USA Curling Features Five playoff spots s...

Five playoff spots secured in Kalamazoo

By Terry L. Davis | Feb. 13, 2019, 10:13 p.m. (ET)


Feb. 13, 2019


Five playoff berths secured at 2019 National Championships


(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – With just two draws left in the round robin, the race to the playoffs advanced from marathon pace to a sprint tonight at the 2019 USA Curling National Championships at Wings Event Center.


Stephanie Senneker had the upset of the day as her squad broke Jamie Sinclair’s 17-game win streak at the Nationals dating back to 2017 in Everett, Wash., when she won her first title.


“We’ve been kind of flying under the radar as far as everybody can tell,” said Senneker. “A lot of these other teams don’t know who we are because we’ve been kind of hanging out in Ontario doing our own thing so it is kind of fun to come out and play well against a good team – and come up with a win.”


The 6-4 win kept the Senneker (Port Huron, Mich.) and her team of Rebecca Andrew (Rochester, N.Y.), Emilia Juocys (Lathrup Village, Mich.) and Maya Willertz (Midland, Mich.) very well in the playoff hunt as they are tied for third place with Cory Christensen’s team at 4-2.


“We just came in quiet and played our own game,” Willertz said. “That’s what we’re really good at, we’re good at screwing our heads on straight and throwing our own rocks. We work really well together and we kind of just keep each other calm, and lots of nap times.”


After securing an 11-5 victory over Ariel Traxler’s team, Nina Roth’s rink is now in a tie for first place with Sinclair. Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and teammates Tabitha Peterson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) and Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) scored six points in the fourth end and then maintained control over most of the game. At 5-1, both Sinclair and Roth are now qualified for the playoffs.


“Obviously getting a six is always good but then we maybe kind of mentally checked out a little bit,” Peterson said. “Then they kept stealing and stealing and we weren’t getting a totally good feel for the ice. I don’t know if it was changing or the rocks, but we were struggling a little bit mid game. But, we were patient and we knew were still in a good spot and would get our two eventually.” The women’s round robin concludes tomorrow at 11 a.m.


In men’s competition tonight, John Shuster’s team bounced back from its earlier loss in a big way as they scored six points in the fourth end to fuel a 9-3 win over Todd Birr’s rink. The victory clinched a playoff spot for Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and his team of Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.). Despite the loss, Birr also is qualified for the Page 3-4 playoff game.


Those guys had a really good game, and we played decent, just a couple bad picks, and a couple bad breaks. But, we know we’re playing good and decided, just go out there and keep doing what we’re doing and good things will happen,” Hamilton said. “Going undefeated is great, it makes you feel good, and winning that round robin would have been nice but today was about making the playoff and winning the (Page) 1-2 game. We’re going to go into tomorrow, stay loose and try to stay on our game and go into the playoffs and get momentum.”



Rich Ruohonen’s rink also secured a playoff spot as they earned an 8-2 triumph over Steven Birklid’s team. The wins put Shuster and Ruohonen both at 7-1 and into the Page 1-2 playoff on Friday afternoon.


“We just have to keep doing the small things, follow the processes, stick to our goal this week,” Tilker said. “We have to keep doing our jobs and usually results follow.”


Mark Fenner’s team continued its climb back up the standings as they earned a 9-8 win over Sam Strouse tonight to move into sole possession of fourth place with a 5-3 record. With one round robin game left tomorrow afternoon, the final playoff berth will be on the line when Fenner matches up against Birr’s team. Steve Birklid’s team needs a loss by Fenner and a win tomorrow over Jed Brundidge to put them in a tiebreaker game for that coveted last spot.


In the other two matches tonight, Brandon Corbett’s team got past Brundidge, 9-6, and Scott Dunnam collected a 6-5 victory over Chase Sinnett.


Men’s 7 p.m. results: Shuster 9, Birr 3; Ruohonen 8, Birklid 2; Corbett 9, Brundidge 6; Dunnam 6, Sinnett 5; Fenner 9, Strouse 8


Women’s 2 p.m. results: Christensen 10, Podoll 8; Senneker 6, Sinclair 4; Roth 11, Traxler 5; Dubberstein 9, Rhyme 4


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


Women’s standings:

Jamie Sinclair (Manotick, Ontario)           5-1Q

Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.)                     5-1Q

Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.)             4-2

Stephanie Senneker (Port Huron, Mich.) 4-2

Annmarie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.)   3-3

Ariel Traxler (Fairbanks, Alaska)               2-4

Ann Podoll (Fargo, N.D.)                             1-5

Kim Rhyme (Minneapolis, Minn.)             0-6


Men’s standings:

Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)   7-1Q

John Shuster (Superior, Wis.)                    7-1Q

Todd Birr (Ham Lake, Minn.)                     6-2Q

Mark Fenner (Bemidji, Minn.)                   5-3

Steven Birklid (Seattle)                               4-4

Chase Sinnett (Medfield, Mass.)               3-5

Brandon Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.)           3-5

Scott Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.)                     3-5

Jed Brundidge (West St. Paul, Minn.)      1-7

Sam Strouse (Midland, Mich.)                  1-7

Q=qualified to playoffs


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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Stephanie Senneker

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John Shuster

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Jamie Sinclair

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Nina Roth

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Rich Ruohonen

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Todd Birr