Challenge Round begins Thursday

By Terry Kolesar | Jan. 07, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
Jan. 7, 2014

Nationals Challenge Round begins this week in Minnesota, North Dakota

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - The final six men's and women's teams for the upcoming 2014 USA Curling National Championships presented by Labatt will be determined this week as the Challenge Round gets underway.

The Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, Minn., will host 20 men's teams. Competition begins Thursday night for six spots to the 2014 Nationals, which will take place March 1-8 at the IceWorks in Aston, Pa., on the heels of the closing ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

The four-sheet Grafton Curling Club in Grafton, N.D., is the site for the nine women's teams competing for the final six Nationals berths. That competition gets underway Friday night. Live scoring, courtesy of USA Curling partner CurlingZone, can be found at Live scores can be found here.

The first eight teams have already been determined for the Nationals. Nationals spots were awarded to four High Performance Program teams - John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.), Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), and Cassie Potter (St. Paul, Minn.). The other four spots were awarded based on Order of Merit (OOM) Points Standings as of Dec. 19. Those spots were awarded to teams skipped by Nina Spatola (McFarland, Wis.), Courtney George (St. Paul, Minn.), Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario) and Brady Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.). 

The process to determine Team USA for the 2014 World Championships has been updated. USA's World Championship teams will be the men's and women's teams with the highest overall OOM points total at the conclusion of the 2014 USA Curling National Championships who have placed in the top three in their respective national championship. If there is a tie in points, the team placing highest among the top three at the Nationals will qualify as USA's World Championship team. To view the current OOM points, click here.

The 2014 Women's World Championship will take place March 15-23 in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. The 2014 Men's World Championship is scheduled March 29-April 6 in Beijing, China, marking the first time that China will host a world curling championship.

Teams already qualified for the 2014 Nationals include:

Team George: Courtney George (St. Paul, Minn.), Aileen Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.), Amanda McLean (St. Paul, Minn.), Monica Walker (Brighton, Mass.)

Team Potter: Cassie Potter (St. Paul, Minn.), Jamie Haskell (Bemidji, Minn.), Jackie Lemke (Medford, Wis.), Stephanie Sambor (White Bear Lake, Minn.)

Team Pottinger: Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Verona, Wis.), Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.), Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.)

Team Spatola: Nina Spatola (McFarland, Wis.), Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.), Sophie Brorson (Minneapolis, Minn.)

*The women's 2014 Olympic team qualified for the Nationals but has opted not to compete. 

Team Clark: Brady Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.), Sean Beighton (Seattle), Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Philip Tilker (Seattle)

Team Fenson: Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.), Ryan Brunt (Portage, Wis.)

Team McCormick: Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario), Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Rich Ruohonen (Minneapolis, Minn.), Colin Hufman (Seattle)

Team Shuster: John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.), John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.)

To view the list of teams competing in the Challenge Round and to view the complete competition schedule, click here

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, BalancePlus and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, and is partnered with Hilton, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.

Visit the USA Curling website at and connect with USA Curling on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare.


For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).