curling Club. "It hasn't really sunk in ... and I keep asking myself 'Did this really happen''" Ruohonen said. "To get to your first final four and then to win it all is just unreal." Brown (Madison, Wis.) and teammates Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), John Dunlop (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.) will represent the U.S. at the 2008 World Men's Curling Championship April 4-13 in Grand Forks, N.D. "It's going to be great playing in Grand Forks. I imagine there'll be a lot of U.S. fans there," Ruohonen said. Disher (Rolla, N.D.) and teammates Kevin Kakela (Rolla, N.D.), Zach Jacobson (Langdon, N.D.) and Carey Kakela (St. John, N.D.) had to settle for silver for the third year in a row. Nightmares from last year's gold medal game when Disher's team experienced two crucial rock picks reared its ugly head once again in the second end as Disher attempted to draw for two points but had his final stone pick up some debris off the ice. Brown's team turned the third end in their favor with a double takeout to allow Brown to make a hit for two with his last stone to take the lead. Disher's takeout attempt in the third end went awry and rolled another Brown stone into scoring position to give up a steal of two. The North Dakota men bounced back with a takeout of Brown's stone half buried behind a guard to pick up a deuce in the fifth. Brown made a crucial runback double takeout in the seventh end that spun his shooter back towards the button. Disher followed down with a takeout but rolled his shooter just a bit further than Brown's other stone in the side of the 12 foot and just got one point. Disher grabbed a deuce in the ninth end with a draw to the four-foot but Brown's team kept the house clean in the 10th to punch their tickets to Grand Forks. Disher attempted to split in a guard a few inches off the house but left Brown with an open takeout for the win. "All it took was some good Wisconsin boys," Annis said jokingly. Longtime teammates Ruohonen and Annis teamed up this year with Brown and Dunlop, who won the title together back in 2000. Line score: Disher* 010 020 102 0 6
Brown 002 201 030 1 9 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).