Three teams still perfect in round robin action at 2018 Nationals

By Terry L. Davis | March 05, 2018, 9:28 p.m. (ET)


March 5, 2018


2018 National Championships continue in Fargo


(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Greg Persinger’s team is alone at the top of the men’s standings as they kept their perfect record intact today at the 2018 USA Curling National Championships.


Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.), and Phil Tilker (Seattle) defeated Pete Fenson’s team, 6-3, in the battle of the undefeated teams this morning at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D.


“I thought we were in control of it and won the hammer. We pretty much controlled the whole game and were never really in big trouble,” said Rich Ruohonen, vice skip for Team Persinger. “Pete made a couple of big shots to save them. We’re playing well and putting rocks in the right spot. Our misses are the right side misses and there haven’t been many misses. I wouldn’t be surprised if we shot in the nineties across the board.”


Fenson’s rink is now 3-1 and tied for second place with Heath McCormick’s team, which defeated Kroy Nernberger’s rink, 5-4.


“We kind of got off to a slow start and were having a difficult time capitalizing at the right moments. The other boys were throwing really well and making some crazy shots. It was definitely a battle out there today,” said Korey Dropkin, second on Team McCormick. “The whole week is gonna be a grind. Starting out 3-1, we’re in pretty good position I’d say. We just have to keep focusing on staying in the present and one game at a time.”


Jed Brundidge’s team won its second straight game to move into a four-way tie for fourth place after getting past Tucker Smith’s team, 7-4. Alex Leichter led his team into the win column with an 8-1 triumph over Todd Birr’s team, which lost its second straight game. Nick Connolly’s junior team also improved to 2-2 with a 7-5 victory over Scott Dunnam’s team. The men’s teams return to the ice at 7 p.m. CT tonight.


“The boys are making shots in front of me and it makes my life a little easier. It’s easy to win that way when you’re making shots,” said Brundidge, who is playing in his first Nationals.


In women’s action this afternoon, the defending champions skipped by Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.) improved to 3-0 with a 10-6 win over Cora Farrell’s junior team. Cory Christensen’s rink kept pace for the top spot with a 10-6 victory over Christine McMakin’s team to reach a 3-0 record as well.


“Our first two games were really conservative so lots of hits and we were able to practice how the ice was moving and how we wanted to throw. Today’s game was a little more aggressive with a lot of rocks in play. But, I think we have a really good handle on the different paths and speeds we want to throw,” said Monica Walker, lead for Team Sinclair.


Beth Podoll’s team earned its first win of the championship with a 7-5 triumph over Kim Rhyme’s team. “It was really good. Going into this week we wanted to take every team to the last shot and we definitely did that,” Beth Podoll said. “It feels amazing. Every win is a bonus for us. We started off a little be shaky but came back and we’re on our game now.”


Emily Anderson’s rink also got into the win column of the seven-game round robin by stealing a point in an extra end to defeat Ann Podoll’s Fargo rink, 5-4. “The first one always feels good,” Anderson said. “We came into this game really positive knowing that we had our two toughest games at the beginning of the week. We wanted to build off that and were happy with our we were playing.” 


The round robin action continues through Wednesday with the top four teams advancing to the Page playoffs.


A live webstream, produced by the 12th End Sports Network in partnership with USA Curling and the U.S. Olympic Committee, and live scores are posted at


Men’s standings:

Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska)           4-0

Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)                    3-1

Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario)         3-1

Todd Birr (Ham Lake, Minn.)                     2-2

Jed Brundidge (West St. Paul, Minn.)      2-2

Nick Connolly (Seattle)                               2-2

Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.)            2-2

Alex Leichter (Boston)                                1-3

Tucker Smith (Bismarck, N.D.)                   1-3

Scott Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.)                     0-4


Women’s standings:

Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.)             3-0

Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.)                  3-0

Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska)                2-1

Emily Anderson (Broomall, Pa.)                1-2

Christine McMakin (St. Paul, Minn.)        1-2

Ann Podoll (Fargo, N.D.)                             1-2

Beth Podoll (Fargo, N.D.)                           1-2

Kim Rhyme (Minneapolis, Minn.)             0-3


What’s at stake:

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.


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).