CURLING: Illinois wins battle of unbeaten teams at U.S. Club Nationals

March 03, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 3, 2008 Illinois wins battle of unbeaten teams at U.S. Club Nationals (STEVENS POINT, Wis.)-Illinois beat North Dakota 9-8 in a thrilling battle of unbeaten teams at the U.S. Club Nationals in Mankato, Minn. In a game with five lead changes, Illinois' deuce in the 10th and final end cinched their victory. Illinois skip Jeff Wright, had in January skipped his"over 50s"team to a runner-up finish at the USCA Senior Men's Nationals. Now, with two different players, his Exmoor Curling Club rink is tied for the Club Nationals lead at 3-0. Wright, of Libertville, Ill., and Nils Johansson (Highland Park) played on that senior team, and now have Exmoor Curling Club mates Russ Brown (Lake Forest), Ken Brown (Deerfield) and Steve Waters in the line-up. North Dakota, which falls to 2-1, is skipped by Rick Tangedal, Rory Wolter, Brent Overland and Karl Merk of the Williston Basin Curling Club. All hail from Williston except Overland, who is from White Earth. Maryland, Minnesota and Wisconsin 1 also improved to 3-0 with wins this afternoon. Maryland shut out Colorado 21-0. Scott Edie's Potomac Curling Club rink (Laurel, Md.) built an insurmountable 12-1 lead after three ends. The Colorado team, skipped by Brett Gleeson and from the Broadmoor Curling Club of Colorado Springs, is fairly new to curling, and is thus gaining valuable experience at the national level against more experienced teams, but that experience has thus far come at the cost of three lopsided defeats. Reuben Harris and his St. Paul, Minnesota team broke a 2-2 tie with two successive three ends to beat Washington, 11-3. Skip John Rasmussen's Washington rink, representing the Seattle Granite Curling Club, fell to 0-3. Dave Brown's Wisconsin 1 foursome from Madison defeated Ohio's Stuart Cohen rink of Columbus 10-4 breaking open a close game with a steal of four points in the fifth end. In a game matching 0-2 teams, Wisconsin 2 broke into the win column, building a 5-1 lead over Oregon after four ends and maintaining game control thereafter to win 8-4. Ian Journeaux skips Wisconsin 2, curling out of the Poynette Curling Club. Oregon's Evergreen Curling Club rink is skipped by Doug Schaak. The action continues today with draws at 8 p.m. The round robin concludes Friday afternoon. The top four teams qualify for Saturday morning's semifinals. The men's and women's championship finals are set for 2 p.m. Saturday. The U.S. Club Nationals, now in its fourth year, does not lead to the World Championships, rather rewards the top league-playing team in the U.S. The winners of the recent U.S. National Championships in Hibbing represent the U.S. at the Worlds. Standings: Men: Illinois (Wright) 3-0 Maryland (Edie) 3-0 Minnesota (Harris) 3-0 Wisconsin 1 (Brown) 3-0 North Dakota (Tangedal) 2-1 Wisconsin 2 (Journeaux) 1-2 Colorado (Gleeson) 0-3 Ohio (Cohen) 0-3 Oregon (Schaak) 0-3 Washington (Rasmussen) 0-3 Women: Maryland (Drummie) 2-0 Minnesota (O'Leary) 2-0 New York (Meechai) 2-0 Wisconsin (Pahl) 2-0 Illinois (Lawless) 1-1 North Dakota 1 (Bohlman) 1-1 Arizona (Tait) 0-2 North Dakota 2 (Jaster) 0-2 Ohio (Festersen) 0-2 Texas (Willingham) 0-2 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).