USA Curling High Performance Program athletes named

By Terry L. Davis | May 18, 2018, 3:46 p.m. (ET)


May 18, 2018

USA Curling's High Performance Program Team for 2018-19 announced 

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Coming off of USA Curling’s most successful season on the ice, several personnel changes and team lineups are in store as the 2018-19 USA Curling High Performance Program (HPP) teams are announced today.

The U.S. program accounted for Olympic gold by Team John Shuster and a historic Grand Slam win by Team Jamie Sinclair as well as countless playoff appearances at World Curling Tour and world championship events in the 2017-18 season.

The personnel change to the Shuster rink was announced last week with Tyler George electing to take time off and Chris Plys filling the position on Team Shuster. The other two men’s teams will be led by Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.). Ruohonen will continue with his team that won the national championship in March and made a playoff run at the 2018 World Men’s Championship with Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.) and Phil Tilker (Seattle). Dropkin and longtime teammate Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.) have been reunited with former junior teammates Mark Fenner and Alex Fenson (both of Bemidji, Minn.).

On the women’s side, the Olympic women’s team remains intact with Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.), Tabitha Peterson (St. Paul, Minn.), Aileen Geving (Duluth, Minn.), and Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.).

Sinclair’s team, which finished the 2017-18 season ranked No. 7 on the World Curling Tour Order of Merit year-to-date standings, will include Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.), Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.) and the addition of twins Sarah Anderson and Taylor Anderson (both of Minneapolis, Minn.). Cory Christensen (St. Paul, Minn.) and Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.) will add Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Madison Bear (Pardeeville, Wis.), who just completed her junior career leading Team USA to a fifth-place finish at the World Junior Championships.

There will also be a pool of athletes competing in mixed doubles with other HPP team members and/or competing in men’s events. Those athletes include Derrick McLean (Seattle), Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.), and Sean Beighton (Seattle), with the potential to add some others.

USA Curling received 33 new applications alongside 24 of the current HP athletes who wished to be considered for next season’s selection.

The athletes invited into the program were selected by Derek Brown, Director of High Performance, and HPP national coaching staff, who currently include Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.) and Carlin Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.). Rick Patzke, USA Curling's chief executive officer, also was involved in overseeing the process.

“There have been very few changes in the women’s athletes for season 2018-19, which reflects the continued growth and overall improvements the current group of athletes are making and the considerable success our women’s teams have had on the World Curling Tour,” Brown said. “We are delighted to add Team Ruohonen to the men’s program who have had an excellent run of results since forming in November 2017. It is also great to have our very successful 2016 World Junior silver medalists back together and we are looking forward to next season.”

During the 2017-18 season, the HPP’s athletes and staff accomplished the performance benchmark set by the United States Olympic Committee, which was one Olympic medal.

The Junior HPP Program, under the direction of Dave Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.), was announced last week with four new athletes joining the program – Leah Yavarow (Bemidji, Minn.), Riley Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Trevor Marquardt (Poynette, Wis.), and Eli Clawson (Clarksville, Md.).

Here is a look at the athletes who accepted invitations into the HPP for the 2018-19 season:


Team Christensen:

Cory Christensen (St. Paul, Minn.)

Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska)

Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.)

Madison Bear (Pardeeville, Wis.)

Team Roth:

Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.)

Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.)

Aileen Geving (Duluth, Minn.)

Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.)

Team Sinclair:

Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.)

Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.)

Sarah Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.)

Taylor Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.)


Team Dropkin:

Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.) 

Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.)

Mark Fenner (Bemidji, Minn.)

Alex Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)

Team Ruohonen:

Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)

Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska)

Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.)

Phil Tilker (Seattle)

Team Shuster:

John Shuster (Superior, Wis.)

Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.)

Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.)

John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.)

Mixed doubles pool of athletes:

Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.)

Derrick McLean (Seattle)

Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.)

Sean Beighton (Seattle)

Junior women’s teams:

Team Dubberstein:

Annmarie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.)

Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska)

Jenna Burchesky (Walpole, Mass.)

Allison Howell (Bentleyville, Ohio)

Coach Wayne Anderson (Broomall, Pa.)

Team Flannery:

Cait Flannery (Mankato, Minn.)

Lexi Lanigan (Duluth, Minn.)

Rebecca Miles (Duluth, Minn.)

Leah Yavarow (Bemidji, Minn.)

Coach Bill Rhyme (Green Bay, Wis.)

Junior men’s teams:

Team Stopera:

Andrew Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.)

Luc Violette (Lake Stevens, Wash.)

Ben Richardson (Issaquah, Wash.)

Graem Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)

Riley Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)

Coach Mark Lazar (Toledo, Ohio)

Team Sinnett:

Chase Sinnett (Medfield, Mass.)

Trevor Marquardt (Poynette, Wis.)

Jonathon Harstad (Duluth, Minn.)

Eli Clawson (Clarksville, Md.)

Coach Keith Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.)

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


For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications,, 608-338-9900 (mobile).