Teams punch tickets to 2010 Nationals

Jan. 10, 2010, 2:44 p.m. (ET)

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - The 2010 Qualifying Round concluded Sunday with seven teams earning berths to the USA Curling Nationals Championships in March in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Matt Stevens and his Bemidji, Minn., team defeated Kevin Kakela's North Dakota team in the playoff to win the Midwest North qualifier this morning, 9-4. Craig Brown's Wisconsin team captured the final berth in the Midwest South qualifier in Mankato with a 7-1 win over Kroy Nernberger's Wisconsin team. Out East at the Potomac Curling Club in Laurel, Md., Matt Hames led his team to a 7-2 victory over Wes Johnson from Seattle to earn a berth as well. In addition, the men's 2010 Olympic curling team led by John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) earned an automatic berth to the Nationals.

The remaining three teams to fill the field for the 2010 Nationals will be determined at the challenge round Feb. 4-7 in Grafton, N.D.

Qualified to Nationals:

Team Shuster (automatic berth as Olympic team): John Shuster (Chisholm, Minn.), Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) (2010 Olympian Jason Smith (Cape Coral, Fla.) has elected not to play in the National Championships.)

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

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

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

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

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

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.)

Teams headed to Challenge Round, Feb. 4-7: Wes Johnson, Kevin Deeren, Bryan Wight, Brandon Corbett, Derek Surka rinks from the East qualifier; Kevin Kakela from the Midwest North qualifier; Mike Farbelow, Lionel Locke and Kroy Nernberger (earns berth based on World Curling Tour points list) from Midwest South qualifier.


Fargo-Moorhead Qualifier:

Team Stevens 6-0

Team Kakela 4-2

Team Sampson 2-3

Team Berg 1-4

Team Morehouse 1-4

Team Gulseth 1-4


Mankato Qualifier:

*Team Birr 7-1

*Team Morton 6-2

*Team Fenson 5-3

Team Brown 5-3

Team Farbelow 4-4

Team Locke 3-5

Team Carlson 2-6

Team Nernberger 2-6

Team Wilson 2-6


Potomac Qualifier:

Pool A:

*Team Hames 8-0

**Team Wight 5-2

**Team Surka 4-2

Team Leichter 3-3

Team Van Cuyck 1-4

Team Eigner 1-5

Team Raven 0-5


Pool B:

**Team Johnson 5-2

**Team Deeren 4-2

**Team Corbett 3-2

Team Galebach 2-3

Team Mellerup 2-3

Team Calabrese 0-5

*Advances to Nationals

**Advances to Challenge Round


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