(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Two Wisconsin clubs are set to host the top senior teams in the United States as the 2014 USA Curling Senior National Championships get underway next week.
The Portage Curling Club will host 19 men's teams with the action getting underway Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT. The teams will be split into three pools for a round robin competition followed by playoffs on Sunday.
The Eau Claire club will be the site for the seven competing women's teams. The women's event begins at 1 p.m. Thursday. The teams will play a six-game round robin. The women's event has a double knockout provision in place. Tiebreaker games, if needed, will be played on Sunday. The team with the best record is the winner.
Both fields feature the defending champions as well as several past champions of the event. In the men's division, the Gert Messing rink from New York hopes to defend its title. The team placed 11th at the 2013 World Senior Championships. Two-time senior champion and 2010 world senior champion Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, Minn.) is seeking his third trip to the Senior Worlds. Other former champions skipping in this year's field include David Russell (La Crosse, Wis.), who won titles in 2008 and 2005, and Geoff Goodland (Eau Claire, Wis.), the senior champion in 2011 and 2007.
In the women's division, Margie Smith is seeking her third senior title as well. Smith's team finished seventh at the 2013 World Seniors. Smith also won the title in 2011 and had a fourth-place showing at the World Seniors that year. The women's field also features two other skips who have won the senior title previously. Wisconsin's Pam Oleinik captured the national event in 2012, 2008 and 2007, earning a bronze medal in 2007 at the world event. Seattle's Sharon Vukich won back-to-back U.S. senior titles in 2009 and 2010.
Live scoring from the event will be featured online at www.usacurl.org, courtesy of USA Curling partner CurlingZone.
The winning teams will be nominated to Team USA to compete at the 2014 World Senior Championships April 22-29 in Dumfries, Scotland. The U.S. women are seeking their first-ever gold medal at the world senior event. The U.S. men have won the event twice (2010, 2002).
Here is a look at the competing teams for the 2014 USA Curling Senior National Championships:
Team Horn: Debra Horn (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Connie Kupferschmidt (St. Paul, Minn.), Martha Naber (Niskayuna, N.Y.), Carmen Delaney (Fargo, N.D.)
Team McMakin: Sandra McMakin (North Potomac, Md.), Anne Wiggins (Hendersonville, N.C.), Jamie Hutchinson (Dover, Mass.), Carol White (Charlotte, N.C.)
Team Mountford: Lori Mountford (Madison, Wis.), Kathy Pielage (Verona, Wis.), Cynthia Godar (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Beth Lepping (Madison, Wis.)
Team Oleinik: Pam Oleinik (Brookfield, Wis.), Laurie Rahn (Chicago), Stephanie Martin (Barrington, Ill.), Julie Denten (Northbrook, Ill.)
Team Ronk: Karen Ronk (Luxemburg, Wis.), JJ Rhyme (Green Bay, Wis.), Deborah Moulton (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.), Lil LaRue (Sobieski, Wis.)
Team Smith: Margie Smith (St. Paul, Minn.), Norma O'Leary (Silver Bay, Minn.), Debbie Dexter (St. Paul, Minn.), Shelly Kosal (Edgerton, Wis.)
Team Vukich: Sharon Vukich (Seattle), Linda Cornfield (Seattle), Miyo Konno (Monroe, Wash.), Beth Bronger-Jones (Lake Forest Park, Wash.)
Team Goodland: Geoff Goodland (Eau Claire, Wis.), Pete Westberg (Woodbury, Minn.), Tim Solin (St. Paul, Minn.), Cal Tillisch (Wausau, Wis.)
Team Sieg: Lyle Sieg (Tacoma, Wash.), Phil DeVore (Superior, Wis.), Ken Trask (Seattle), Harold Rutan (Olympia, Wash.)
Team Litman: Ross Litman, Sam Perrella, David Johnson, Lee Leksell (all of Duluth, Minn.)
Team Berling: Richard Berling (Madison, Wis.), David Carlson (Portage, Wis.), Ken Spatola (Madison, Wis.), Steve Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.)
Team Neidhart: Ken Neidhart (Lodi, Wis.), Tim Ebert (Oregon, Wis.), Tim Funk (McFarland, Wis.), Paul Ryan (Madison, Wis.)
Team Ehlert: Walt Ehlert (Pardeville, Wis.), Michael Haynes (Pardeeville, Wis.), Scott Thompson (Rio, Wis.), Sonny Villwock (Pardeeville, Wis.)
Team VanCuyck: Richard VanCuyck (Fairport, N.Y.), John Fredlund (Rochester, N.Y.), Scott Wagner (Rochester, N.Y.), Danny Thompson (Rochester, N.Y.)
Team Pustovar: Paul Pustovar (Hibbing, Minn.), Brian Simonson (Hibbing, Minn.), John Kokotovich (Maple Grove, Minn.), Don Mohawk (Nashwauk, Minn.)
Team Beadle: Kent Beadle (Hudson, Wis.), Dave Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.), Richard Maskel (Green Bay, Wis.), Roger Smith (Bismarck, N.D.)
Team Sormunen: Seppo Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.), Jeff Erickson (Duluth, Minn.), Vincent Bernet (Minneapolis, Minn.), John Krenz (Mankato, Minn.)
Team Hedstrom: Bob Hedstrom (Golden Valley, Minn.), Mike Schneeberger (Spring Park, Minn.), Craig Futterer (Minneapolis, Minn.), John Eustice (Eagan, Minn.)
Team Milosevich: Jim Milosevich (New Brighton, Minn.), Dale Gibbs (Golden Valley, Minn.), Mark Lusche (Washburn, Wis.), Neil Kay (Woodbury, Minn.)
Team Cameron: Doug Cameron (Duluth, Minn.), Steve Kokotovich (Duluth, Minn.), Keane Busche (Duluth, Minn.), Scott Mullen (Hermantown, Minn.)
Team Messing: Gert Messing (Hartsdale, N.Y.), Dennis Mellerup (Hoboken, N.J.), Bill Nickle (Long Valley, N.J.), Bill Peskoff (Glen Gardner, N.Y.)
Team Russell: David Russell (La Crosse, Wis.), Mike Fraboni (McFarland, Wis.), Bill Rhyme (Green Bay, Wis.), Mark Swandby (Madison, Wis.)
Team Wright: Jeff Wright (Libertyville, Ill.), Russ Armstrong (Lake Bluff, Ill.), Russ Brown (Lake Forest, Ill.), Nils Johansson (Highland Park, Ill.)
Team Sharp: Larry Sharp (Rice Lake, Wis.), Bill Kind (Rice Lake, Wis.), Kraig Smith (Rice Lake, Wis.), Dane Jensen (Cameron, Wis.)
Team Olsen: Dale Olsen (Isanti, Minn.), Rory Ellingson (Cambridge, Minn.), Kevan Edwards (Blaine, Minn.), Jeff Anlauf (Cambridge, Minn.)
Team Matzke: Paul Matzke (Sun Prairie, Wis.), Scott Reich (Waunakee, Wis.), Rich Lepping (Madison, Wis.), Jim Sirianni (Cross Plains, Wis.)
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, BalancePlus and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, and is partnered with Hilton, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.
Visit the USA Curling website at www.usacurl.org and connect with USA Curling on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare.
For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, email@example.com, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).