USA Curling Features Shuster and Ruohonen...

Shuster and Ruohonen undefeated in Kalamazoo

By Terry L. Davis | Feb. 10, 2019, 9:33 p.m. (ET)


Feb. 10, 2019


Ruohonen, Shuster lead men’s field at 2019 National Championships


(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – Experience is paying off for several skips here at the 2019 USA Curling National Championships.


Six-time champion John Shuster and defending champ Rich Ruohonen lead the men’s division after improving to 3-0 this afternoon at Wings Event Center.


Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and teammates Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Colin Hufman (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Phil Tilker (Seattle) took Mark Fenner’s team to the final stone to earn an 8-3 victory. Down two, Fenner’s team missed its final takeout of the game to give up a steal.


“It’s been a long one. If you’re gonna wake up at six to come curling, you want to win, so we’re happy with how it turned out,” Hufman said about the two wins today. “The team we just played, they’re one of the better teams in the states. We played them three times, I think, this year and they beat us twice. We beat them a little more, I’d say, when it counted, so we’re happy to have the two wins we have over those guys.”

Ruohonen’s team shot 97 percent as they earned their third victory.

“We feel great. We came into this week super confident. We’ve been playing really well all year. One thing we have that no other team has – I think our sweeping is a little better than everyone else here, which gives us a little more room on every single shot, so it’s hard not to be confident,” Hufman said.


Shuster and his team of Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) handed Scott Dunnam’s rink its second loss as they swept past them, 9-5. Brandon Corbett and Todd Birr picked up key wins to improve to 2-1 to create a three-way tie for third place with Fenner’s team. At the end of the round robin, the top four men’s teams will advance to the Page playoffs. Birr’s squad used a balanced approach to earn an 8-6 victory over Steven Birklid’s Seattle squad. Corbett’s team held off Sam Strouse’s rink, 8-7. Chase Sinnett’s team earned its first win of the tournament as they defeated Jed Brundidge, 11-5.


So a lot of what we play here is what it feels like to be in junior playoffs so we just take the experience that we have from that and kind of just play it through like that,” said Sinnett, a student at Clark University. “It’s way easier to deal with pressure and deal with tough shots if you just treat it like the playoffs, I guess.”


Men’s 4 p.m. results: Shuster 9, Dunnam 5; Birr 8, Birklid 6; Sinnett 11, Brundidge 5; Ruohonen 8, Fenner 3; Corbett 8, Strouse 7


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


Men’s standings:

Rich Ruohonen                3-0

John Shuster                    3-0

Todd Birr                           2-1

Brandon Corbett             2-1

Mark Fenner                    2-1

Steven Birklid                   1-2

Scott Dunnam                 1-2

Chase Sinnett                   1-2

Jed Brundidge                 0-3

Sam Strouse                    0-3


Women’s standings:

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


How to watch: Live action from each draw is featured at in partnership with the 12th End Sports Network and the United States Olympic Committee.


Live scores & social media: Live scores are posted at 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,, 608-338-9900 (mobile).

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