CURLING: Youngest team in the field earns women's No. 1 playoff seed at 2008 Nationals

Feb. 21, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 21, 2008 Youngest team in field earns No. 1 playoff seed at 2008 USA Curling National Championships (HIBBING, Minn.) - The youngest team in the field has earned the No. 1 playoff seed after finishing out the round robin with a 7-5 win over Gillian Gervais at the 2008 USA Curling National Championships at the Hibbing Curling Club. Teams skipped by Aileen Sormunen, Debbie McCormick and Cassie Potter all finished with identical 5-1 records but based on head-to-head records and shoot-out scores, Sormunen earned the No. 1 seed with McCormick's defending national champions earning the No. 2 seed. They'll face off in the Page System 1-2 playoff game. Potter's team falls to the No. 3 seed and will play Patti Lank's No. 4 ranked rink. Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Courtney George (Duluth, Minn.), Molly Bonner (Virginia, Minn.) and Jordan Moulton (Highland Park, Ill.) never trailed in this match as they dominated the Gervais team and used big scoring ends to seal their fifth win. At 21, Sormunen is the youngest skip in the Nationals field but her record reflects experience. McCormick (Rio, Wis.) and teammates Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.) handed Lank's team its third loss of the round robin, 9-5, after getting off to a fast start. McCormick started the game with a single but then stole four ends in a row to grab a 5-0 lead. Lank (Lewiston, N.J.) and teammates Caitlin Maroldo (Rochester, N.Y.), Ann Swisshelm (Chicago) and Chrissy Haase (Schenectady, N.Y.) would make a takeout for four points in the sixth end to close the gap. After exchanging singles, McCormick made a takeout for three points in the ninth end for the victory. Potter (Minneapolis) and teammates Jamie Haskell (Bemidji, Minn.), Jackie Lemke (Medford, Wis.) and Maureen Brunt (Portage, Wis.) got the better of the Anne Stuhlman team, 9-1. Potter struck for four points in the first end and stole another in the second end before Stuhlman's team grabbed one in the third end. Potter grabbed another three in the fourth and stole one in the fifth to seal the win. "They struggled with draw weight and their rocks seemed to curl a little bit more depending on what handle they put on them," Brunt said. "Once we got the four we were able to relax a little bit out there." 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: Potter 9, Stuhlman 1; McCormick 9, Lank 5; Sormunen 7, Gervais 5 Women's standings: Sormunen (Minnesota) 5-1 McCormick (Wisconsin) 5-1 Potter (Minnesota) 5-1 Lank (New York) 3-3 Gervais (North Dakota) 2-4 Lin (Connecticut) 1-5 Stuhlman (New York) 0-6 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 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).