Twenty nine athletes invited into High Performance Program for upcoming season

By Terry Kolesar | July 29, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
July 29, 2014

Twenty-nine athletes receive invites to USA Curling High Performance Program 

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - On the heels of USA Curling's first Athlete Combine last week in Blaine, Minn., 29 athletes from across the United States have received invites to be a part of USA Curling's High Performance Program (HPP) for the 2014-15 season. 

Forty-eight athletes participated and were assessed on technical, tactical, physical and mental skills both on and off the ice at the Athlete Combine held July 19-23 at the Four Seasons Curling Club. The Combine was a part of the overall selection criteria for the HPP. The selection of the athletes invited at this stage was conducted by Derek Brown, USA Curling's director of High Performance, and his team of HPP coaches - John Benton, Phill Drobnick, Pete Fenson, and Ann Swisshelm. Rick Patzke, USA Curling's interim chief executive officer, also was involved in overseeing the process. 

"The USCA's first Combine was a great success where we saw an excellent standard of athlete going through a number of different assessments," Brown said. "The coaching team feels that we have selected the best available athletes in each group to bring future international success to the USA." 

Those invited into the HPP will have a clear understanding of expectations, commitments, competition and training schedules as well as funding.  Performance goals, targets and measurements will be set and these will be reviewed throughout the year.

USA Curling's 2014-15 HPP calls for up to six teams of five persons each to be formed from the individuals invited in: a women's "A" and "B" team and junior team (age 21 and under), and a men's "A" and "B" team as well as a junior squad. All athletes accepted into the program for the coming season will attend a mandatory training camp Aug. 23-29 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Here is a look at the athletes invited into the HPP for the 2014-15 season:

Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.)
Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska)
Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.)
Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.)
Jamie Sinclair (Manotick, Ontario)
Aileen Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.) 
Nina Spatola (McFarland, Wis.) 
Monica Walker (Brighton, Mass.)

Junior women:
Sarah Anderson (Broomall, Pa.) 
Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Pa.)
Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.)
Grace Gabower (DePere, Wis.)
Jenna Haag (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Mackenzie Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.)

Sean Beighton (Seattle, Wash.) 
Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.) 
Ryan Brunt (Portage, Wis.)
Colin Hufman (Seattle, Wash.)
Alex Leichter (Boston, Mass.)
Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario)
Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.) 
Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.) 
Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) 
Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.)
Junior men:
Korey Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.) 
Mark Fenner (Bemidji, Minn.) 
Tom Howell (Brick, N.J.)
Andrew Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.)
Luc Violette (Granite Falls, Wash.)

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


For more information: Terry Kolesar, Director of Communications,, 715-344-1199 (office) or 608-338-9900 (mobile).