RECENT ITEMS

USCA e-STORE

National Championships
Fenson team wins Nationals; headed back to Italy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 13, 2010

 

(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – Put the sauce on, mama. “Pete the pizza man” is returning to Italy.

 

Pete Fenson, owner and operator of a pizza restaurant in Bemidji, Minn., helped deliver USA’s first Olympic medal in curling when he led his team to the bronze in the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy. He and teammates (Bemidji, Minn.), Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) and Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.) defeated the Mike Farbelow rink, 8-4, at Wings Stadium this afternoon to win the 2010 USA Curling National Championship. They will now represent USA at the 2010 Capital One World Curling Championships April 3-11 in Cortina, Italy.

 

“It feels good to be going back to Italy,” said Fenson, 42. “That’s why we came here, and we’ll go back and see what we can do. We’ll try to bring back some hardware.”

 

Fenson’s team never trailed Farbelow (Minneapolis, Minn.) and teammates Eric Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Jeff Puleo (Forest Lake, Minn.) and Mark Willmert (Minneapolis) in the gold medal game. (Eric is Pete’s brother.)

 

Farbelow—gracious as always, win or lose—praised his opponents. “They played so well. They deserved to win,” he said.

 

The only real miscue by Fenson’s team was the failure to blank the first end as attempted. But when Farbelow flashed on a takeout trying to blank the second end, giving Fenson’s team a 2-0 lead, the makeup of the game changed immediately.

 

“That’s absolutely what we didn’t want to happen,” said Farbelow. “It took us totally off our game plan, which was to keep it simple. That just changed the whole scenario.”

 

“That was big,” agreed Fenson. “He flashed that hit and I can feel my guys just falling into a groove.”

 

“Mike was talking to me partway through the game about teams giving us an early lead the last few days and how they didn’t want to do that,” added Fenson, whose team immediately cranked the pressure up on the ice. “Our guys just didn’t miss.”

 

Farbelow concurred: “They just didn’t give us any opportunities to get back in. But I’m proud of the way my guys played. They did so well.”

 

Farbelow hit for one in the third end, but Fenson’s team used the hammer in the fourth for a double takeout and 4-1 lead. Team Farbelow was setting up for a deuce in the fifth until failing to get a second counter in the rings, allowing Fenson to get out of the end. Farbelow wound up drawing for one against four counters this time.

 

The game totally got away from Farbelow’s team in the sixth, when Fenson’s team got two rocks behind center guards early in the end. The Fenson foursome was already counting three when Farbelow stepped up with his first rock. He tried a double takeout, but removed only one. After Fenson replaced that stone, Farbelow tried a freeze to minimize the damage. But his shot caught on a guard and Fenson had an open draw for four.

 

“He tried to get into the pocket there, but I still probably would have had a shot,” Fenson said. “I don’t know if he could even have gotten better than second count. His shot looked like it was coming in nice and then it just sort of turned over on him.”

 

“We knew that was kind of the ballgame,” said Fenson, who was playing in his 17th national championship. He has five previous national titles, the most recent in 2006 and the first in 1993. He and his brother, Eric, won the title together in 2003.

 

Farbelow’s team played gamely on, trying to get at least a deuce to get back into the game. He got that in the eighth, when Fenson rolled out on a takeout and left an open draw for two. But the Fenson team wasn’t going to be denied, with double peels by Polo and Rojeski providing the exclamation points to the approval of the approximately 1,000 fans in the stands. Team Farbelow shook after nine ends.

 

“We’re happy with the way we played, although a little disappointed with the last day here, of course,” said Farbelow in summing up his fourth nationals, and first finals appearance. “They did such a nice job here. It was a great experience.”

 

The champions will play for USA in the 2010 Capital One World Men’s Curling Championship April 3-11 in Cortina, Italy.

 

USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, Nike, bitRail, Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky and is partnered with CurlingZone and Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC.

 

(30)

 

For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 608-338-9900 (cell), 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office)

 
Brown’s team edges Lank in extra end for gold

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 13, 2010

 

(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – In a tense battle between two former longtime teammates, the “new” skip overcame the veteran, as Erika Brown’s team won the 2010 USA Curling National Championship with a 5-4, extra-end win over the Patti Lank rink at Wings Stadium this afternoon.

 

Brown’s team won the game with a dead-on hit for one in the 11th end, securing Brown’s first-ever World Women’s Championship appearance as a skip. Brown, born in Madison, Wis., and now living in Oakville, Ontario, last played in a world championship in 2004, as third for Lank. They finished fourth that year. Brown last skipped at the world level in the 1994 junior championships (age 21 and under), winning silver.

 

“It’s a great feeling,” said Brown, with teammates Nina Spatola (McFarland, Wis.), Ann Swisshelm (Chicago) and Laura Hallisey (Medfield, Mass.) nearby. The 37-year-old physician’s assistant said she was anticipating a gold-medal showdown against her former skip all week.

 

“We played together for nine years,” said Brown, who won three national titles with Lank and now three more without. This was Brown’s 17th national championship appearance, and 12th gold medal game. “My expectation going into the week what that we would meet Patti in the final and it would be a tight game, going 10 or 11 ends. But to me it wasn’t really about who we were playing. This would feel fantastic against anybody.”

 

Said Lank: “It was fun because it was a good game. That’s probably the best game I’ve seen them play. I’m a little tired of silver, though.”

 

Lank’s team was the runner-up in the 2009 Nationals, which also served as the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for curling. She was also runner-up in 2008, and five times previously. Lank has competed in 16 national championships since 1994, and made the final 11 times. She has won the title four times. Born in Midale, Saskatchewan, Canada, Lank also competed in six Canadian provincial championships.

 

Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.) and teammates Aileen Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.), Caitlin Maroldo (Rochester, N.Y.) and Jessica Schultz (Richfield, Minn.) got on the board first today, stealing one in the opening end when Brown tried to hit and roll for one and instead rolled out of count.

 

After blanking the second end, Brown was forced into taking one in the third. She returned the favor in the fourth, with Lank having to draw the four-foot against two opposing counters. Lank was perfect on this draw, in contrast to one earlier that went to the hack.

 

The game turned in Team Brown’s favor in the fifth. Lank just missed a double takeout with her last shot, but still had first count. That is until Brown delivered a precise tap back to score two for a 3-2 lead.

 

“It felt like it took until the fifth end before we finally took advantage of some opportunities,” said Brown. “We were waiting and waiting. The fifth end was huge. We were happy to be back on top, and to have done something with the hammer.”

 

After blanking the sixth, Lank’s team tried valiantly to set up a deuce in the seventh end, but couldn’t get buried behind corner guards. Both teams were still not sharp on the draw, with Sormunen putting her second shot in the hack. Lank was eventually forced to hit for one and a 3-3 score.

 

“Both teams tried to throw the corner guards up, but we just couldn’t get them in place,” remarked Brown. “We ended up with a lot of play in the rings, which I don’t think was necessarily the game plan for either team.”

 

Brown was facing three opposing counters in the eighth when she settled in with the last rock of the end. She opted to hit shot rock for one rather than draw, and made it cleanly.

 

Lank’s team was efficient at blanking the ninth end to retain the last-rock advantage heading home in the 10th. But things didn’t go quite so smoothly in that last end of regulation, with Schultz’s two corner guard attempts both winding up in the house, where Brown’s team quickly pounced on them. By the time Maroldo delivered the fourth rock for her team, there were already four of the opposition’s sitting in the house.

 

“We got a big break when they didn’t get their corner guard up,” Brown said. Her team also got a break when Spatola’s first shot appeared to be off the mark but turned into an angle raise takeout.

 

“They got a little lucky there,” said Lank. “But we still had a chance for our deuce.”

 

After Spatola’s next takeout attempt jammed, Team Lank consulted with Coach Neil Harrison and called for Sormunen to draw around an opposing stone in the top of the four-foot for second count. But Sormunen’s stone crashed into it instead, and the advantage swung back to the other side.

 

Brown hit and stuck with her last shot to leave her team counting two. “If she doesn’t hit that perfectly or rolls the wrong way, I’ve got the shot for the win,” said Lank, who had the third count stone and would have had an open hit on Team Brown’s other stone in the back of the rings. Even with that, Lank’s team spent some time considering a cross-house double takeout.

 

“It was there, but it was a hard double,” said Lank. “My girls wanted me to go for it, because I’d been making them all week. I had made three triples. I just didn’t think it was smart, though. I decided we should just get our one and take our chances in the extra end. We’re usually pretty good at stealing.”

 

In the extra end, Schultz’s lead rock was where it needed to be, sitting as a high center guard. But not much else went right for Lank’s team in that end. The house was empty by the time Lank’s last rock was due, with one corner guard. Lank drew to the back of the four-foot, partially behind cover, but Brown still had a bead on it. She barely even considered playing the draw instead of the hit.

 

“I could see just about all of it,” said Brown. “I’d thrown that shot a lot. I felt really good about it.”

 

After making the shot, shaking hands with the Lank team, and embracing her teammates in victory, Brown said: “This is such a fun team. It’s great having the experience that Ann brings, and then to have two young, fresh faces who have never been to the worlds before is awesome. I’m so excited for them. I’m pretty excited for me, too. It’s been a long time.”

 

The champions have a short time to prepare for the Ford World Curling Championships in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada, which start Saturday, March 20. USA has two games on opening day, against Russia and Japan. NBC Universal Sports.com will be web streaming coverage of the championships.

 

USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, Nike, bitRail, Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, and is partnered with CurlingZone and Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC.

 

(30)

 

For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 608-338-9900 (cell), 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office)

 
Farbelow handles Stevens to reach final against Fenson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 12, 2010

 

(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – In one of the most entertaining games yet of the 2010 USA Curling National Championships, Mike Farbelow’s team out-dueled fellow Minnesotans led by Matt Stevens to reach Saturday’s gold medal game against the Pete Fenson rink.

 

Both teams took to the ice at Wings Stadium with the idea of keeping lots of granite in play, and they didn’t disappoint, right up until Team Farbelow scored four in the eighth end and the Stevens squad shook hands, making the final score 10-5.

 

“That was our plan, to put a lot of rocks in play,” said Farbelow, 46, of Minneapolis, who curls with Eric Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Jeff Puleo (Forest Lake, Minn.) and Mark Willmert (Minneapolis). “Hopefully it was entertaining for the crowd, too. We wanted to put on a show.”

 

Stevens and teammates Cody Stevens (the skip’s brother), Bob Liapis and Jeff Breyen, all of Bemidji, Minn., had a similar strategy in mind. “We planned on keeping a lot of rocks in play. That was the plan to start with anyway,” said Matt Stevens.

 

As is sometimes the case with a lot of rocks around the button, both teams found themselves making tough shots just for one in the first two ends. Puleo and Willmert dragged Farbelow’s last-rock draw in the third to the center of the house for two and a 3-1 lead. In the fourth, Liapis made a crowd-pleasing runback triple takeout to remove an opposing rock from the button. Team Stevens was set up for three until Farbelow came through with a double takeout of his own. Stevens made the draw for two for a 3-3 tie.

 

Farbelow’s team regained the lead with two in the fifth, and seized momentum by stealing one in the sixth when Stevens rolled out on a hit for one. Team Stevens came back to score two in the seventh and keep things close, 6-5, but the handles may as well have fallen off the rocks in the decisive eighth end.

 

After eight rocks, Team Farbelow had four counters in the house and Team Stevens had four rocks out of play. “That end kind of got away from us,” said Stevens. “I was thinking, ‘What did we do here? How do we get out of this now?’ We were trying to play doubles, but they just weren’t curling up.”

 

The eventual out was an attempted freeze to shot rock, but when that wound up in the open instead, Farbelow, aided by strong sweeping, made a perfect tap back to count four and ice the game.

 

“Their two lead rocks went into the house, and that kind of killed them,” Farbelow said of the final end. “I felt like we had control, but not much control,” he said of the game overall. “This was probably my team’s best game of the week, although it wasn’t my best game.”

 

“It all comes down to making shots,” said Stevens. “I can’t blame any one person for this one. That was all teamwork in missing shots there.”

 

“Mike played really good. Eric played really good,” he added.

 

Team Farbelow lost to Fenson twice so far this week, 9-4 in the round robin and 10-4 in the page playoff 1-2 game. “My two worst games of the week were against Pete, so if I play well tomorrow we should be alright,” said Farbelow.

 

The men’s gold medal game is at 3 p.m. The champions will earn the privilege of representing USA at the 2010 World Curling Championships April 3-11 in Cortina, Italy.

 

USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, Nike, bitRail, Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky and is partnered with CurlingZone and Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC.

 

(30)

 

For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 608-338-9900 (cell), 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office)

 

MEDIA ADVISORY: Award presentations for both the women and men will be held immediately after the men’s final, at approximately 5:30 p.m.

 

 
Lank rolls over Wright toward showdown with former teammate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 12, 2010

 

(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) –  Two former teammates who won three national championships alongside each other will be facing off in the women’s gold medal game at the 2010 USA Curling Nationals Saturday at Wings Stadium.

 

In a semifinal game tonight, Patti Lank’s team defeated another familiar foe, the rink led by Amy Wright, 9-2 to set up a championship showdown with the Erika Brown rink at 10 a.m. Saturday. Lank, 45, is headed into her 11th national championship title game since competing in her first of 16 nationals in 1994. Born in Midale, Saskatchewan, Canada, Lank also competed in six Canadian provincial championships.

 

Lank and Brown were U.S. teammates for at least nine years, winning three national titles together (1999, 2002, 2004). Lank has four titles in all, winning another in 1997. Brown, 37, is playing in her 17th U.S. national women’s championship, and 12th gold medal game. She has five national titles to her credit, winning in 1995 and ’96 before hooking up with Lank.

 

“I think we carry an advantage because she hasn’t skipped in a big game, in a final, since she was a junior,” said Lank, of Lewiston, N.Y. “So I’m hoping she feels the pressure.”

 

Brown, also a six-time junior national champion, has had plenty of experience with pressure, having represented USA in the Olympics in 1988 (demonstration sport) and ’98. Neither Lank or Brown has ever won a world championship, though, their best finish being second.

 

Lank’s squad, with Aileen Sormunen (Duluth, Minn.), Caitlin Maroldo (Rochester, N.Y.) and Jessica Schultz (Richfield, Minn.), had Wright (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Courtney George (Duluth, Minn.), Jordan Moulton (Minneapolis), and Amanda McLean (Duluth, Minn.) on the run from the opening rocks.

 

“From end one we said, ‘Let’s put the pressure on and try to make them feel uncomfortable,’” said Lank.

 

Wright’s team gave up a steal of one in the first, evened the score in the fourth, but then allowed a deuce in the fifth end and a disastrous steal of four in the sixth, falling behind 7-1.

 

“It was a combination of factors,” said Wright. “It felt like we weren’t all on the same page out there as a team.”

 

“The ice was a little trickier today,” Wright added. “It wasn’t quite finishing on the draws like it had been, and we just didn’t get comfortable with it. When you get down and have to make draws, it makes it a little more difficult when the slide path isn’t feeling quite right for you.”

 

Wright’s team managed to get one in the seventh, but Lank’s team was blasting everything in sight by then. Maroldo made a double peel plus removed a rock from the house with her second shot in the eighth end, visibly shaking any remaining life out of Wright’s team. After Lank drew in for two, Wright’s team conceded.

 

After the game, a disappointed Wright reflected back on her team’s tournament run. “We came into the week feeling really confident. We had been playing well. This was our fourth game against Patti this year, and we had beaten them two out of three leading up to this one.

 

“We’re a better team than we were last year,” said Wright. “We felt that we could take it up a notch from last year, but then we finished exactly the same, in third. Other than today, I feel like I can throw stones as well as anyone out here. I have three young girls on my team who have an amazing future, and it will be good for curling if they stay in it. So if they can put up with an old geezer like me, who knows?”

 

Lank’s team appears to be catching the wave at the right time. “It just feels really good out there right now,” Lank said. “We’re back on track like when we started. We have kind of been playing with the lineup all year, and it took a while for us to get used to everyone’s releases. I was putting the broom down wrong for Aileen.”

 

The champions tomorrow will have a short time to prepare to represent USA in the Ford World Curling Championships in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada, which start Saturday, March 20.

 

USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, Nike, bitRail, Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky and is partnered with CurlingZone and Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC.

 

(30)

 

For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 608-338-9900 (cell), 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office)

 

 

 
Fenson advances to finals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 12, 2010

 

(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – After three years of losing the scent of success, Pete Fenson can almost smell the pasta again. Fenson, the skip of USA’s bronze-medal-winning Olympians in 2006, is just one win away from yet again donning the red, white and blue for USA, this time for the 2010 World Curling Championships in Cortina, Italy.

 

Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) and teammates Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) and Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.) dismantled the Mike Farbelow rink 10-4 in the 2010 USA Curling National Championship playoffs this afternoon to advance to Saturday afternoon’s gold medal game at Wings Stadium.

 

A return trip to Italy would no doubt bring back fond memories. It was in Torino in February 2006 where Fenson, Rojeski, Polo and former teammate John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) won the first-ever Olympic curling medal for USA. Yet, after a grueling nine-game round robin and a Thursday tiebreaker to determine team rankings for the playoffs, Italy was probably no more on their minds than the origin of the kazoo.

 

“At the end of the week, you’ve experienced such highs and lows in emotions, its recharge time,” said Rojeski. “What helped us this year is that we haven’t been in the top of the pack a lot, so now we’re remembering what it’s like to be near the top again. The four of us have had some very good discussions about that this week.”

 

They haven’t seen the view from the top since 2006, as a matter of fact. Against heavy odds, Fenson’s team returned from Torino to win the USA Curling Nationals less than two weeks later, and then finished fourth at the subsequent world championships. But they rolled downhill like a runaway meatball thereafter, finishing 5th at the 2007 Nationals, 6th in 2008, and not even qualifying for the championships in 2009.

 

No one’s going to just give them the gold medals here, of course. Farbelow’s team—with Pete’s brother, Eric, at third, and Jeff Puleo (Forest Lake, Minn.) and Mark Willmert (Minneapolis)—fell behind 4-0 in the first two ends but didn’t surrender until the ninth.

 

Fenson’s team stole two in each of the first two ends when Farbelow’s last-rock draw attempts failed to find their mark. “In the first end, (Farbelow’s) rock fudged up a little,” Rojeski point out. “We played the whole first end to force him to one, so it was a bonus when we stole two. After that, we started playing a little more relaxed, and in the second end when we got a bonus two again, well, we were very, very relaxed for the whole game after that. We play better when we’re relaxed, and we left Mike with some tough shots.”

 

Farbelow (Minneapolis) drew for one against two opposing counters in the third end, and drew for another single in the fifth to trail 5-2 at the break. But Fenson’s team was already counting four by the time Farbelow delivered his last stone in the sixth end. He made a solid hit and roll behind a center guard, but Fenson had a fairly short runback that could have scored as many as four points. Fenson was slightly off the mark and wound up with just two points instead, but that 7-2 lead proved insurmountable.

 

Team Fenson increased its advantage to 8-2 when Farbelow’s team missed a double takeout for two in the seventh. Farbelow did pick up a deuce with a soft takeout in the eighth, but his team called it quits after Fenson added another pair in the ninth end.

 

“We’re playing well now,” remarked Rojeski.

 

Farbelow’s team will meet the Matt Stevens rink of Bemidji, Minn., in the semifinal at 8 o’clock tonight. Stevens and teammates Cody Stevens, Bob Liapis and Jeff Breyen, all of Bemidji, got out to a smoking start with five points in the first end over the Matt Hames team, and strolled on to a 10-5 win.

 

“I think we were just mentally fatigued,” said Team Hames vice skip Bill Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.).

 

“And physically fatigued,” added teammate Martin Sather (New Rochelle, N.Y.). “I haven’t played a full week competition in seven years, at least.”

 

Those two plus Hames (Buffalo, N.Y.) and lead Dean Gemmell (Short Hills, N.J.) raced out ahead of the pack earlier in the round robin, but the toll apparently caught up with them as they lost their last four games, including today’s.

 

The men’s gold medal game is set for 3 p.m., preceded by the women’s championship game at 10 a.m.

 

USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, Nike, bitRail, Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky and is partnered with CurlingZone and Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC.

 

(30)

 

For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 608-338-9900 (cell), 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office)

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next > End >>

Results 1 - 9 of 42

© 2008 USA CURLING |