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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 26, 2005

 

Fenson rink wins U.S. Olympic Team Trials

 

(MADISON, Wis.) – Pete Fenson has been dreaming about becoming an Olympian since he threw his first curling rock back in 1982 at the age of 14. Now Fenson may be able to add the words Olympian to an already long and impressive curling resume.

 

Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) and teammates Shawn Rojeski (Virginia, Minn.), Joe Polo (Cass Lake, Minn.) and John Shuster (Chisholm, Minn.) defeated the Craig Brown rink, 7-3, Saturday afternoon to win the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the Madison Curling Club.

 

The Fenson and Brown rinks kept the match tight through the first half until the momentum started to swing in Fenson’s direction in the sixth end when they stole a point to take a 3-1 lead after Brown’s last shot breezed through the house.

 

In the seventh, Brown (Madison, Wis.) and teammates Matt Stevens (Bemidji), Cody Stevens (Bemidji) and John Dunlop (Wauwatosa, Wis.) were forced to take one to avoid a steal of three by Fenson to close within one point at 3-2. “I knew it was important to make it tough for him,” Fenson said.

 

The eighth end proved to be the game-breaker as Team Fenson got in position for a big end that resulted with Fenson executing a runback for three points to take the lead for good.

 

“It’s disappointing. We played pretty well, but we had two picks that cost us at least two points,” Brown said. “He (Fenson) made a great shot in the eighth. We didn’t do anything wrong, really, and they didn’t do anything incredibly right. Today we just had a few unfortunate shots. We could have made a few shots better, and we could have been better ready for reading the ice.”

 

Team Fenson now controls its own destiny to make the trip to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, as the USA has not yet secured its men’s Olympic berth. The Fenson rink will look to do that at the 2005 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship April 2-10 in Victoria, British Columbia. Nations accumulate points at the three world championships prior to the Olympic year. The U.S. is currently in 10th place out of 10 that will qualify for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Only two teams in this year’s Men’s Worlds field – New Zealand and Australia – can surpass the U.S., which has five points and can pass up a few other countries with a strong showing at the 2005 Worlds.

 

“We got four guys on the team committed to training to be the best we can be. We’ve been working hard all season to get here,” said Fenson, 36, who owns Dave’s Pizza in Bemidji, Minn. “The guys played good all week and we’ll be ready to curl in a few weeks at Worlds.”

 

USA Curling is the first national governing body to choose its teams for the 2006 Olympics. Team Fenson will be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Committee for approval as Team USA. The Cassie Johnson rink of Bemidji, Minn., won the women’s Olympic Trials earlier today.

 

Complete biographical information about the teams can be found at USA Curling web site at www.usacurl.org, including via an audiocast and end-by-end scoring.

 

USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics and AmerAust Technologies as well as by General Motors, Chevron-Texaco and Bank of America through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

 

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For more information: Rick Patzke, USA Curling, rickp@curlingrocks.net, 715-344-1199