Kalamazoo and Dakota win Arena Nationals

By Terry Kolesar | July 21, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2013

Kalamazoo men, Dakota women win Arena Nationals in Fort Wayne

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Dakota Curling Club's Darcy Ellarby and Kalamazoo's Garnet Eckstrand rinks became the very first champions of USA Curling's Arena National Championships after winning the event finals today at the Lutheran Health Sports Center in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Eckstrand's team defeated the Nick Myers rink from the Dallas-Fort Worth Curling Club, 7-6, in an extra end, while Ellarby's squad swept past Sarah Walsh's rink from the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club, 9-3.

Eckstrand (Portage, Mich.) and teammates Kent Elliott (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Marcus Gleaton (Three Rivers, Mich.), Chris Gleaton (Kalamazoo, Mich.), and Thomas Deater (Kalamazoo, Mich.) had control of the first half of the men's final and a chance to break the game wide open in the third end. Eckstrand had a shot at possibly four points but his final stone was heavy and Kalamazoo only scored a deuce. Myers was heavy with his final stone of the fourth end and Kalamazoo stole a single to take a 4-2 advantage. 

Dallas-Fort Worth's team of Myers (Mansfield, Texas), Jeffrey Knott (Lancaster, Texas), Stephen Kleppe (Denton, Texas), and John Lambert (Frisco, Texas) scored a single in the fifth and grabbed the game's momentum in the sixth end when Eckstrand missed his final shot in the sixth and the Texans stole three points for a 6-4 advantage. After blanking the seventh end, Kalamazoo sent the game into an extra end when Eckstrand was able to draw for two points in the eighth. 

A beautiful double takeout by Myers, who won the U.S. club national title in 2007 and has competed at several U.S. men's national championships, with his first stone of the extra end put his team in a position to win. Eckstrand used his final stone to draw into the house. He was hoping to bury the stone behind a corner guard in the four-foot but it sunk behind the tee-line, giving Myers the shot for the win. The final stone of the game by Myers needed to curl more as it finished and it ended up rubbing off of a stone in the top of the house and landed in second position as Kalamazoo stole the win.

The women's final was less dramatic as Ellarby and the Dakota ladies - Jennifer Witschen (Eagan, Minn.), Robyn Farm (Shakopee, Minn.), Julie Wennberg (Burnsville, Minn.), and Beth Lundquist (Eagan, Minn.) - scored in the game's first four ends to build a 7-0 lead over San Francisco's Walsh rink. Walsh (Oakland, Calif.) and her team of Kimberly Chapin (San Francisco, Calif.), Emily Schermerhorn (San Francisco, Calif.), Jessica Tudor (Oakland, Calif.) earned three points in the fifth end but didn't get on the scoreboard again as the Minnesota ladies took home the title with a 9-3 victory.  

Line scores:
Men's gold-medal:
*Kalamazoo (Eckstrand) 102 100 021 - 7 
Dallas-Fort Worth (Myers) 020 013 020 - 6 

Women's gold medal:
*Dakota (D. Ellarby) 113 201 1x - 9 
San Francisco (Walsh) 000 030 0x - 3 

Gold medalists:
Team Ellarby, Dakota (Minn.) Curling Club: Darcy Ellarby (Burnsville, Minn.), Jennifer Witschen (Eagan, Minn.), Robyn Farm (Shakopee, Minn.), Julie Wennberg (Burnsville, Minn.), Beth Lundquist (Eagan, Minn.)

Team Eckstrand, Kalamazoo (Mich.) Curling Club: Garnet Eckstrand (Portage, Mich.), Kent Elliott (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Marcus Gleaton (Three Rivers, Mich.), Chris Gleaton (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Thomas Deater (Kalamazoo, Mich.)

Silver medalists:
Team Walsh, San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.) Curling Club: Sarah Walsh (Oakland, Calif.), Kimberly Chapin (San Francisco, Calif.), Emily Schermerhorn (San Francisco, Calif.), Jessica Tudor (Oakland, Calif.)

Team Myers, Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas) Curling Club: Nick Myers (Mansfield, Texas), Jeffrey Knott (Lancaster, Texas), Stephen Kleppe (Denton, Texas), John Lambert (Frisco, Texas)

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery and is partnered with Hilton, United Airlines, Ludus Tours, CurlingZone, and RJM Licensing, Inc. 

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For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, terry.kolesar@usacurl.org, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).

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