CURLING: 2006 Olympic bronze medalists still trying to make playoffs

Feb. 20, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 20, 2008 Playoff picture still up in the air at 2008 USA Curling National Championships (HIBBING, Minn.) - With one game remaining in the round robin, no playoff spots have been awarded after Wednesday afternoon's action at the 2008 USA Curling National Championships at the Hibbing Curling Club. Craig Brown and Craig Disher lead the pack with 6-2 records and will play each other in the round robin finale tomorrow morning for the No. 1 playoff seed. Brown (Madison, Wis.) and teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), John Dunlop (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.) eliminated the defending champions skipped by Todd Birr (Mankato, Minn.) from playoff contention with a huge eighth end. Brown converted a raise double takeout for five points which resulted in a 9-5 win. Despite losing to Jason Larway today, Craig Disher's team is still tied for first place. Larway (Lynnwood, Wash.) and teammates Colin Hufman (Seattle), Joel Larway (Lynnwood, Wash.) and Steve Demlow (Bothell, Wash.) posted their second win of the day to improve to 5-3 in a tie with Greg Romaniuk and Tyler George, who both lost tonight. Disher had an opportunity to tie the game in the ninth end but rolled his shooter out on his takeout and settled for one. Larway tried to keep the house free of stones but Disher had a chance to bury a stone behind two Larway rocks in the eight foot but came up a few inches short. Larway (5-3) will finish the round robin against Birr (3-5). 2006 Olympians Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) and John Shuster (Chisholm, Minn.) are still in the playoff hunt at 4-4 after posting big wins. "We played good tonight for a change," Fenson said. "We just aren't stringing together enough good shots." Fenson drew for four points in the fifth end after a few missed shots by George's rink that eventually led to an 11-5 victory. "That's definitely the best game we've played all week," Fenson said. "We need to continue to play that way to get a chance to get back in this thing." Fenson (4-4) plays Greg Romaniuk (5-3) in last round robin game tomorrow morning. Shuster and teammates Jason Smith (Cape Coral, Fla.), Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.) and Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.) made the most of the last-rock advantage scoring three points in three different ends to defeat Romaniuk's Washington team, 10-6. The Shuster rink (4-4) will face off with Jeremy Roe (1-7). In the lone game with no playoff implications, Jeremy Roe's team won the battle of the Wisconsin teams with a 6-4 win over Willie Wilberg. Roe (Rio, Wis.) and teammates Pat Roe (Madison, Wis.), Richard Maskel (Green Bay, Wis.) and Mark Hartman (Sun Prairie, Wis.) turned up the offense in the second half as they scored two deuces and a single to get into the win column for the first time. The winning teams at the 2008 Nationals will represent the U.S. at the 2008 World Championships. The women's event is scheduled March 22-30 in Vernon, British Columbia. The 2008 Men's World Championship is slated April 4-13 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. Live scoring from the 2008 Nationals can be found on the USA Curling website at Game scores: Larway 6, Disher 4; Fenson 11, George 5; Shuster 10, Romaniuk 6; Roe 5, Wilberg 3; Brown 9, Birr 5 Men's standings: Brown (Wisconsin) 6-2 Disher (North Dakota) 6-2 Romaniuk (Washington) 5-3 George (Minnesota) 5-3 Larway (Washington) 5-3 Fenson (Minnesota) 4-4 Shuster (Minnesota) 4-4 Birr (Minnesota) 3-5 Roe (Wisconsin) 1-7 Wilberg (Wisconsin) 1-7 Women's standings: McCormick (Wisconsin) 4-1 Sormunen (Minnesota) 3-1 Potter (Minnesota) 3-1 Lank (New York) 3-1 Gervais (North Dakota) 1-3 Lin (Connecticut) 1-4 Stuhlman (New York) 0-4 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).