Kalamazoo women and Broadmoor men win 2014 Arena Nationals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stephanie Senneker led her Kalamazoo teammates to a 9-3 victory over La Crosse (Wis.) Curling Club's Toni Paisley, 9-3, in six ends to earn the women's title. Canadian transplant Guy Scholz led his Colorado teammates to an 8-2 win over the defending champions skipped by Garnet Eckstrand of Kalamazoo, 8-2.
"Someone asked me if this was the toughest curling event I had ever been part of in winning? Maybe not the toughest in terms of not having fully stacked WCT caliber teams, but easily the most satisfying for what it represents - a sanctioned National Championship," Scholz said. "Yet - maybe it was the toughest in terms of how we won the Arenas. I have never been part of a team that lost the first game of a double knockout then ran the table. We couldn't afford another loss and had to win six straight against teams that were all facing elimination. I mean, talk about battles. When teams know this is their final chance they bring it and you know curling -- strange things can happen on the ice. And, most of the 16 teams in the championship were capable of knocking each other off."
Senneker (Perry, Mich.), 26, and her team of Pamela Nelson (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Nicole Brinkmann Reeves (South Bend, Ind.), Valerie Hart-Young (Kalamazoo, Mich.), and Barbara Little (Kalamazoo, Mich.) jumped out to an early lead over Paisley's Wisconsin rink after scoring a deuce in the first end and stealing four points over the next two ends. Paisley, 21, and her team of Laura Mitchell (La Crosse, Wis.), Sydney Schieffer (Rice Lake, Wis.), and Erin Hofland (La Crosse, Wis.) got two points on the scoreboard in the fourth end to get back in the game. But Senneker's rink scored three points in the third end to put her team in control for good.
"Winning the gold medal for Team Kalamazoo was a phenomenal achievement for us," Senneker said. "Having come away with the bronze medal at the inaugural Arena Nationals last year, we came into this event with the goal of returning to the finals to play for the gold. We had a tough loss in the A-qualifier against Team Walsh, but we knew that if we executed a few more shots we could still make it to the playoffs. I'm really proud of our team for regrouping after that loss to finish out the tournament as strongly as we did. It was wonderful for us to share that experience with each other, not just as teammates but also as very good friends."
The Pittsburgh men fell behind Windy City 0-3 after two ends of the bronze-medal matchup, but Robinson led his team of Brian Stuart (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Steve Buffington (Coraopolis, Pa.), and Daniel Bliss (Pittsburgh, Pa.) scored three points in the third end to tie the game. After stealing two points after that, Pittsburgh held Galas and his Chicago-area teammates Gregory Stewart (Aurora, Ill.), Jeff Sampson (Downers Grove, Ill.), and David Jamros (Downers Grove, Ill.) to just a single point in the fifth end. The Pittsburgh teammates countered with a single of their own and sealed the game with a double steal in the seventh end for a final score of 8-4.
"We had a great time in Lansing and got to spend the week with lots of wonderful people from all across the country," Senneker said. "I'm excited to see the interest in this event growing, and I hope it continues to do so for many years. There has been huge growth in arena curling over the last several years, and I think it's a wonderful thing for our sport to have a championship that encourages people from these grassroots clubs to go out and compete. For me personally, winning the championship in my last event as an arena curler and having my parents there to cheer us on made this experience even more special. I feel very fortunate and will cherish the memories of this week for a long time to come."
Gold medalists: Kalamazoo (Mich.): Stephanie Senneker (Perry, Mich.), Pamela Nelson (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Nicole Brinkmann Reeves (South Bend, Ind.), Valerie Hart-Young (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Barbara Little (Kalamazoo, Mich.)
Gold medalists: Broadmoor (Colo.): Guy Scholz (Thompson's Station, Tenn.), Kevin Lyons (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Gordon Harrison (Windsor, Colo.), Nathan Mascarenas (Windsor, Colo.)