CURLING: Final six Nationals berths up for grabs next week in Hibbing, Minn.
Terry Kolesar
(715) 344-1199 ext. 202
December 28, 2012 9:45 AM
Dec. 28, 2012
Men’s Challenge Round begins Wednesday in Hibbing
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – The final six men’s teams for the 2013 USA Curling National Championships presented by Brooms Up Curling Supplies will be determined next week as the Men’s Challenge Round gets underway Wednesday at the seven-sheet Hibbing Curling Club in Hibbing, Minn.
Four men’s and four women’s teams have already pre-qualified to the 2013 Nationals, which will be staged Feb. 9-16 at the Cornerstone Ice Center in Green Bay, Wis.
The remaining six women’s and six men’s teams will earn berths from the Challenge Round. Thirty men’s teams are vying for the six available berths. Leading the way with the top overall seed is the Todd Birr rink based out of Minnesota. Birr (Mankato, Minn.) captured the national title in 2007 and led Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2007 Men’s World Championship – the last time the U.S. men won a medal. Two-time national champion Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.) has earned the second seed. Brown finished fourth at last year’s Nationals and returns a similar lineup.  
The third seed was earned by Mike Farbelow’s squad out of Minnesota. Farbelow (Minneapolis, Minn.) finished sixth last year at Nationals in Philadelphia and was runner-up in 2010 in Kalamazoo, Mich. 2003 national champion Eric Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) takes his young squad into Hibbing as the fourth seed. Rounding out the top five is the Matt Stevens rink, also based out of Bemidji, Minn. The Stevens rink did not qualify for Nationals last year but finished third in 2010.
The 30 teams will play in a triple knockout event, which gets underway at 4 p.m. CT Wednesday. Live scoring will be available throughout the event courtesy of USA Curling partner CurlingZone. Look for live links at
The Women’s Challenge Round will take place Jan. 18-20 at the Granite Curling Club in Seattle with 14 teams competing.
Here is a look at the competing teams for the Challenge Round as well as full rosters of pre-qualified teams for Nationals:
Men’s Challenge Round, teams ranked by seeding (6 teams advance to Nationals):
1.       Team Birr: Todd Birr (Mankato, Minn.), Doug Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Greg Romaniuk (Snohomish, Wash.), Tom O’Connor (Minneapolis, Minn.), Kevin Birr (St. Peter, Minn.)
2.       Team Brown: Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.), Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Jon Brunt (Portage, Wis.)
3.       Team Farbelow: Mike Farbelow (Minneapolis, Minn.), Kevin Deeren (Chicago), Kraig Deeren (DeForest, Ill.), Mark Lazar (Toledo, Ohio)
4.       Team E. Fenson: Eric Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Trevor Andrews (Bemidji, Minn.), Blake Morton (McFarland, Wis.), Calvin Weber (McFarland, Wis.)
5.       Team Stevens: Matt Stevens, Robert Liapis, Cody Stevens, Jeff Breyen, Coach Mike Liapis (all of Bemidji, Minn.)
6.       Team Larway: Jason Larway (Snohomish, Wash.), Joel Larway (Lynnwood, Wash.), Christopher Rimple (Seattle)
7.       Team Clark: Brady Clark (Seattle), Sean Beighton (Seattle), Darren Lehto (Seattle), Philip Tilker (Seattle), Coach Ken Trask (Seattle)
8.       Team Casper: Derrick Casper (De Pere, Wis.), Marcus Fonger (Cottage Grove, Wis.), Tommy Juszczyk (Madison, Wis.), Robert Splinter (Eau Claire, Wis.)
9.       Team Sampson: Owen Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), Ned Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), Tucker Smith (Bismarck, N.D.), Kyle Young (Fargo, N.D.)
10.   Team Roe: Jeremy Roe (Rio, Wis.), Steve Day (Madison, Wis.), Patrick Roe (Madison, Wis.), Mark Hartman (Sun Prairie, Wis.)
11.   Team Kakela: Kevin Kakela (Rolla, N.D.), Adam Kitchens (Devils Lake, N.D.), Kyle Kakela (Rolla, N.D.), Travis Kichens (Williston, N.D.)
12.   Team Perkovich: Kris Perkovich (Chisholm, Minn.), Aaron Wald (Bemidji, Minn.), Kevin Johnson (Apple Valley, Minn.), Taylor Skalsky (Bemidji, Minn.)
13.   Team Persinger: Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Nick Myers (Mansfield, Texas), Sean Murray (Watertown, Wis.), Tim Gartner (St. Paul, Minn.)
14.   Team Bonfoey: Joseph Bonfoey (Duluth, Minn.), Ted Trolson (Superior, Wis.), Joel Dietz (Madison, Wis.), Matthew Carlson (Mankato, Minn.)
15.   Team Lemke: Ryan Lemke (Medford, Wis.), Nate Gebert (Milwaukee, Wis.), John Lilla (Trempealeau, Wis.), Casey Konopacky (Stevens Point, Wis.)
16.   Team Haluptzok: Mark Haluptzok (Bemidji, Minn.), Jerod Roland (Fisher, Minn.), Nic Wagner (Grand Forks, N.D.), Jon Chandler (Bemidji, Minn.)
17.   Team Puleo: Jeff Puleo (Forest Lake, Minn.), Derek Surka (New Haven, Conn.), Cooper Smith (Grand Forks, N.D.), Joel Cooper (Minneapolis, Minn.)
18.   Team Mielke: Matt Mielke (Medford, Mass.), Alex Leichter (Wayland, Mass.), Nate Clark (Nashua, N.H.), Stephen Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.)
19.   Team Jukich: Andy Jukich (Duluth, Minn.), Lyle Sieg (Tacoma, Wash.), Matt Zbylut (Spirit Lake, Iowa), Duane Rutan (Olympia, Wash.)
20.   Team Stolt: Peter Stolt (Plymouth, Minn.), Erik Ordway (Minneapolis, Minn.), Clayton Orvik (Minneapolis, Minn.), Bryan Hanson (Circle Pines, Minn.)
21.   Team Corbett: Brandon Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.), Derek Corbett (Rochester, N.Y.), Erik Jensen (Bismarck, N.D.), Daniel Dudt (Malvern, Pa.)
22.   Team Birklid: Steven Birklid (Seattle), Chris Bond (Green Bay, Wis.), Matt Birklid (Seattle), Atticus Wallace (Bemidji, Minn.)
23.   Team Berg: Ryan Berg (West Fargo, N.D.), Al Gulseth (Moorhead, Minn.), Mark Gulseth (Frazee, Minn.), Jordan Brown (Fargo, N.D.)
24.   Team Scott: Tom Scott (Hibbing, Minn.), Ben Wilson (Hibbing, Minn.), Tony Wilson (Hibbing, Minn.), Nate Haskell (Bemidji, Minn.)
25.   Team Dolan: Chris Dolan (Minneapolis, Minn.), Cameron McLelland (Minneapolis, Minn.), Tim Jeanetta (Elk River, Minn.), Brian Sparstad (Oakdale, Minn.)
26.   Team Jensen: Evan Jensen (Medford, Wis.), Daniel Metcalf (New Market, Minn.), Dan Ruehl (Minneapolis, Minn.), Steven Gebauer (Minneapolis, Minn.)
27.   Team Runing: Tyler Runing (Mankato, Minn.), Evan Workin (Fargo, N.D.), Parker Shook (Fargo, N.D.), Cole Jaeger (Mapleton, Minn.)
28.   Team Damon: Brian Damon (Schenectady, N.Y.), Michael Stefanik (Ballston Spa, N.Y.), Scott Parmelee (Penfield, N.Y.), Charles Skinner (Waldorf, Md.)
29.   Team Dimperio: Richard Dimperio (Rochester, N.Y.), Jeff Pulli (Rochester, N.Y.), Jason Scott (Rochester, N.Y.), Christopher Lopez (Bloomfield, N.Y.), Coach Clark Raven (Rochester, N.Y.)
30.   Team Cohen: Stuart Cohen (Columbus, Ohio), Kevin Mechenbier (Powell, Ohio), Steve Scheffler (Royal Oak, Mich.), Adam Huffman (Columbus, Ohio)
Men’s teams already qualified to 2013 National Championships:
Team McCormick: Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario), Bill Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Martin Sather (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.), Dean Gemmell (Short Hills, N.J.), Matt Hames (Hamilton, N.Y.)
Team P. Fenson: Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.), Ryan Brunt (Bemidji, Minn.)
Team Shuster: John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Duluth, Minn.), John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.), Coach Tim Muller (Hibbing, Minn.)
Team George: Tyler George (Proctor, Minn.), Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Rich Ruohonen (Minneapolis, Minn.), Colin Hufman (Seattle), Coach Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.)
USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery.
Visit the USA Curling website at and connect with USA Curling on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare.
For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).

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