Challenge Round to award final berths to 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Twelve teams are in, eight are still chasing their dreams. The final berths to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling will be determined Jan. 28 - Feb. 1 at the Challenge Round.
The men's field is loaded with talent featuring former national champions and Olympians making it almost like a mini national championship to be held at the four-sheet Capital Curling Club in Bismarck, N.D. Ten teams are lined up to compete in a round robin format to determine the final four teams to compete at the 2010 Olympic Team Trials next month in Broomfield, Colo.
Still in the hunt are teams skipped by 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.); reigning national champion Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.); former national champion and national runner-up the past three seasons Craig Disher (Rolla, N.D.); 2004 U.S. champion Jason Larway (Lynnwood, Wash.); 2006 Olympic bronze medalist John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.); last year's national semifinalist Greg Romaniuk (Snohomish, Wash.); former Nationals participant Bryan Wight (Canandaigua, N.Y.); and newcomers to the Nationals qualifying scene - Matt Hames (Buffalo, N.Y.), Dan Lilla (Galesville, Wis.), and Brandon Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.), a junior team that finished second at the 2008 U.S. Junior Championships. The USA-Brazil Challenge for the berth in the 2009 World Men's Championship also will take place during the Challenge Round featuring USA's Todd Birr rink, which qualified for the Olympic Trials already.
On the women's side, the Green Bay (Wis.) Curling Club will host six teams fighting for four spots. Several teams that qualified for the challenge round turned down the berths leaving a small field, but one also loaded with national-level talent and two former Olympians. Leading the way is two-time junior national champion and last year's bronze medalist at the Women's Nationals - Aileen Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.), who's team features 2006 Olympians Jessica Schultz and Maureen Brunt (both of Minneapolis). Also competing are teams skipped by Margie Smith, 2007 U.S. club champion; Madison's Lori Karst, 2006 Olympic Team Trials participant; former national champion Amy Wright (Duluth, Minn.); five-time U.S. mixed champion Cristin Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.); and Sandra McMakin (Potomac, Md.), making her first appearance on the national competitive scene in the U.S.
At the conclusion of last weekend's Qualifying Round, 12 teams earned direct berths to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Broomfield, Colo., Feb. 21-28.
Here's a look at the field for the Challenge Round, Jan. 28 - Feb. 1:
* Cristin Clark rink, West regional: Cristin Clark, Sharon Vukich, Emily Good, Katy Sharpe (all of the Seattle area)
* Margie Smith rink, Midwest regional: Margie Smith (Shoreview, Minn.), Norma O'Leary (Silver Bay, Minn.), Becky Johansen (Two Harbors, Minn.), Theresa Hoffoss (Minneapolis)
* Amy Wright rink, Midwest regional: Amy Wright (Duluth, Minn.), Courtney George (Duluth, Minn.), Jordan Moulton (Highland Park, Ill.), Patti Luke (Duluth, Minn.)
* Lori Karst rink, Midwest regional: Lori Karst (Madison, Wis.), Joy Pahl (Green Bay, Wis.), Miranda Schieber (Portage, Wis.), Miyo Konno (Monroe, Wash.)
* Aileen Sormunen rink, Midwest regional, WCT points team: Aileen Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.), Molly Bonner (Virginia, Minn.), Jessica Schultz (Minneapolis), Maureen Brunt (Minneapolis)
* Sandra McMakin, East regional: Sandra McMakin (Potomac, Md.), Ann Drummie (Washington, D.C.), Rachel Treesh (Silver Spring, Md.), Rebecca Baxter (Wheaton, Md.)
* Pete Fenson rink: Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.), Tom O'Connor (Golden Valley, Minn.)
* Brandon Corbett rink: Brandon Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.), Derek Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.), Chris Bond (Henrietta, N.Y.), Kell Orlando (Seneca Falls, N.Y.)
* Bryan Wight rink: Bryan Wight (Canandaigua, N.Y.), Lyle Sieg (Castro Valley, Calif.), Charles Taggart (Green Bay, Wis.), Mark Lazar (Toledo, Ohio)
* Matt Hames rink: Matt Hames (Buffalo, N.Y.), Matt Mielke (Somerville, Mass.), Bill Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Dean Gemmell (Short Hills, N.J.)
* 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.)
* Dan Lilla rink: Dan Lilla (Galesville, Wis.), John Lilla (Trempealeau, Wis.), Kroy Nernberger (Medford, Wis.), Casey Konopacky (Stevens Point, Wis.)
* 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.)
* Jason Larway: Jason Larway (Seattle), Colin Hufman (Seattle), Greg Johnson (Appleton, Wis.), Bill Todhunter (Menasha, Wis.), Joel Larway (Seattle)
* Craig Brown rink: Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.), Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), John Dunlop (Milwaukee, Wis.), Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.)
* Greg Romaniuk rink: Greg Romaniuk (Snohomish,Wash.), Doug Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Leon Romaniuk (Kirkland, Wash.), Troy Schroeder (Plymouth, Minn.)
Teams already qualified for the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials:
* Gillian Gervais rink, West regional champions: Gillian Gervais (Bismarck, N.D.), Sarah Lehman (Bemidji, Minn.), Stephanie Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.), Sarah Felchle (Bismarck, N.D.)
* Cassie Potter rink, Midwest regional champions: Cassie Potter (Minneapolis), Jamie Haskell (White Bear Lake, Minn.), Laura Roessler (Trempealeau, Wis.), Jackie Lemke (Medford, Wis.)
* Debbie McCormick rink, Midwest regional runner-up: Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.), Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.), Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.), Tracy Sachtjen (Lodi, Wis.)
* Erika Brown rink, East regional champions: Erika Brown (Oakville, Ontario), Nina Spatola (McFarland, Wis.), Nina Reiniger (New York City), Laura Hallisey (Medfield, Mass.)
* Patti Lank rink, East regional runners-up: Patti Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.), Caitlin Maroldo (Rochester, N.Y.), Ann Swisshelm (Chicago), Chrissy Haase (Schenectady, N.Y.)
* Charrissa Lin, East regional, third place: Charrissa Lin (New Haven, Conn.), Tanya Jacobsen (Silver Spring, Md.), Karen Walker (Enfield, Conn.), Nicole Vassar (Framingham, Mass.)
* Chris Plys rink, Midwest South champions: Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Aanders Brorson (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Perushek (Eveleth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Phill Drobnick (Duluth, Minn.)
* Tyler George rink, Midwest North champions: Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.), Kris Perkovich (Chisholm, Minn.), Mark Haluptzok (Bemidji, Minn.), Kevin Johnson (Winebago, Minn.)
* Kevin Deeren rink, East regional: Kevin Deeren (Chicago), Kraig Deeren (Waunakee, Wis.), Joey Bonfoey (Lac du Flambeau, Wis.), Richard Maskel (Green Bay, Wis.)
* Mike Farbelow rink, East regional: Mike Farbelow (Minneapolis), Nick Myers (St. Paul, Minn.), Tim Solin (Mahtomedi, Minn.), Tim Gartner (Eagan, Minn.)
* Todd Birr rink, East regional: Todd Birr (Mankato, Minn.), Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, Minn.), Greg Wilson (Vernon Hills, Ill.), Kevin Birr (St. Peter, Minn.)
* Mark Johnson rink, West regional: Mark Johnson (Edmonton, Alberta), Wes Johnson (Seattle), Brady Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.), Ken Trask (Seattle), Derrick McLean (Bothell, Wash.)
For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, email@example.com, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202.