FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 10, 2019
2019 National Championships continue in Kalamazoo
(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – The defending national champions look focused on retaining their titles as Rich Ruohonen and Jamie Sinclair secured round robin wins today at the 2019 USA Curling National Championships.
Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and teammates Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Colin Hufman (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Phil Tilker (Seattle) are 2-0 after securing a 9-3 win over Jed Brundidge’s team this morning at Wings Event Center.
“We got to tighten it up a little bit, but we’re playing all right,” Ruohonen said. “We’ve had a few bad ends here and there, but overall we’re playing well enough to win. We just have to get sharper as the week goes on, but it’s good to be 2-0 at this point.”
Mark Fenner and John Shuster also improved to 2-0 to lead the men’s division. Fenner (St. Anthony, Minn.) and teammates Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.), Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.) and Alex Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) got past Brandon Corbett’s team, 8-3.
“This is the start that we were hoping for coming into the week,” said Dropkin, who throws last stones. “We got a good grasp of the ice. We got a little tripped up here a couple times, but we’ve been capitalizing early and kind of figuring it out and adjusting as the games go on. That’s what it’s going to be about this whole week and really grasping that draw weight and getting our groove on.”
Todd Birr and Steven Birklid led their teams into the win column today as Birr’s rink rallied to defeat Scott Dunnam, 9-7, and Birklid powered past Sam Strouse’s junior team, 8-7.
“Well you know, lack of age and experience is always a disadvantage, but I’m in the same boat. I may be older than them, but this is my first competition too,” said Birklid, who is in the skip role for the first time at Nationals. “We know how we like to play, curling isn’t all about one shot. We just want to push that edge, try to get inch, inch, inch, and build an advantage over the course of seven, eight shots. There’s really no way to expose some weakness, unless you get a specific scouting report, you know like a guy dumps his out-turn, so let’s throw this shot instead of the other one. But we didn’t have that. But those guys can play, they gave Shuster a run for his money, even though the score didn’t show it – I was watching the game so we didn’t expect to come out here and have it be easy. Every team that is here belongs here.”
The eight women’s took the ice for the first time this afternoon with Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.), Ann Podoll (Fargo, N.D.), Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and Jamie Sinclair (Manotick, Ontario) picking up wins. Sinclair’s team out-shot Ariel Traxler for an 8-2 triumph. Christensen and her team of Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.) and Madison Bear (Minneapolis, Minn.) had a tight match against Annmarie Dubberstein but came away with an 8-4 victory.
Roth’s team stole points in the second half to fuel a 7-3 win over Stephanie Senneker’s rink.
“We’re playing well. We definitely got some stuff we can build off of, but we’re coming off a really good Slam week a couple weeks ago and got some good rest,” Roth said. “We’re feeling good about the week and just ready to keep going.”
Podoll and her Fargo teammates Carissa Thomas (Moorhead, Minn.), Rachel Workin (Fargo, N.D.) and Christina Lammers (Fargo, N.D.) took an early lead and held on to defeat Kim Rhyme’s team, 7-5.
Action continues today with a second session of men’s competition at 4 p.m. followed by a women’s draw at 8 p.m.
Women’s 12 p.m. results: Sinclair 8, Traxler 2; Podoll 7, Rhyme 5; Christensen 8, Dubberstein 4; Roth 7, Senneker 3
Men’s 8 a.m. results: Ruohonen 9, Brundidge 3; Fenner 8, Corbett 3; Birr 9, Dunnam 7; Birklid 8, Strouse 7; Shuster 8, Sinnett 1
Cory Christensen 1-0
Ann Podoll 1-0
Nina Roth 1-0
Jamie Sinclair 1-0
Annmarie Dubberstein 0-1
Kim Rhyme 0-1
Stephanie Senneker 0-1
Ariel Traxler 0-1
Mark Fenner 2-0
Rich Ruohonen 2-0
John Shuster 2-0
Steven Birklid 1-1
Todd Birr 1-1
Brandon Corbett 1-1
Scott Dunnam 1-1
Jed Brundidge 0-2
Chase Sinnett 0-2
Sam Strouse 0-2
How to watch: Live action from each draw is featured at https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Curling/webstream in partnership with the 12th End Sports Network and the United States Olympic Committee.
Live scores & social media: Live scores are posted at www.usacurl.org in partnership with CurlingZone. The official event hashtag is #2019Nats.
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Toyota, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Carhartt, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, Thorne, ISS (Ice, Sports & Solar), and Twin Cities Orthopedics, and is partnered with Brakebush, Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, United Airlines, 12th End Sports Network, IHG, and CurlingZone.
For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile).