CURLING: Men's playoff field set at curling's Club Nationals

March 06, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 6, 2008 Men's playoff field set at curling's Club Nationals (STEVENS POINT, Wis.)-Wisconsin 1, Illinois, Minnesota and North Dakota clinched semi-final berths at the Men's U.S. Club Nationals in Mankato, Minn. this afternoon. These four teams are two or more games ahead of the rest of the field with just one round robin game left. Semi-final pairings (10 a.m. Saturday) will be announced later today. North Dakota routed Maryland, 8-1 in five ends, on the strength of a 7-0 lead after three ends. The Williston Basin Curling Club team includes Rich Tangedal, Rory Wolter, Brent Overland and Karl Merk, all of Williston except Overland, who is from White Earth. Team Maryland represents the Potomac Curling Club in Laurel, and includes Scott Edie (of Middeltown, Md.), Michael Fry (Wheaton), Ron Aubin (Columbia) and Michael Campbell (Catonsville). Illinois turned the tables on Wisconsin 2, coming back from a 5-3 deficit after six ends. Tied after eight ends, Illinois stole three points in the ninth when Wisconsin's final draw was short, taking a three point lead into the tenth, which Wisconsin 2 could not overcome. Jeff Wright (Libertyville) of the Exmoor Curling Club, Highland Park, skips club mates Nils Johansson (Highland Park), and brothers Russ Brown (Lake Forest) and Ken Brown (Deerfield) and fifth Steve Waters (Evanston). Wisconsin 2, from the Poynette Curling Club, includes Ian Journeaux (Plover), Pete McCormick (Madison), Walter"Bill"Ehlert (Pardeeville), Randy Blanton (Rio) and Dave Carlson (Portage). Carlson left the team earlier in the week to compete at the World Senior Men's (50 and over) Championship in Finland. Minnesota qualified for the playoffs yesterday, so their game with Wisconsin 1 today was for bragging rights for them, but about clinching a semi-final berth for Wisconsin. In a hard fought game, Wisconsin stole three points in the first end and never let the St. Paul Curling Club rink, skipped by Reuben Harris, back into the game. Team Wisconsin, playing out the Madison Curling Club, includes Dave Brown (of Fitchberg), Richard Maskel (Green Bay), Kroy Nernberger (Madison), Kraig Deeren (Madison) and Wally Henry of Madison, who has replaced Deeren for several games while Deeren returned to Madison to handle important college course work. Harris (of St. Paul, Minn.) curls with Matthew Peterson (Plymouth), Aaron Nunberg (St. Paul), Zac Owens (Vadnais Heights) and Lionel Locke (St. Paul). Washington, seeming to get stronger as the week progresses, stretched a 6-5 lead by scoring four points in the seventh end to beat Oregon 12-7. The Seattle Granite Curling Club rink includes Doug Kauffman, John Rasmussen, William Rugen and Liam Barksdale. Team Oregon, from the Evergreen Curling Club of Portland, includes neighboring Vancouver, Wash., residents Doug Schaak, Jeff Tomlinson and Daniel Sorenson and Tristan Smith of Mountain View, California. The Evergreen Curlers represent the Mountain Pacific Curling Association, the newest member region of the U.S. Curling Association. MOPAC is a symbol of the great growth in curling since the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games. Ohio's Columbus Curling Club team, skipped by Stuart Cohen, beat Colorado's Broadmoor Curling Club entry Brett Gleeson, Brock Gleeson, Jim Hideman and Jeremy Hebert, all of Colorado Springs. Colorado is winless but not too disappointed, as they are first year curlers and getting better every game. Cohen's Ohio squad includes Jeremy Caron, Kevin Mechenbeir and Frank Mayer. They curl on arena ice in Columbus but are determined to find the money and other means to build dedicated curling ice, likely by using a mat system in a warehouse, ala the Denver club of 15 years ago."We love playing at this level and finding that we can respond in a positive way to the pressure,"said Cohen."The other players are fine competitors but more important, they are gracious, and are practitioners of the Spirit of Curling. When we lose on the strength of two raise doubles and other great shots, you've got to love it (the level of competition)."Cohen's team includes two Canadian transplants. Mayer, from Montreal, and his wife both got job transfers to the Columbus area; Caron from Chatham, Ontario, is an engineering student at Ohio State University. Mayer is pleased with the week."This is the best level I've played at, and all the competitors are great sportsmen."To qualify to represent the Great Lakes Curling Association, the Columbus team had to best four other GLCA teams from Michigan and Ohio. Round robin action continues tonight with a women's draw. Both genders conclude their round robin action Friday. Tiebreak games, now unlikely, would be held Friday afternoon. The semi-finals are slated for Saturday at 10 a.m. with the championship finals at 2 p.m. The U.S. Club Nationals, now in its fourth year, does not lead to the World Championships, rather rewards the top same-club league-playing team in the U.S. The winners of the recent U.S. National Championships in Hibbing represent the U.S. at the Worlds. Standings: Men: Wisconsin 1 (Brown) 7-1 Illinois (Wright) 6-2 Minnesota (Harris) 6-2 North Dakota (Tangedal) 6-2 Maryland (Edie) 4-4 Washington (Rasmussen) 4-4 Ohio (Cohen) 3-5 Oregon (Schaak) 3-5 Wisconsin 2 (Journeaux) 1-7 Colorado (Gleeson) 0-8 Women: Minnesota (O'Leary) 6-1 Illinois (Lawless) 5-2 Maryland (Drummie) 5-2 Wisconsin (Pahl) 5-2 New York (Meechai) 3-4 North Dakota 1 (Bohlman)3-4 North Dakota 2 (Jaster) 3-4 Arizona (Tait) 2-5 Texas (Willingham) 2-5 Ohio (Festersen) 1-6 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,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).