Washington team continues to roll at 2009 Challenge Round

Jan. 29, 2009, 1:37 p.m. (ET)

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Washington's Greg Romaniuk led his team to a fourth straight victory to stay atop the leaderboard at the 2009 Challenge Round as the pressure continues to earn the final four berths to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling next month in Colorado.

Romaniuk (Snohomish, Wash.) and teammates Doug Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Leon Romaniuk (Kirkland, Wash.) and Troy Schroeder (Plymouth, Minn.) only needed five full ends to put away Craig Disher's North Dakota squad, 6-2, in this morning's action. Back-to-back steals early on put the Romaniuk in command as the game reached the halfway point. (The teams played the sixth end up until Romaniuk's final toss, a draw for three points, when Disher offered the handshake to end the game. When all the stones aren't thrown, the scoreboard indicates an "x" for that end.)

Craig Brown's defending national champions brought their record to 3-0 with a lopsided 11-5 win over Dan Lilla's Wisconsin-based team. Brown (Madison, Wis.) and teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), John Dunlop (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.) took control of their match with a pivotal steal of four points in the fourth end. Trailing 8-2, Lilla (Galesville, Wis.) and teammates John Lilla (Trempealeau, Wis.), Kroy Nernberger (Medford, Wis.) and Casey Konopacky (Stevens Point, Wis.) scored two in the fifth end and stole a single in the sixth but the national champs would score three more to put the game away.

Jason Larway's team won its second straight with a 5-4 defeat of the young Brandon Corbett team from New York. Additionally, Pete Fenson's team also stayed in the hunt with an 8-4 win over Matt Hames to improve to 2-1.

The men return to the ice at 2 p.m. today. The women's Challenge Round from the Green Bay (Wis.) Curling Club begins at 7 tonight. The USA-Brazil Challenge for the berth in the 2009 World Men's Championship featuring USA's Todd Birr rink gets underway at 7 p.m. Friday in Bismarck.

Live scoring of the Challenge Round and the Brazil-USA Challenge can be found at www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks.

Line scores: Fenson 8, Hames 4; Brown 11, Lilla 5; Romaniuk 6, Disher 2; Larway 5, Corbett 4

Greg Romaniuk 4-0
Craig Brown 3-0
John Shuster 3-0
Craig Disher 2-1
Pete Fenson 2-1
Jason Larway 2-1
Brandon Corbett 0-3
Matt Hames 0-3
Bryan Wight 0-3
Dan Lilla 0-4

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