FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 15, 2019
Roth, Ruohonen join Sinclair and Shuster in championship finals at 2019 National Championships
(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – After nine round robin games and two rounds of playoffs, four teams remain panning for gold at the 2019 USA Curling National Championships.
With Jamie Sinclair and John Shuster booking their spots in Saturday’s gold-medal games earlier in the day, the coveted final berths were up for grabs tonight as the semifinals unfolded in front of a sold-out crowd at Wings Event Center.
2018 Olympian Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and defending national champion Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) came out victorious to clinch spots in the championship finals tomorrow.
“We love the crowds. It’s really cool to have this many people watching so we just play into them and we’re just dancing and having fun out there before games. We like to just go out there and stay loose and the crowds help with that,” Roth said.
Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and teammates Tabitha Peterson (St. Paul, Minn.), Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) and Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) will take on Sinclair after a clutch last-rock draw to the button to defeat Cory Christensen’s team, 7-5.
“We’ve had two really great games against them, we always rise to the occasion, and we just have to pull out the next game,” Roth said about the gold-medal matchup.
Two fantastic draws from Roth in the eighth end resulted in a game-changing steal of two points as her team grabbed the game’s momentum.
“We were looking for our opportunities and it kind of just fell in our lap. I made a really good freeze and Cory was in a really good position to score two or three and my freeze kind of saved it – my team swept it perfectly. And then we had a really good opportunity to put one on the lid, and I’m just really happy we did it to put some pressure on her,” Roth said.
Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.) and Madison Bear (Minneapolis, Minn.) converted a fantastic hit and roll against four Roth stones to score a point in the ninth end. Needing to steal a point to force an extra end, Christensen’s team got a stone positioned in the four-foot early in the 10th and kept it in play until the last stone was thrown. Roth’s team had a momentary hiccup with the first skip stone that allowed Christensen to sink another stone into the four-foot. Aided by strong sweeping from Hamilton and Tara Peterson, Team Roth guided the stone into a winning spot.
Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and his team of Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.) and Phil Tilker (Seattle) limited Todd Birr’s offense as they earned a 6-5 victory to head to the gold-medal game against Shuster.
“We’ve had a very long season, I think we played at least ten events this year, so we put together a very good event this week, and we just have to get sharper next game,” Persinger said.
Birr (Ham Lake, Minn.) and his team of Greg Johnson (Appleton, Wis.), Hunter Clawson (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Tom O’Connor (Robbinsdale, Minn.) had a shot for two in the 10th end that would have sent the game into an extra end, but the shooter rolled out and they only picked up a point.
The women’s championship final will take place at 11 a.m. ET while the men’s gold-medal game will be contested at 3 p.m. The winners will advance to the 2019 World Championships. The Women’s World Championship is set for March 16-24 in Silkeborg, Denmark. The 2019 World Men’s Championship is March 30-April 7 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
Team Shuster: John Shuster (Superior, Wis.), Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.)
Team Ruohonen: Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Colin Hufman (Minneapolis, Minn.), Phil Tilker (Seattle), Jared Allen (Nashville, Tenn.)
Team Sinclair: Jamie Sinclair (Manotick, Ontario), Sarah Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Taylor Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.)
Team Roth: Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.), Tabitha Peterson (St. Paul, Minn.), Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Tara Peterson (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.), Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.), Madison Bear (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Todd Birr (Ham Lake, Minn.), Greg Johnson (Appleton, Wis.), Hunter Clawson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Tom O’Connor (Robbinsdale, Minn.), Michael Roos (Nashville, Tenn.)
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).