Birr and Sinnett rinks secure berths to 2019 Nationals

By Terry L. Davis | Jan. 05, 2019, 6:39 p.m. (ET)


Jan. 5, 2019

Birr, Sinnett rinks secure berths to 2019 National Championships

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Two of the four available men’s berths to the 2019 USA Curling National Championships in Kalamazoo were secured this afternoon at the Men’s Challenge Round taking place in Blaine, Minn.


Teams skipped by 2007 national champion Todd Birr (Ham Lake, Minn.) and Chase Sinnett, the youngest skip in the field, will now compete in the upcoming National Championships at Wings Ice Arena next month.


The remaining two men’s spots will be determined from the teams still in contention in the B and C brackets in the triple knockout competition at the Four Seasons Curling Club. The event continues through Sunday evening. The Women’s Challenge Round is in full swing at the Itasca Curling Club in Grand Rapids, Minn., where three berths to Nationals are up for grabs. Alaska’s Ariel Traxler rink (2-0) leads the event early on in the round robin.


Birr and his team of Greg Johnson (Appleton, Wis.), Hunter Clawson (Clarksville, Md.), and Tom O’Connor (Brooklyn Center, Minn.) defeated Steve Birklid’s Seattle-based rink, 10-2, to secure the Nationals spot. Meanwhile, Sinnett (Medfield, Mass.) and teammates Trevor Marquardt (Poynette, Wis.), Jon Harstad (Duluth, Minn.), and Eli Clawson (Clarksville, Md.) defeated Olympian Jason Smith, 5-4, when they stole a point in the extra end.


Live scores and a live webstream from the men’s event are posted at, while live scores for the women’s event also are available.


Four women’s teams and five men’s teams have already qualified for the 2019 Nationals via Order of Merit standings (full list at bottom of press release).

Here is a look at the competing teams in this year’s Men’s and Women’s Challenge Rounds:

Women’s Challenge Round (three teams advance to Nationals):

Team Dubberstein: Annmarie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.), Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska), Jenna Burchesky (Walpole, Mass.), Allison Howell (Chagrin Falls, Ohio)

Team Flannery: Cait Flannery (Mankato, Minn.), Leah Yavarow (Bemidji, Minn.), Lexi Lanigan (Duluth, Minn.), Rebecca Miles (Duluth, Minn.)

Team Podoll: Ann Podoll (Fargo, N.D.), Carissa Thomas (Moorhead, Minn.), Rachel Workin (Fargo, N.D.), Christina Lammers (Reiles Acres, N.D.)

Team Rhyme: Kim Rhyme (Minneapolis, Minn.), Katie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.), Katie Rhyme (Brown Deer, Wis.), Amy Harnden (Blaine, Minn.)

Team Traxler: Ariel Traxler (Fairbanks, Alaska), Emily Quello (Bemidji, Minn.), Rebecca Rodgers (Leyden, Mass.), Sydney Mullaney (Concord, Mass.)

Team Walsh: Sarah Walsh (Oakland, Calif.), Auria Moore (Sacramento, Calif.), Porsche Stephenson (Sacramento, Calif.), BriAnna Weldon (El Cerrito, Calif.)

Remaining men’s teams in contention at the Challenge Round for two remaining spots:

Team Beighton: Sean Beighton (Seattle), Alex Leichter (Boston), Chris Bond (Seattle), Derrick McLean (Bothell, Wash.)

Team Birklid: Steve Birklid (Mountlake Terrace, Wash.), Sam Galey (Seattle), Matt Birklid (Shoreline, Wash.), Nick Connolly (Seattle)

Team Brundidge: Jed Brundidge (West St. Paul, Minn.), Jordan Brown (Elk River, Minn.), Evan Workin (Fargo, N.D.), Cameron Rittenour (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

Team Corbett: Brandon Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.), Derek Corbett (Syracuse, N.Y.), Kent Suslavich (Woodbury, Conn.), Aaron Carlson (East Lansing, Mich.)

Team Imes: Stephen Imes (Upper Arlington, Ohio), Trevor Gau (Durham, N.C.), Chris Sherry (Seattle), Kevin Dolan (Pickerington, Ohio)

Team Nicko: Craig Nicko (Bethel, Minn.), Evan Jensen (Blaine, Minn.), Gabriel Nickel (St. Croix Falls, Wis.), Jim Ivey (St. Paul, Minn.)

Team Smith: Jason Smith (St. Paul, Minn.), Matt Carlson (Mounds View, Minn.), Dan Ruehl (Plymouth, Minn.), Tim Solin (Mahtomedi, Minn.)

Team Steinhaus: Nick Steinhaus (Mapleton, Minn.), Skyler Slusar (Hallock, Minn.), Ethan Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), Mitch Wilson (Delafield, Wis.)

Teams already qualified to compete in the 2019 National Championships:


Team Christensen: Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.), Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.), Madison Bear (Pardeeville, Wis.)

Team Roth: Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.), Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.), Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.)

Team Senneker: Stephanie Senneker (Port Huron, Mich.), Rebecca Andrew (West Henrietta, N.Y.), Emilia Juocys (Lathrup Village, Mich.), Maya Willertz (Midland, Mich.)

Team Sinclair: Jamie Sinclair (Manotick, Ontario), Sarah Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Taylor Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.)


Team Birr: Todd Birr (Ham Lake, Minn.), Hunter Clawson (Clarksville, Md.), Greg Johnson (Appleton, Wis.), Tom O’Connor (Brooklyn Center, Minn.)

Team Dunnam: Scott Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.), Cody Clouser (Berwyn, Pa.), Daniel Dudt (Malvern, Pa.), Andrew Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.)

Team Fenner: Mark Fenner (Bemidji, Minn.), Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.), Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.), Alex Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)

Team Ruohonen: Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Colin Hufman (Minneapolis, Minn.), Phil Tilker (Seattle)

Team Shuster: John Shuster (Superior, Wis.), Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.)

Team Sinnett: Chase Sinnett (Medfield, Mass.), Trevor Marquardt (Poynette, Wis.), Jon Harstad (Duluth, Minn.), Eli Clawson (Clarksville, Md.)

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.)

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, BroomsUp Curling Supplies, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, Thorne, ISS (Ice, Sports & Solar), and Twin Cities Orthopedics, and is partnered with Carhartt, 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).