CURLING: Defending champions open with big win at 2008 U.S. Mixed

March 15, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 15, 2008 Defending champions open with big win at 2008 U.S. Mixed Championship (DETROIT) - Washington's Brady Clark rink has been a dominant force at the U.S. Mixed National Championship winning five titles in the last six years. Clark's team opened the 2008 U.S. Mixed National Championship Saturday night at the Detroit Curling Club with a big win in their quest for four straight titles. Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.) and teammates Cristin Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.), Darren Lehto (Snohomish, Wash.) and Bev Walter (Seattle) had the task of playing the hometown team in the opening draw of the tournament and dismantled David Loan's team, 11-2, in seven ends. Connecticut's Derek Surka, who along with wife, Charrissa Lin have played competitively with the Clarks at the Men's and Women's National Championships, picked up a win of their own as they teamed up with Sean Murray (Edgewood, Md.) and Rachel Sethi (Falls Church, Va.) to hand Arizona's Fred Maxie team a 7-5 loss. Connecticut stole a single in the fifth end to take their first lead of the game but found themselves down one point in the final end. Three points in the 10th, however, sealed the win for the East Coast team. North Dakota 2's Duane Symons rink played the first extra-end game of the competition as they rallied to defeat Minnesota's Peter Stolt team, 9-6. Symons (Langdon, N.D.) and teammates Val Nash (Devils Lake, N.D.), Chad Carlson (Fisher, Minn.) and Christine Mikulich (Eveleth, Minn.) tied the game at 6-6 with one point in the 10th end and then stole three points to get in the win column. Also starting out 1-0 was the Wisconsin team led by Ryan Lemke (Medford, Wis.). Wisconsin dealt Illinois an 8-4 defeat with solid offense. Supporting Lemke were teammates Jackie Lemke (Medford, Wis.), Kroy Nernberger (Medford, Wis.) and Becca Wood (Wausau, Wis.) who used the last-rock advantage to the fullest. Wisconsin scored a deuce in the second end and never trailed after. Another two points in the fourth end and a steal in the fifth built them a 5-2 lead at the halfway point. Three points by the Wisconsin team would seal the win after Douglass Boyd's Illinois team could only put one point on the scoreboard in the eighth. Alaska's Dennis Thies rink and North Dakota 1's Jerod Roland rink both had byes tonight and will see their first action tomorrow morning. The round robin continues Sunday with games at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times ET) . The semifinals for the event are set for 4 p.m. Friday followed by the gold-medal and bronze-medal games next Saturday afternoon. Live scoring from the event can be found at Game scores: Washington 11, Michigan 2; Wisconsin 8, Illinois 4; Connecticut 7, Arizona 5; North Dakota II 9, Minnesota 6 Standings: Connecticut 1-0 Washington 1-0 Wisconsin 1-0 North Dakota 2 1-0 Alaska 0-0 North Dakota 1 0-0 Arizona 0-1 Illinois 0-1 Michigan 0-1 Minnesota 0-1 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).