Dec. 8, 2010

20 teams set to vie for U.S. mixed doubles title

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Action at the 2011 U.S. Mixed Doubles Championship gets underway Thursday at the eight-sheet Duluth Curling Club in Duluth, Minn.

The first round of play gets underway at 11:30 a.m. with five games taking place. Twenty teams of two will compete for the right to be named Team USA and compete at the 2011 World Mixed Doubles Championship, which will take place April 16-23 in St. Paul, Minn.

Two of the past winners are in the field this year, including defending champions Sharon Vukich (Seattle) and Mike Calcagno (Kirkland, Wash.) and the husband-wife duo of Brady and Cristin Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.), who won the title in 2009.

Teams are split into three pools based on peer seeding for an initial round robin with the top six teams advancing to the playoffs. Action will continue through the weekend with the championship final set for 3 p.m. Sunday.

This is the fourth year that this championship will be contested. Mixed Doubles is one of the newer curling competitions. Mixed doubles features two players per team (one male, one female) as opposed to the traditional four-person curling teams. Each game consists of eight ends with variations from the regular game. Each team delivers five stones per end with one player delivering the first and fifth stones and the other team member throwing the stones in between. Prior to the start of each end, two stationary stones are placed - one in the house and one outside the rings as a guard (positioning depends on who has last rock). The positioned stones cannot be removed until the fourth stone. Sweeping is allowed but with just two players that means either the thrower will sweep their own stone or the other team member will leave the house (scoring area) to sweep.

Here is a look at the competing field:
Pool A:
Team Clark: Brady Clark and Cristin Clark (both of Lynnwood, Wash.)
Team J. Vukich: Jake Vukich and Em Good (both of Seattle)
Team Jukich: Andrew Jukich (Hermantown, Minn.) and Pam Cavers (Duluth, Minn.)
Team Mazzotta: Gary Mazzotta (Minneapolis) and Michelle Summer (Maple Grove, Minn.)
Team Meechai: Joyance Meechai (New York City) and Jason Nawyn (Chelsea, Mass.)
Team Ernst: Andrew Ernst and Jennifer Westhagen (both of Seattle)
Team Busche: Keane Busche (Duluth, Minn.) and Elizabeth Busche (Duluth, Minn.)

Pool B:
Team George: Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.) and Courtney George (St. Paul, Minn.)
Team Stolt: Peter Stolt and Maureen Stolt (both of Plymouth, Minn.)
Team Zezel: Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.) and Sophie Brorson (Duluth, Minn.)
Team Cornfield: David Cornfield (Seattle) and Cynthia Eng-Dinsel (Bothell, Wash.)
Team Floerchinger: Michael Floerchinger (Princeton, Minn.) and Kimberly Wapola (Mahtomedi, Minn.)
Team Schultz: Eric Schultz (Burnsville, Minn.) and Julie Smith (St. Paul, Minn.)
Team Charpentier: Brett Charpentier (St. Paul, Minn.) and Heather Van Sistine (Hartland, Wis.)

Pool C:
Team S. Vukich: Sharon Vukich (Seattle) and Mike Calcagno (Kirkland, Wash.)
Team DeVore: Phil DeVore (Superior, Wis.) and Norma O'Leary (Silver Bay, Minn.)
Team Ivey: Jim Ivey (St. Paul, Minn.) and Amy Lou Anderson (Plymouth, Minn.)
Team Johnson: Tim Johnson and Liz Johnson (both of Bemidji, Minn.)
Team Orvik: Clayton Orvik and Senja Lopak (both of Minneapolis)
Team Pickle: Steve Pickle and Madonna Fitzgerald (both of Fargo, N.D.)

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