CURLING: Men's final set; defending women's champions win again at 2008 U.S. Seniors

Jan. 20, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 20, 2008 Men's final set; defending women's champions win again at 2008 U.S. Senior Nationals (HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) - The Jeff Wright and David Russell teams will square off in the men's championship title after winning their semifinal matches Sunday night at the 2008 USA Curling Senior National Championships Sunday night at the Exmoor Curling Club. The Jeff Wright team will make its first appearance in the senior national championship title game after defeating the 2006 senior champions from Hibbing, Minn., skipped by Brian Simonson. David Russell's team, which won the title back in 2005, defeated Phil DeVore's team, 5-3, in the other semifinal. Wright (Libertyville, Ill.) and teammates Nils Johansson (Highland Park, Ill.), Mike Griem (Lake Bluff, Ill.), Bob Alsteen (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and Bob Moulton (Lake Forest, Ill.) opened the game with back-to-back steals and added three points when they had the hammer for the first time in the fourth end to build a substantial lead at the halfway point. A steal of one in the following end all but sealed the win for the hometown team. Simonson (Hibbing, Minn.) and teammates Tom Harms (Pengilly, Minn.), John Kokotovich (Hibbing, Minn.) and Don Mohawk (Nashwauk, Minn.) scored one point in the sixth and stole another in the seventh but couldn't catch up. The Russell-DeVore match-up was much closer with the 2005 senior champions from Wisconsin taking an early lead and DeVore's Minnesotans tying the game with a steal of one in the fifth end. The Russell rink was limited to just one point in the sixth end and DeVore's team held onto the hammer heading into the final end of regulation. Russell (La Crosse, Wis.) and teammates Bill Rhyme (Green Bay, Wis.), Mark Swandby (Madison, Wis.), Dave Carlson (Portage, Wis.) and Mike Fraboni (McFarland, Wis.) stole a point in the eighth end to grab the win from DeVore (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Pete Westberg (St. Paul, Minn.), Paul Erickson (Minneapolis) and David Bopp (Proctor, Minn.). The men's final is set for 8 a.m. Monday morning. Pam Oleinik's team defended its senior women's national title after defeating Star Pfiffner's team 11-1 in the final double round robin game. Oleinik (Brookfield, Wis.) and teammates Laurie Rahn (Lake Forest, Ill.), Susan Curtis (Roger, Ark.), Jo Ann Matthews (New Berlin, Wis.) and Donna Purkey (Greenwich, Conn.) won bronze at the 2007 World Senior Championships in Edmonton in last April. The winning teams will represent the U.S. at the World Senior Championships in Vierumaki, Finland, March 8-16. Line scores: Simonson* 002 001 1X 4 Wright 220 310 0X 8 Russell* 102 001 01 5 DeVore 010 110 00 3 *last stone in first end Round robin final standings: Pool A: *Brian Simonson (Minnesota) 7-0 **Phil DeVore (Minnesota) 6-2 Leland Rich (Alaska) 5-3 Paul Pustovar (Minnesota) 4-3 Merlin Orvik (Minnesota) 3-4 George Godfrey (Wisconsin) 2-5 Michael Parry (Massachusetts) 1-5 Duke Grimshaw (Michigan) 0-6 ** DeVore defeated Rich in a tiebreaker to earn the semifinal berth Pool B: *David Russell (Wisconsin) 6-1 *Jeff Wright (Illinois) 5-2 Seppo Sormunen (Minnesota) 4-3 Walter Ehlert (Wisconsin) 4-3 George Austin (New York) 3-4 Stuart Graves (Massachusetts) 2-5 Lionel Locke (Minnesota) 2-4 David Garber (Wisconsin) 1-5 *semifinalist Women's standings: Pam Oleinik (Wisconsin) 6-1 Star Pfiffner (Wisconsin) 5-2 Delores Montgomery (Ohio) 1-5 Jamie Hutchinson (Massachusetts) 1-5 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T, General Motors, The Home Depot, and Bank of America 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).