STEVENS POINT, Wis. (Jan. 28, 2009) -
2006 Olympian John Shuster 3-0 after Day 1 at Challenge Round
With a full day of action completed at the 2009 Challenge Round, four teams remain undefeated in the race to earn the final four berths to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for curling next month in Colorado.
In tonight's action at the Capital Curling Club in Bismarck, N.D., teams skipped by Greg Romaniuk (Snohomish, Wash.) and John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) improved to 3-0 while Craig Disher (Rolla, N.D.) and Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.) upped their records to 2-0 to stay in the hunt.
Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) and Jason Larway (Lynnwood, Wash.), both former national champions, got in the win column to improve to 1-1 in the late afternoon draw. Fenson and teammates Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) and Tom O'Connor (Golden Valley, Minn.) got past the young Brandon Corbett rink from New York, 6-4. Larway and teammates Colin Hufman (Seattle), Greg Johnson (Appleton, Wis.) and Bill Todhunter (Menasha, Wis.) held off Matt Hames's East Coast team 8-6.
In other action tonight, Disher's North Dakota squad stole three points in the 10th end to hand the Hames rink its second loss in less than five hours. Shuster, a 2006 Olympian, and teammates Jason Smith (Cape Coral, Fla.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.) and John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) earned a 6-4 win over Dan Lilla's squad from Wisconsin. The loss dropped Lilla (Galesville, Wis.) and teammates John Lilla (Trempealeau, Wis.), Kroy Nernberger (Medford, Wis.) and Casey Konopacky (Stevens Point, Wis.) fall to 0-3 in the standings. Bryan Wight's team also slipped to 0-3 after losing to Romaniuk 7-2 in a brief six-end rout.
The teams return to the ice at 9 a.m. Friday as the round robin concludes. The top four teams advance directly to the 2010 Olympic Team Trials joining the other six teams that qualified earlier this month.
The USA-Brazil Challenge for the berth in the 2009 World Men's Championship also will take place during the Challenge Round featuring USA's Todd Birr rink, which qualified for the Olympic Trials already. Brazil issued the first-ever challenge from a South American nation this summer against the United States. They'll play a best-of-five competition beginning Friday night. The women's Challenge Round from the Green Bay (Wis.) Curling Club begins Thursday night.
Live scoring of the Challenge Round and the Brazil-USA Challenge can be found at www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks
Shuster 6, Lilla 4; Romaniuk 7, Wight 2; Brown 9, Corbett 2; Disher 6, Hames 5Standings:
Greg Romaniuk 3-0
John Shuster 3-0
Craig Brown 2-0
Craig Disher 2-0
Pete Fenson 1-1
Jason Larway 1-1
Brandon Corbett 0-2
Matt Hames 0-2
Dan Lilla 0-3
Bryan Wight 0-3
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