High Performance Program Team for upcoming season announced

By Terry L. Davis | May 27, 2016, 4:37 p.m. (ET)


May 27, 2016

USA Curling's High Performance Team for 2016-17 announced 

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Forty-five athletes have received and accepted invitations to be a part of USA Curling’s High Performance Program (HPP) for the 2016-17 season.

On the heels of a productive season by USA’s athletes on the World Curling Tour and at international competitions, the HPP will expand to six adult teams and four junior teams for the upcoming season.

As part of the selection process, an athlete combine was held for the third consecutive year to evaluate athletes being considered for the program. Thirty-four athletes were invited to the combine, which took place May 21-23 at the U.S. Olympic Training Site for curling at Fogerty Arena in Blaine, Minn. Athletes were assessed on technical, tactical, physical and mental skills both on and off the ice. The 34 athletes who participated in the combine were considered alongside all 31 of the 2015-16 HPP athletes who indicated they wished to be considered for the 2016-17 program.

The combine was a part of the overall selection criteria for the HPP. The athletes invited into the program were selected by Derek Brown, Director of High Performance, and HPP national coaches, who currently include Scott Baird (Bemidji, Minn.), Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.), Ann Swisshelm (Chicago), Wally Henry (Beaver Dam, Wis.), and Dave Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.). Rick Patzke, USA Curling's chief executive officer, also was involved in overseeing the process.

“I am excited by the high caliber of applicants once again, and it is a shame that we only have room for six adult teams as so many more athletes have the potential to be part of the program,” Brown said.

In addition, Jensen has been appointed to direct the USA Curling Junior Development Program, which now includes two junior women’s and two junior men’s teams. As national coach, Jensen will oversee and work with team coaches and athletes.

“I am so excited about the direction USA Curling has taken with regard to junior and youth curling,” Jensen said. “The new U-18 National Championship has already created quite a buzz, and the changes to our junior world team selection process promises to give us the best chance for sustained success at the world level, which is critical for our adult athlete pipeline. My goal is to be innovative in a way that results in long-term success for USA Curling’s junior program.”

During the 2015-16 season, the HPP’s athletes and staff accomplished seven of eight performance benchmarks set by the United States Olympic Committee, including five medals at international competitions (three silver medals and two bronze medals).

Those who accepted invitations into the HPP will have a clear understanding of expectations, commitments, competition and training schedules, and funding.  Performance goals, targets and measurements will be set and these will be reviewed throughout the year.

The six adult teams will attend a training camp in June at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., as well as additional camps this summer in preparation for the season.

Here is a look at the athletes who accepted invitations into the HPP for the 2016-17 season:


Sarah Anderson (Broomall, Pa.)*

Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Pa.)*

Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.)

Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.)*

Jenna Haag (Milwaukee, Wis.)*

Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.)*

Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska)*

Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.)*

Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.)*

Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.)*

Jamie Sinclair (Blaine, Minn.)*

Aileen Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.)*

Monica Walker (Brighton, Mass.)*

Junior Women:

Madison Bear (Portage, Wis.)*

Jenna Burchesky (Walpole, Mass.)

Annmarie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.)

Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska)

Cait Flannery (Mankato, Minn.)

Allison Howell (Solon, Ohio)

Lexi Lanigan (Duluth, Minn.)

Christine McMakin (St. Paul, Minn.)*

Rebecca Miles (Duluth, Minn.)


Sean Beighton (Seattle)*

Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.)* 

Korey Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.)* 

Quinn Evenson (Fairbanks, Alaska)*

Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.)*

Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.)*

Tom Howell (Solon, Ohio)*

John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.)*

Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario)

Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.)* 

Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.)* 

Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.)* 

John Shuster (Superior, Wis.)*

Jason Smith (Minneapolis, Minn.)*


Junior men:

Caleb Clawson (Clarksville, Md.)

Hunter Clawson (Clarksville, Md.)

Cody Clouser (Berwyn, Pa.)

Andrew Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.)

Graem Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)

Benjamin Richardson (Issaquah, Wash.)

Andrew Stopera (Ardsley-on-Hudson, N.Y.)

Steven Szemple (Edison, N.J.)

Luc Violette (Lake Stevens, Wash.)

*member of 2015-16 HPP team

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, BalancePlus, Skills.com, and is partnered with Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, Hilton HHonors, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.


For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, terry.davis@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).