National Championships begin Saturday in Fargo

By Terry L. Davis | March 01, 2018, 7:54 a.m. (ET)


Feb. 28, 2018


2018 National Championships begin Saturday in Fargo


(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Scheels Arena in Fargo is set to host the 2018 USA Curling National Championships, which get underway Saturday in North Dakota.


Eighteen teams will take to the ice at Scheels Arena, a 5,000-seat hockey arena located in southwest Fargo and home to the USHL hockey team the Fargo Force, Fargo high school hockey and many other special events. USA Curling and Scheels Arena are partnering with the Fargo-Moorhead Curling Club and Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau in hosting the event.


The weeklong national event features the top men’s and women’s teams in the country and helps determine Team USA for the subsequent World Championships. The 2018 World Men’s Championship will take place March 31-April 8 in Las Vegas, Nev., while the 2018 World Women’s Championship will be staged March 17-25 in North Bay, Ontario.


This year’s field features many first-time participants, especially in the women’s eight-team field, which is very young. Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.) is the defending champion with her team of Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.), Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), and Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.) having had a very successful season so far with many top finishes internationally. The women’s Olympic team, led by Nina Roth, will not be competing in the Nationals as they just returned from South Korea. Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.), who was the alternate at the Olympics, will lead her team that finished third at the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in November. Sarah Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.) will skip the team until Christensen arrives on Monday.


The men’s 10-team division is a blend of past champions and skips making their Nationals debut. The John Shuster rink, which just won gold at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, is the defending champion but the team will not be competing at the Nationals as they partake in a media tour to help grow the sport of curling. Three skips who have won previously – Pete Fenson (eight-time champion), Todd Birr, 2007 champion and Heath McCormick, 2012 champion, look to add another title to their resumes. Greg Persinger, 2013 champion as vice skip, will lead a team of athletes who have all previously won the national title as well.


Fargo, which hosted the 2011 National Championships and 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling, will stage the Nationals through March 10. The teams will play a preliminary round robin beginning on Saturday afternoon through Wednesday followed by Page playoffs for the top four teams in each division. The championship games will be played on March 10 (12:30 p.m., women’s final and 5 p.m., men’s final). A live webstream, produced by the 12th End Sports Network in partnership with USA Curling and the U.S. Olympic Committee, and live scores will be posted at


Here is a look at the full competing field for the 2018 National Championships:

Women: 8-team field

Team Anderson: Emily Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), Sherri Schummer (St. Paul, Minn.), Katie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.), Libby Brundage (Prospect Harbor, Maine)

Team Christensen: Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.), Sarah Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Taylor Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.), Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.)

Team Rhyme: Kim Rhyme (Minneapolis, Minn.), Rebecca Andrew (West Henrietta, N.Y.), Katie Rhyme (Brown Deer, Wis.), Amy Harnden (Blaine, Minn.)

Team Sinclair: Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.), Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.), Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.)

Team McMakin: Christine McMakin (St. Paul, Minn.), Suzanna Viau (Plover, Wis.), Anna Netteberg (Roseville, Minn.), Mairin Barrett (Woodbury, Minn.)

Team Podoll: Ann Podoll (Fargo, N.D.), Carissa Thomas (Moorhead, Minn.), Rachel Workin (Fargo, N.D.), Christina Lammers (Reiles Acres, N.D.)

Team Farrell: Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska), Cait Flannery (Mankato, Minn.), Lexi Lanigan (Duluth, Minn.), Rebecca Miles (Duluth, Minn.)

Team Podoll: Beth Podoll (Fargo, N.D.), Emily Quello (Bemidji, Minn.), Susan Dudt (Malvern, Pa.), Rebecca Rodgers (Leyden, Mass.)

Men: 10-team field

Team Birr: Todd Birr (Ham Lake, Minn.), John Benton (Blaine, Minn.), Hunter Clawson (Clarksville, Md.), Tom O’Connor (Brooklyn Center, Minn.)

Team Brundidge: Jed Brundidge (West St. Paul, Minn.), Jordan Brown (Elk River, Minn.), Evan Workin (Fargo, N.D.), Cameron Rittenour (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

Team Connolly: Nick Connolly (Seattle), Chase Sinnett (Medfield, Mass.), Andy Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.), Andrew McDonald (Hudson, Ohio)

Team Dunnam: Scott Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.), Cody Clouser (Berwyn, Pa.), Trevor Host (St. Paul, Minn.), Ethan Meyers (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Team Fenson: Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Mark Fenner (Bemidji, Minn.), Alex Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)

Team Leichter: Alex Leichter (Boston), Martin Sather (Yonkers, N.Y.), Chris Bond (Seattle), Jared Wydysh (Fairport, N.Y.)

Team McCormick: Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario), Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.), Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.)

Team Nernberger: Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.), Sean Beighton (Seattle), Derrick McLean (Bothell, Wash.), Quinn Evenson (Duluth, Minn.)

Team Persinger: Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.), Phil Tilker (Seattle)

Team Smith: Tucker Smith (Bismarck, N.D.), Kyle Kakela (Rolla, N.D.), Stephen Dropkin (Minneapolis, Minn.), Will Pryor (Minneapolis, Minn.)

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Cheetos, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, Thorne, BalancePlus, ISS Ice, Sports & Solar, and Brakebush, and is partnered with Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, United Airlines, 12th End Sports Network, and CurlingZone.




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