CURLING: Women's semifinals field set at curling's Club Nationals

March 07, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 6, 2008 Women's semifinals field set at curling's Club Nationals (STEVENS POINT, Wis.)-Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland and Wisconsin clinched semi-final berths at the Women's U.S. Club Nationals in Mankato, Minn. this evening, all in eight ends or less (10 ends is a full game). 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 after the last round robin draws on Friday. Norma O'Leary's Team Minnesota fell behind 3-2 after two ends, then scored in five straight ends to defeat North Dakota 1 9-4. O'Leary (of Silver Bay) curls with Pam Cavers, Mary Johnson and Patti Luke (all of Duluth). North Dakota 1 are from the Grand Forks Curling Club, led and skip Beth Bohlman, and club mates Susan Stern, Amy Bushaw, Nancy Rentfrow and Cindy Samson. The Grand Forks team nearly turned the game around in the 5th end, when Bohlman's difficult eight foot raise takeout actually struck and moved Minnesota's rock from the four foot to the outer edge of the eight foot. Had it moved another foot, North Dakota would have scored four and been four points up instead of one down. Illinois continued its sharp play, beating Ohio, 14-3. The Exmoor Curling Club team members are Tracy Lawless, Amy Brown, Leslie Earls and Deborah Moulton. Team Ohio, of the Mayfield Curling Club in South Euclid, is led by skip Else Festersen, with Debra Horn, Mary Jane Maisonville and Laura Maurer. Team Ohio, which fell to a 1-7 record, remains enthusiastic about their performance and their experience this week."I've curled since the mid-1980s,"said Festersen (who qualified for USCA Junior Nationals from 1987 to 1993),"but my teammates have 12 years experience between the three. We may not be playing up to our hopes for the week, but we've had one game where we played great. The week is grueling. Even the best teams here have trouble playing at their top level every game."Lead Maurer has only curled for two years,"But she's the one who got this team together,"said vice-skip Horn."Laura won the Great Lakes region 5-year and under event. For all of us, we value the learning experience."Skip Festersen misses her home club, Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha, which closed down its facility a few years ago after 40 years of operation."My new club, Mayfield, is a great group, and the facility has very good ice. It's very fast but a bit straight."Maryland suffered a steal of two in the first end, but did not allow Texas to score again in a 10-2 victory that finished in six ends. Team Maryland, from the Potomac Curling Club in Laurel, includes members Ann Drummie, Joan Twigg, Rachel Treesh and Rachel Bayerle. Texas' Dallas/Fort Worth Curling Club rink include Judy Willingham, Linda Murphy, Kathleen Harlow, Valerie McHugh and Marcie Alsobrooks. Wisconsin's Green Bay Curling Club team, skipped by Joy Pahl, rebounded from a loss yesterday to ensure its spot in the playoffs by beating New York, 11-2. New York started the week strong and contended for a playoff berth, but faded a bit in the last two days and is now 3-5. Joyance Meechai skips New York's Ardsley Curling Club team. Arizona started with a deuce, but North Dakota 2, Mary Jaster's Grafton Curling Club team, reacted by dropping two four ends on the Scottsdale Coyotes curlers, winning 12-4 and dousing thoughts of a second straight upset by Karen Tait and company. Round robin action concludes Friday with one draw for each gender. There will be no tiebreak games. 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: (Q = semi-finals qualifier) Women: Minnesota (O'Leary) 7-1Q Illinois (Lawless) 6-2Q Maryland (Drummie) 6-2Q Wisconsin (Pahl) 6-2Q North Dakota 2 (Jaster) 4-4 New York (Meechai) 3-5 North Dakota 1 (Bohlman)3-5 Arizona (Tait) 2-6 Texas (Willingham) 2-6 Ohio (Festersen) 1-7 Men: Wisconsin 1 (Brown) 7-1Q Illinois (Wright) 6-2Q Minnesota (Harris) 6-2Q North Dakota (Tangedal) 6-2Q 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 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).