Birr vs Shuster for Nationals berth

Jan. 07, 2012, 9:52 a.m. (ET)
Two former national champions meet this afternoon to determine which team will advance to the 2012 National Championships next month in Philadelphia.

Two-time Olympian John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and 2007 U.S. champion Todd Birr (Mankato, Minn.) meet in the A bracket final of the Grand Forks qualifier as the 2012 Men's Nationals Qualifying Round continues this the weekend with five berths to Nationals at four sites up for grabs. An additional Nationals berth is available in Grand Forks as well as four spots to the Challenge Round, Jan. 19-22 in Eau Claire, Wis., where the final teams advancing to Nationals will be determined.

To read the full press release, click on the PDF below.

 USA Curling

 Terry Kolesar

Jan. 7, 2012
2012 Men’sNationalsQualifying Round continues
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Two former national championsmeetthis afternoon to determine
which teamwill advance to the 2012National Championships nextmonth in Philadelphia.
Two‐timeOlympian John Shuster(Duluth, Minn.) and 2007U.S. champion Todd Birr(Mankato,
Minn.)meetin the A bracketfinal oftheGrand Forks qualifier asthe 2012 Men’sNationals
Qualifying Round continuesthisthe weekend with five berthstoNationals atfoursites up for
grabs. An additionalNationals berth is available inGrand Forks as well asfourspotsto the
Challenge Round,Jan. 19‐22 in Eau Claire, Wis., where the finalteams advancing toNationals
will be determined.
Birr’steamdefeated 1997U.S. champion Kevin Kakela (Rolla,N.D.)thismorning 6‐5 with a 10th
end steal. Shuster defeated fellow 2010Olympic teammate Jason Smith (Fort Myers, Fla.), 8‐4.
Kakela and Smith now drop down to the B bracketto keep fighting forthe second berth. Follow
allthe action ofthe A, B and C brackets here:‐
Fourteamstied forfirst place asthe round robin inGreen Bay, Wis., concluded thismorning.
The firstround oftiebreakers willtake place at 3 today attheGreen Bay Curling Club. Blake
Morton (McFarland, Wis.) willtake on Mike Farbelow (Minneapolis) while Paul Pustovar
(Hibbing, Minn.) will battle John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.). The winners ofthe firsttiebreaker
meettonight at 8 p.m. The winnerfromthatmatchmoves on toNationals while the losing team
earnsthe first oftwo available Challenge Round spots. The two losing teamsfromthe first
tiebreakerround alsomeet at 8 tonightto determine which teamearnsthe second Challenge
Round berth. Benton defeated Farbelow earliertoday, 10‐2, asthe teamwon theirthird straight
match to stay alive in the tournament. Morton defeated Pustovar, 8‐4, which resulted in all four
teams boasting 3‐2 records.
Atthe West qualifier attheGranite Curling Club in Seattle, Sean Beighton (Seattle) and Wes
Johnson (Snohomish, Wash.) have perfect 3‐0 records. The two teamsmeetin the round robin
finale this afternoon. Because there is a two‐loss provision,those teams will have to play atleast
one tiebreaker against one anotherlatertonight. If a third game is necessary,they’llface one
another again in themorning. The runner‐up earnsthe Challenge Round spot.
Atthe East qualifier,Heath McCormick’steamisstill undefeated asthe round robin rolls along.
Just one spot apiece toNationals and the Challenge Round is available fromthis qualifying
event. Brandon Corbett(Rochester,N.Y.) andDerek Surka (New Haven, Conn.) both wentto
extra endsthismorning and are now tied forsecond place with 4‐2 records. Surka’steampicked
up a 7‐6 win while Corbett’steamallowed a steal of one point and the win to BrianDamon’s
rink. McCormick’steamhad themorning bye but action continuesthis afternoon.Game schedules,scores,standings and webstreaming linksto follow along can be found online
East qualifier, Potomac Curling Club, Laurel, Md.
Round robin,two‐loss provision:‐
Heath McCormick (Sarnia,Ontario) 5‐0
Brandon Corbett(Rochester,N.Y.) 4‐2
Derek Surka (New Haven, Conn.) 4‐2
BrianGalebach (Columbia, Md.) 3‐3
Joe Calabrese (Fairport,N.Y.) 2‐3
BrianDamon (Schenectady,N.Y.) 2‐3
Clark Raven (Rochester,N.Y.) 2‐3
Richard Van Cuyck (Fairport,N.Y.) 1‐4
MattHoltwick (Elyria,Ohio) 1‐4
West qualifier,Granite Curling Club, Seattle
Round robin,two‐loss provision:‐
Sean Beighton (Seattle) 3‐0
WesJohnson (Snohomish, Wash.) 3‐0
Doug Kauffman (Edmonds, Wash.) 1‐2
Chris Pleasants(Seattle) 1‐3
BenjGuzman (Everett, Wash.) 0‐3
Midwest South qualifier,Green Bay Curling Club,Green Bay,Wis.
Round robin,two‐loss provision:‐
John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) 3‐2
Mike Farbelow (Minneapolis) 3‐2
Blake Morton (McFarland, Wis.) 3‐2
Paul Pustovar(Hibbing, Minn.) 3‐2
Joey Bonfoey (Duluth, Minn.) 2‐3
Matt Rudig (Madison, Wis.) 1‐4
MidwestNorth qualifier,Grand Forks Curling Club,Grand Forks,N.D.
Triple knockout, bracketed event:
Follow along here:‐
USA Curling issponsored by AtomAmpd,Nike, BroomsUp Curling Supplies, and The RAM
Restaurant&Brewery.VisittheUSA Curling website at and connect withUSA Curling on Facebook,
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Formore information: Terry Kolesar,USA Curling,, 715‐344‐1199, Ext.
202, or 608‐338‐9900 (cell).