CURLING: 2002 Olympian wins third straight national title

Feb. 23, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 23, 2008 McCormick wins third straight national title at 2008 USA Curling National Championships (HIBBING, Minn.) - Debbie McCormick's team made history as they won their third straight U.S. National Championship title after defeating Patti Lank, 8-6, this afternoon at the 2008 USA Curling National Championships at the Hibbing Curling Club. McCormick (Rio, Wis.) and teammates Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.) are the first team in U.S. history on either the men's or women's side to win three straight national titles. They will represent the U.S. at the 2008 World Women's Championship March 22-30 in Vernon, British Columbia. "I'm just proud of my team," said McCormick, who now boasts six national championship titles. "We all played so well this week, and we've been having fun and that's what has helped us all season long." This is the eighth national title for Pottinger, a U.S. curling record as well. "I felt like we came in to the game really focused," McCormick said. "We knew they'd come out and play us better than in the round robin so we just tried to address the rocks." After making a takeout for one point in the first end, McCormick would steal a single in the second. Lank missed a runback trying to remove the McCormick stone in the four foot with her first stone, allowing McCormick to remove the lone Lank stone in the side of the 12 foot to lie three. Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.) and teammates Caitlin Maroldo (Rochester, N.Y.), Ann Swisshelm (Chicago) and Chrissy Haase (Schenectady, N.Y.) would then give up a steal after Lank's draw was just a tad too heavy. "We just came out a little flat," Haase said. The teams exchanged deuces over the next two ends with McCormick stealing the fifth end to take a 5-2 advantage when Lank came up short of the rings trying to draw closer to the button than the stone McCormick placed in there after drawing behind a long guard. Team Lank scored a deuce in the sixth end but McCormick answered with one of her own as she drew the four foot to take a 7-4 advantage. Lank converted a double takeout for two in the eighth end to close the gap. Team McCormick looked to have the ninth end in hand until the skipper threw her last stone. McCormick had two stones in scoring position, possibly three, and tried a tap back to score a bundle but tapped it too firm and only ended up with one. Needing two points to force an extra end, Lank's team couldn't get the deuce set up and McCormick punched her team's ticket to the world championship with a takeout to win it all. "We're really excited to go back to worlds and take a shot at it again," McCormick said. "We're all healthy and feel like we're ready." Ann Swisshelm was this year's recipient of the Ann Brown Sportsmanship Award. The award is voted on by the competitors and awarded each year at the Nationals to one male and one female athlete. Swisshelm, a 2002 Olympian, also won the world championship in 2003. Line score: McCormick* 110 210 201 X 8 Lank 002 002 020 X 6 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 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).