2013 Athletes and Team of the Year named
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2013
Brown, Clark named top athletes for 2013; Brown rink best team
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Reigning national champions Erika Brown (Oakville, Ontario) and Brady Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.) have been named USA Curling's top athletes for 2013. In addition, Brown's team is 2013 Team of the Year.
Brown, 40, a native of Madison, Wis., led her team to a very successful 2012-13 season, culminating by earning the U.S. its women's berth in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. This is the fourth time that Brown, who is a seven-time U.S. national champion, has earned the women's MVP award. She previously won in 2004, 1994 and 1988.
"Being named Athlete of the Year is a great honor, but I share it with my team," said Brown, who works in Ontario as a physician's assistant. "We each bring out the best in each other, and it is a sum of everyone's commitment and energy that earned this honor for me."
Clark, 35, who curls out of Seattle's Granite Curling Club, skipped his team to its first men's national championship title and led Team USA to a ninth place finish at the 2013 World Men's Championship where he was the top ranked skip in shooting percentage throughout most of the round robin.
"I was very honored when I got the news," Clark said about learning he was named curling's top male athlete for 2013. "My thoughts right away turned to my team. Curling has always been a team game and always will be. Your team is helping you make shots. It takes a team around you to make every shot."
This is the first time that Clark has been named the association's Male Athlete of the Year. He previously was a member of two teams honored as Team of the Year.
"Winning an award like this is definitely an honor, but for me the first time you ever win a national championship is pretty special. Those definitely are the highest honors. An award like this recognizes a lot of hard work that went in to being able to perform at a high level," said Clark, who works as a senior business analyst for Liberty Mutual.
"The team was incredibly happy for me and exited for me to be honored. Our team ultimately is a great team. I know all of them felt strongly that I was performing well at the worlds ... the Nationals as well," Clark said. "Being able to elevate our game for those key games was really important. We knew that we had to win four games in a row [at Nationals], and we had to play four of the top teams. Having to beat Brown, McCormick, Shuster and then George in the final - any time you run into those great teams, it's going to be a battle. It was great to have that experience where we had to win multiple games in a row with our backs up against the wall."
Among the achievements this season by Brown and teammates Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.), Jessica Schultz (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Ann Swisshelm (Chicago) include a combined three World Curling Tour and Ontario Curling Tour event championship titles; winning the 2013 National Championships in February; and a fourth-place finish at the 2013 World Women's Curling Championship in March in Riga, Latvia. This is the first female team to win the Team of the Year Award since 2005. This is the third time Brown has earned the Team of the Year Award (previously in 2004 and 1999); and second time for McCormick (2013, 2003), Schultz (2013, 2005) and Swisshelm (2013, 2003).
"We are very proud to be named Team of the Year. We put in a lot of travel and hard work this season and it has really paid off," Brown said. "We all agree that this was the most successful overall season each of us has have ever had in terms of tour victories combined with a strong finish at the World Championships."
The awards were determined by USA Curling's Athlete/Curler Recognition Committee and approved by its Board of Directors this month. The 2013 winners also will be nominated to the United States Olympic Committee for its annual athlete and team awards.
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery and is partnered with Ludus Tours, CurlingZone, and RJM Licensing, Inc.
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For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling, firstname.lastname@example.org, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell)