2010 US Olympic Team Trials begin Saturday in ColoradoBROOMFIELD, Colo. - Ten days from now the first members of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be nominated to the United States Olympic Committee as the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for curling kick off Saturday at the Broomfield Event Center.
Ten men's and 10 women's teams are competing to wear Team USA on their backs at the 2010 Olympic Games in the weeklong competition. The winning teams also will represent the U.S. at the upcoming 2009 World Curling Championships.
Several former Olympians highlight the field including 2006 Olympians Cassie (Johnson) Potter (Minneapolis) and sister Jamie (Johnson) Haskell (White Bear Lake, Minn.) of Team Potter; 2002 and 1998 Olympian Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.), skip of Team McCormick; 1988 and 1998 Olympian Erika Brown (Oakville, Ontario), skip of Team Brown; 2006 Olympians Jessica Schultz and Maureen Brunt (both of Minneapolis), members of Team Sormunen; and 2002 Olympian Ann Swisshelm (Chicago), who plays second for Team Lank.
On the men's side, 2002 Olympian John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) is skipping his own team this time around. "I don't feel too much pressure," said Shuster, who won bronze at the 2006 Olympic Games as lead for Team Fenson. "I am skipping a team with a great group of guys. This is a chance to represent our country." Two of his former Olympic teammates will be in Broomfield as well. Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) was added as a fifth/alternate to Team Greg Romaniuk while Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) was added in the same role to Team Mike Farbelow.
McCormick's team and Craig Brown's rink are the defending champions, both from the Madison (Wis.) Curling Club. They return with the same teams intact to try to make a run at the title again. McCormick and teammates Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.) have won the past three national titles.
"We keep with our process as we always do. This is not a marathon, it is a race...it is one rock, one end, one game at a time," McCormick said. "This is a huge honor to be part of the Olympic Trials."
The youngest team in the field, led by 21-year-old Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.) arrives in Broomfield fresh off of winning the 2009 U.S. Junior Nationals last weekend in North Dakota. Plys and his 2008 world junior gold medal-winning teammates Aanders Brorson (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Perushek (Eveleth, Minn.) and Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) come in ranked No. 7 in the peer-seeding and are looking to shake things up a bit in their first Olympic Trials appearance.
"I am going into this looking forward into the future," Plys said. "We are not discounting what we can do, but will use this experience as a stepping stone."
The action kicks off Saturday with the opening ceremony at 2:15 p.m. The first round of action gets underway at 4 p.m. with women's competition followed by the first men's draw at 8 p.m. The Broomstacker Lounge opens at 6 p.m., featuring Nashville bluegrass artists Chris Jones and the Night Drivers with Sally Jones.
Live scoring from the event will be available at www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks in the scoreboard.
Here's a look at the competing teams for the 2010 Olympic Team Trials for Curling:
* Gillian Gervais rink: Gillian Gervais (Bismarck, N.D.), Sarah Lehman (Bemidji, Minn.), Stephanie Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.), Sarah Felchle (Bismarck, N.D.)
* Cassie Potter rink: Cassie Potter (Minneapolis), Jamie Haskell (White Bear Lake, Minn.), Laura Roessler (Trempealeau, Wis.), Jackie Lemke (Medford, Wis.)
* Debbie McCormick rink: Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.), Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.), Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.), Tracy Sachtjen (Lodi, Wis.)
* Erika Brown rink: Erika Brown (Oakville, Ontario), Nina Spatola (McFarland, Wis.), Nina Reiniger (New York City), Laura Hallisey (Medfield, Mass.)
* Patti Lank rink: Patti Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.), Caitlin Maroldo (Rochester, N.Y.), Ann Swisshelm (Chicago), Chrissy Haase (Schenectady, N.Y.)
* Charrissa Lin rink: Charrissa Lin (New Haven, Conn.), Tanya Jacobsen (Silver Spring, Md.), Karen Walker (Enfield, Conn.), Nicole Vassar (Framingham, Mass.)
* Cristin Clark rink: Cristin Clark, Sharon Vukich, Emily Good, Katy Sharpe (all of the Seattle area)
* Norma O'Leary rink: Norma O'Leary (Silver Bay, Minn.), Margie Smith (Shoreview, Minn.), Becky Johansen (Two Harbors, Minn.), Theresa Hoffoss (Minneapolis)
* Amy Wright rink: Amy Wright (Duluth, Minn.), Courtney George (Duluth, Minn.), Jordan Moulton (Highland Park, Ill.), Patti Luke (Duluth, Minn.)
* Aileen Sormunen rink: Aileen Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.), Molly Bonner (Virginia, Minn.), Jessica Schultz (Minneapolis), Maureen Brunt (Minneapolis), Sophie Brorson (Duluth, Minn.)
* Chris Plys rink: Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Aanders Brorson (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Perushek (Eveleth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Phill Drobnick (Duluth, Minn.)
* Tyler George rink: Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.), Kris Perkovich (Chisholm, Minn.), Mark Haluptzok (Bemidji, Minn.), Kevin Johnson (Winebago, Minn.), Colin Hufman (Seattle)
* Kevin Deeren rink: Kevin Deeren (Chicago), Kraig Deeren (Waunakee, Wis.), Joey Bonfoey (Lac du Flambeau, Wis.), Richard Maskel (Green Bay, Wis.)
* Mike Farbelow rink: Mike Farbelow (Minneapolis), Nick Myers (St. Paul, Minn.), Tim Solin (Mahtomedi, Minn.), Tim Gartner (Eagan, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.)
* Todd Birr rink: Todd Birr (Mankato, Minn.), Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, Minn.), Greg Wilson (Vernon Hills, Ill.), Kevin Birr (St. Peter, Minn.)
* John Shuster rink: John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.), Jason Smith (Cape Coral, Fla.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.), Ryan Lemke (Medford, Wis.)
* Mark Johnson rink: Mark Johnson (Edmonton, Alberta), Wes Johnson (Seattle), Brady Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.), Ken Trask (Seattle), Derrick McLean (Bothell, Wash.)
* Craig Disher rink: Craig Disher (Rolla, N.D.), Kevin Kakela (Rolla, N.D.), Zach Jacobson (Langdon, N.D.), Carey Kakela (St. John, N.D.), Kurt Disher (Rolla, N.D.)
* Craig Brown rink: Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.), Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), John Dunlop (Milwaukee, Wis.), Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.), Jon Brunt (Portage, Wis.)
* Greg Romaniuk rink: Greg Romaniuk (Snohomish, Wash.), Doug Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Leon Romaniuk (Redmond, Wash.), Troy Schroeder (St. Paul, Minn.), Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)
USA Curling is sponsored by Kodiak Technology Group, AIT Worldwide Logistics and Nike.