National team for upcoming season announced

By Terry L. Davis | May 23, 2019, 11:04 a.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 23, 2019

USA Curling's High Performance Program Team for 2019-20 announced 

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Several new faces and a couple of retirements highlight this year’s announcement of the USA Curling High Performance Program (HPP) athletes for the 2019-20 season.

Three women’s and three men’s teams as well as a pool of mixed doubles athletes make up the national team for the upcoming season. The athletes invited into the program were selected by Derek Brown, Director of High Performance, and National Coaches Phill Drobnick and Pete Fenson.

There are very few changes to the men’s national program, which is led by Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.). John Shuster’s team will remain the same after a successful season in which they won the second stage of the Curling World Cup in Omaha, the 2019 National Championships and finished the season ranked No. 12 in the world. Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) were fifth at the 2019 World Men’s Championship and had seven playoff appearances at World Curling Tour (WCT) events.

Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.) will join Rich Ruohonen’s team as the fifth player. Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and teammates Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Colin Hufman (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Phil Tilker (Seattle) finished second to Shuster at the 2019 Nationals after winning the title in 2018. The third men’s team will feature Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.), Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.), Mark Fenner (Bemidji, Minn.) and Alex Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.). Team Fenner was fourth at the 2019 Nationals and is currently ranked No. 26 in the world.

The women’s national program, led by Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), will feature one new team and several lineup changes. Nina Roth’s rink remains the same as last season with Tabitha Peterson (St. Paul, Minn.), Aileen Geving (Duluth, Minn.), Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), and Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.). Geving, who gave birth to her first child in December, returns to the lineup for the 2019-20 season. Team Roth is currently the top-ranked U.S. women’s team as they finished the season No. 20 with three playoff appearances at WCT events.

Three-time national champion Jamie Sinclair (Osgoode, Ontario) and 2018-19 teammates Sarah Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Taylor Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.) welcome Olympian Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) to the team for 2019-20. Team Sinclair was No. 31 on the Tour and represented the U.S. at the 2019 World Women’s Championship, finishing seventh.

The third women’s team will be skipped by two-time U.S. junior champion Madison Bear (Minneapolis, Minn.), who played lead for Christensen in 2018-19. Bear will team up with three athletes who just finished their junior curling careers – Jenna Burchesky (Walpole, Mass.), Lexi Lanigan (Duluth, Minn.) and Emily Quello (Bemidji, Minn.) – as well as Katie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.). Quello and Dubberstein are new to the program while Lanigan and Burchesky were a part of the Junior HPP for the last several seasons.

Monica Walker and Jenna Martin have retired from competitive curling after many years in the program. “A huge thanks to Monica and Jenna for all of their hard work and dedication to the HP Program over many years,” Brown said.

There will also be a pool of athletes competing in mixed doubles and/or as fifth players announced at a later date. The U.S. met four of six milestones set by the U.S. Olympic Committee during the 2018-19 season.

“Any time your program wins a world championship medal, you have to reflect that it was a great season. The mixed doubles bronze medal, winning a World Cup, along with other World Cup medal finishes, combined with some Grand Slam semifinals and numerous other WCT results, helps confirm that we did have a great season,” Brown said. “Our athletes continue to perform on the world stage and there is an ever-increasing standard of play at our National Championships, which can only help us achieve more podium finishes in the future. I am excited for our teams, both old and new to start competing again, and I look forward to our future successes.” 

The Junior HP Program, under the direction of Dave Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.), was announced last month.

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.

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For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, terry.davis@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile).