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USA Curling

First round of qualifiers for 2010 Nationals begins Thursday

Jan. 05, 2010, 12 a.m. (ET)

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Stage one of qualification for the 2010 U.S. National Championships gets underway for the men's field Thursday at three sites across the United States.

Clubs in Fargo, N.D., Mankato, Minn., and Laurel, Md., will host the 2010 Men's Qualifying Round. The first six slots to the 2010 Nationals in Kalamazoo will be filled from this round (the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team for Men's Curling receives an automatic berth into the 2010 Nationals). The remaining three teams will be determined at the challenge round Feb. 4-7 in Grafton, N.D. Based on peer seeding, an overall strength of field was determined at the three sites to allocate the berths. From Fargo, the top team advances to Nationals and one berth is available to the Challenge Round; at Mankato, where the top three overall seeds elected to play will be awarded four direct berths to Nationals and two to the Challenge. From the Potomac Curling Club in Maryland, one berth to Nationals and five berths to the Challenge will be up for grabs.

This Challenge Round also coincides with the Americas Challenge - a best three-out-of- five contest between the USA and Brazil to determine the second men's North America berth for the 2010 World Men's Championship in Italy. The U.S. team competing in the Americas Challenge also will be determined from the Qualifying Round pool.

The Mankato qualifier features three teams that have won the national championship in three of the past four years - Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn., 2006 national champion and 2006 Olympic bronze medalist), Todd Birr (Mankato, Minn., 2007 national champion and world bronze medalist, and Craig Brown (Madison, Wis., 2008 national champion). 

The 2010 U.S. National Championships will be staged March 6-13 at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Mich. Visit the event website for ticket information athttp://www.wingsstadium.com/curlingnationals/

Live line-by-line scoring will be available from each qualifying round site and posted via the USA Curling website at www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks. 

Here is a look at the competing men's field for the 2010 U.S. Nationals Qualifying Round, Jan. 7-10:

FARGO-MOORHEAD (Midwest North QUALIFIER): 

Team Berg: Ryan Berg (West Fargo, N.D.), Mitchell Oakland (Fargo, N.D.), Kevin Berg (Moorhead, Minn.), Chris Desjarlais (Fargo, N.D.)

Team E. Fenson: Eric Fenson, Mark Haluptzok, Quentin Way, Tim Johnson (all of Bemidji, Minn.)

Team Gulseth: Al Gulseth (Moorhead, Minn.), Scott Brown (Fargo, N.D.), Evan Workin (Fargo, N.D.), Steve Hatlevoll (Moorhead, Minn.)

Team Kakela: Kevin Kakela (Rolla, N.D.), Chad Carlson (Devils Lake, N.D.), Ryan Lagasse (Bottineau, N.D.), Todd Ussatis (Bismarck, N.D.)

Team Morehouse: Bill Morehouse (Utica, N.Y.), John Lilla (Trempealeau, Wis.), Adam Nathan (Minot, N.D., Cooper Smith (Bismarck, N.D.)

Team Sampson: Owen Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), Ned Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), Tucker Smith (Bismarck, N.D.), Kyle Young (Fargo, N.D.)

Team Stevens: Matt Stevens, Cody Stevens, Robert Liapis, Jeff Breyen (all of Bemidji, Minn.)

MANKATO (Midwest South QUALIFIER):

Team Birr: Todd Birr (Mankato, Minn.), Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, Minn.), Tom O'Connor (Brooklyn Center, Minn.), Kevin Birr (St. Peter, Minn.)

Team Brown: Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.), Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Zach Jacobson (Langdon, N.D.), Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.)

Team Carlson: Matt Carlson (Mankato, Minn.), Tyler Runing (North Mankato, Minn.), Robert Johansen (Two Harbors, Minn.), Cameron Braun (Kasota, Minn.)

Team Farbelow: Mike Farbelow (Minneapolis, Minn.), Nick Myers (Mansfield, Texas), Jeff Puleo (Forest Lake, Minn.), Mark Willmert (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Team P. Fenson: Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.), Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.)

Team Locke: Lionel Locke (St. Paul, Minn.), Dale Gibbs (Woodbury, Minn.), Tim Doherty (St. Paul, Minn.), John Krenz ( Mankato, Minn.)

Team Morton: Blake Morton (McFarland, Wis.), Marcus Fonger (Cottage Grove, Wis.), Tommy Juszczyk (McFarland, Wis.), Calvin Weber (McFarland, Wis.), Mark Hartman (Sun Prairie, Wis.)

Team Nernberger: Kroy Nernberger (Fitchburg, Wis.), Ryan Lemke (Medford, Wis.), Jake Will (Madison, Wis.), Steve Day (Madison, Wis.)

Team Wilson: Greg Wilson (Vernon Hills, Ill.), David Geake (Northbrook, Ill.), Richard Franks (Ingleside, Ill.), Jeff Smaha (Palatine, Ill.)

POTOMAC, LAUREL, MD. (EAST QUALIFIER):

Team Calabrese: Joe Calabrese (Fairport, N.Y.), Michael Mengel (Fairport, N.Y.), Michael Graziano (Lansdale, Mass.), Jason Valetutto (South Amboy, N.J.)

Team Corbett: Brandon Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.), Chris Bond (Henrietta, N.Y.), Derek Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.), Kell Orlando (Seneca Falls, N.Y.)

Team Deeren: Kevin Deeren (Chicago), Kraig Deeren (Brookfield, Wis.), Jerod Roland (Petersburg, N.D.), Ryan Brunt (Portage, Wis.)

Team Eigner: Greg Eigner (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Greg Jorgensen (Dearborn, Mich.), Steve Scheffler (Troy, Mich.), David Pietrangelo (Troy, Mich.)

Team Galebach: Brian Galebach (Columbia, Md.), Jason Sethi (Falls Church, Va.), Jeremy Vandenhouten (Silver Spring, Md.), David Bykowski (Edgewater, Md.)

Team Hames: Matt Hames (Buffalo, N.Y.), Bill Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Martin Sather (New Rochelle, N.Y.), Dean Gemmell (Short Hills, N.J.)

Team Johnson: Wes Johnson (Snohomish, Wash.), Leon Romaniuk (Kirkland, Wash.), Paul Lyttle (Bothell, Wash.), Richard Maskel (Green Bay, Wis.)

Team Leichter: Alex Leichter (Wayland, Mass.), Nate Clark (Nashua, N.H.), Jeffrey Wadsworth (Wayland, Mass.), Fred Leichter (Wayland, Mass.)

Team Mellerup: Dennis Mellerup (Hoboken, N.J.), Dannie Steski (Shoreham, N.Y.), Dan Tufaro (New York City), William Pekowitz (Ossining, N.Y.)

Team Raven: Clark Raven (Rochester, N.Y.), Richard Dimperio (Rochester, N.Y.), Jeff Pulli (Rochester, N.Y.), Ryan Thompson (Webster, N.Y.)

Team Surka: Derek Surka (New Haven, Conn.), Tim Ho (Boston), Sean Murray (Edgewood, Mass.), Paul Marseglia (Upton, Mass.)

Team Van Cuyck: Richard Van Cuyck (Fairport, N.Y.), Christopher Lopez (East Rochester, N.Y.), Aaron Crawley (Hamlin, N.Y.), Danny Thompson (Rochester, N.Y.)

Team Wight: Bryan Wight (Canandaigua, N.Y.), Michael Moore (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), Joey Bonfoey (Lac du Flambeau, Wis.), Mark Lazar (Toledo, Ohio)

***2010 U.S. Olympic Team for Men's Curling - automatic berth to 2010 Nationals: John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.), Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.), Coach Phill Drobnick (Duluth, Minn.)***

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