Just two teams remain perfect at 2018 Nationals in Fargo

By Terry L. Davis | March 06, 2018, 5:11 p.m. (ET)


March 6, 2018


Two women’s teams still undefeated at 2018 National Championships


(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Cory Christensen and Jamie Sinclair remain undefeated while Greg Persinger’s team suffered its first defeat in today’s action at the 2018 USA Curling National Championships at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D.


Three games went to extra ends in the men’s afternoon session. Todd Birr’s team had a very strong shooting output in defeating Persinger’s rink 6-5 in an extra end. The win improved Birr, the 2007 national champion, to 3-3 in the standings while Persinger’s team is now 5-1.


Heath McCormick’s team secured a 5-4 win over Pete Fenson to move into a tie for first place with Persinger. It was the fourth straight win for the McCormick rink.


“We came out a little shaky at the start of the week and now we’re starting to come into our own,” said Tom Howell, lead for Team McCormick. “Everybody is starting to throw the rock pretty good. We’re just missing by half inches now, so we’re trying to get close and we’re getting closer. We feel good moving forward in the week.”


Alex Leichter led his team to a 3-2 extra-end triumph over Kroy Nernberger’s team to create a four-way tie for fourth place. “We were real close in two of the early losses and had one real stinker,” Leichter said about the team’s 0-3 start. “But, we knew we were just an edge away from a couple of wins early. It was just turning that around and we’ve really managed to do that. By losing our first three, we basically knew we had to win six straight, so we’re halfway there. Now we need to win three more. Last year’s Nationals left a little bitter taste, so I want a little bit of redemption from that.”


Jed Brundidge’s team also survived an extra end as they stole the winning point to defeat Nick Connolly’s team, 6-5. The win moves Brundidge’s team into third place with a 4-2 record.


“That wasn’t the prettiest of games. The first half was definitely dominated by Connolly. I don’t think they missed hardly any shots,” said Jordan Brown (Elk River, Minn.) of Team Brundidge. “Jed (Brundidge) kept us in it. We were able to get our draw weight down in the second half. We had to make tough shots and that’s all we had to do. We snuck one out.”


Scott Dunnam’s team earned its first win of the week with a 7-6 victory over Tucker Smith’s Bismarck rink. Three games remain in the men’s round robin. The top four teams will advance to the Page playoffs.


In women’s competition this morning at Scheels Arena, Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.) kept their teams undefeated as both sides improved to 4-0 in the seven-game round robin.


Sinclair’s team took advantage of scoring opportunities in an 8-3 win over Christine McMakin’s junior team. Christensen’s team had a little closer battle but broke open the game and eventually defeated Ann Podoll’s Fargo rink, 8-4.


Kim Rhyme’s team secured its first win of the championship as they defeated Cora Farrell’s rink, 7-5. Beth Podoll’s Fargo rink secured its second win to be tied for first place with Farrell as they defeated Emily Anderson’s team, 7-5.


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 www.usacurl.org.


Men’s standings:

Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario)         5-1

Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska)           5-1

Jed Brundidge (West St. Paul, Minn.)      4-2

Todd Birr (Ham Lake, Minn.)                     3-3

Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)                    3-3

Alex Leichter (Boston)                                3-3

Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.)            3-3

Nick Connolly (Seattle)                               2-4

Scott Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.)                     1-5

Tucker Smith (Bismarck, N.D.)                   1-5


Women’s standings:

Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.)             4-0

Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.)                  4-0

Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska)                2-2

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

Emily Anderson (Broomall, Pa.)                1-3

Christine McMakin (St. Paul, Minn.)        1-3

Ann Podoll (Fargo, N.D.)                             1-3

Kim Rhyme (Minneapolis, Minn.)             1-3


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, terry.davis@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).