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CURLING: Wisconsin's Brown earns No. 1 playoff seed at 2008 U.S. Nationals

Feb. 21, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 21, 2008 Brown, Disher to square off in page playoff 1-2 game at 2008 USA Curling National Championships (HIBBING, Minn.) - Craig Brown's Wisconsin team secured the No. 1 playoff seed and will face the team they beat this morning in the Page Playoff 1-2 game tomorrow at the 2008 USA Curling National Championships at the Hibbing Curling Club. Brown (Madison, Wis.) and teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), John Dunlop (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Pete Annis (Owatonna, Minn.) defeated Craig Disher's North Dakota rink, 7-5. A loss would have dropped Brown down to a tiebreaker game for a playoff spot. In the page system, the winner of the 1-2 game goes directly to the championship final while the loser gets a second chance to get to the final playing the winner of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeded teams. "Craig has kept Rich and I pretty focused," said Annis, who will be playing in his first playoff game along with vice skip Rich Ruohonen. Brown and John Dunlop won the Nationals back in 2000. "I think we've done a good job all week playing pretty consistent. We've been focusing on one game at a time, and we haven't looked ahead too far," Annis said. Disher tried to bury his final stone behind Brown's rock in the four-foot but needed a few more inches on his draw as the stone was left open enough for Brown, the 2000 U.S. national champion, to take it out. Greg Romaniuk's Washington team secured the No. 3 seed with a 9-3 win over Pete Fenson's team and will play the winner of the tiebreaker game at 7 tonight between Tyler George and Jason Larway in the Page System 3-4 game. "We played really well from top to bottom," said Greg Romaniuk, the 2001 national champion. Romaniuk (Snohomish, Wash.) and teammates Doug Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Leon Romaniuk (Kirkland, Wash.) and Mike Calcagno (Kirkland, Wash.) eliminated the 2006 Olympians with multiple steals in the first half of the game that took the wind out of Fenson's sail. Fenson came up short on a draw in the fourth end and missed a takeout in the fifth end to fall behind early. "We played really well," Leon Romaniuk said. "I had the final of the 2003 Nationals in my head all game. The five-year demon could be gone." Romaniuk, playing vice skip for Wes Johnson back in 2003, lost the final to Fenson that year. "I threw a couple good ones for my friend Wes Johnson," Leon said. George (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Kris Perkovich (Chisholm, Minn.), Phill Drobnick (Duluth, Minn.) and Kevin Johnson (Winabego, Minn.) defeated Willie Wilberg's team from Wisconsin on the last rock of the 10th end. Wilberg played the final end really well, getting a stone buried in the four foot but George was able to chip it out to keep the team's playoff hopes alive. Larway (Lynnwood, Wash.) and teammates Colin Hufman (Seattle), Joel Larway (Lynnwood, Wash.) and Steve Demlow (Bothell, Wash.) defeated Todd Birr's team, 7-3, as they sealed the game with a steal of two in the seventh end. Jeremy Roe's Wisconsin team ended a tough week at the Nationals on a positive note defeating John Shuster's team, 8-4. Roe (Rio, Wis.) and teammates Pat Roe (Madison, Wis.), Richard Maskel (Green Bay, Wis.) and Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) never trailed in this match and used the last-rock to their advantage scoring deuces and applying pressure on the younger Shuster team to steal three ends. The Page System playoffs will now move to noon instead of 9 a.m. Friday. The semifinal will take place at 7 p.m. Friday. The women's championship is set for 11 a.m. Saturday with the men's gold-medal game at 3 p.m. 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 www.usacurl.org. Game scores: George 9, Wilberg 8; Brown 7, Disher 5; Larway 7, Birr 3; Romaniuk 9, Fenson 3; Roe 8, Shuster 4 Men's standings: Brown (Wisconsin) 7-2 Disher (North Dakota) 6-3 Romaniuk (Washington) 6-3 *George (Minnesota) 6-3 *Larway (Washington) 6-3 Fenson (Minnesota) 4-5 Shuster (Minnesota) 4-5 Birr (Minnesota) 3-6 Roe (Wisconsin) 2-7 Wilberg (Wisconsin) 1-8 *will play in tiebreaker game for final playoff spot Women's standings: McCormick (Wisconsin) 4-1 Sormunen (Minnesota) 4-1 Potter (Minnesota) 4-1 Lank (New York) 3-2 Gervais (North Dakota) 2-3 Lin (Connecticut) 1-5 Stuhlman (New York) 0-5 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, terry.kolesar@usacurl.org, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).