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CHAMPIONSHIPS Smith, Wright rinks bring home medals at World Seniors


Silver, bronze finishes highlights season


By Terry L. Davis, Editor


winning the 2018 USA Curling Senior National Championships at the Duluth Curling Club in January. Smith (Shoreview, Minn.) and teammates


M


Debbie Dexter (St. Paul, Minn.), Peggy Gazzola (Apple Valley, Minn.), and Shelly Kosal (Edger- ton, Wis.) defeated the defending champion Patti Lank rink, 6-5, in an extra end to finish the com- petition with a perfect 8-0 record. Smith’s team jumped out to a 4-0 lead aſter


three ends but had to work hard to hold off Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.) and her team of Tracy Lawless (Hawthorn Woods, Ill.), Kathy Pielage (Verona, Wis.), and Kristin Smith (Milwaukee, Wis.) as they stole the final two ends to force the extra end. Team Smith was able to score the necessary point in the ninth to secure the ladies title. At the World Senior Championships, the


U.S. team added four-time senior champ Nor- ma O’Leary (Silver Bay, Minn.) when Gazzola was unable to attend. Te U.S. ladies went 6-1 through the round robin to secure a direct berth into the semifinals. Te U.S. would continue its winning ways with a 6-3 victory over Sweden’s Anette Norberg in the semifinal to set up a North American gold-medal showdown with Canada’s Sherry Anderson rink. It was a historic day for the U.S. women as this


was the first time the U.S. played in the gold- medal game at the World Seniors. Te U.S. ladies got off to a slow start against Canada, which went on to win the country’s record 12th gold medal at this event with a 5-4 triumph. Switzerland defeated host Sweden, 5-3, to win the women’s bronze medal. “Well, it’s silver not gold, but it’s better than


bronze,” said Smith, who won bronze in 2014. “We didn’t bring our best game. Tis morning [in the semifinal], we brought a pretty good game and made a lot of shots. Te girls played well. In the first four ends I thought we were in there all the time. It was just a shot here, a shot there. Even though we were down by three or four, I thought it was closer than that. Canada played awesome,


12 usacurl.org ))


argie Smith and Jeff Wright earned the right to lead Team USA at the World Senior Championships aſter


Te American women’s team of (front, l-r) Shelly Kosal, Debbie Dexter, Norma O’Leary, and Margie Smith won the country’s first silver medal while the U.S. men’s team of (back, l-r) Steve Waters, Russ Brown, Sean Silver, Russ Armstrong, and Jeff Wright secured the bronze medal at the 2018 World Senior Championships in Ostersund, Sweden.


World Curling Federation image


so hats off to them.” Jeff Wright led his team to the men’s senior na-


tional title by scoring four points late in the game with a huge takeout to clear multiple stones and defeat Mark Olson’s Wisconsin rink, 7-3, in the championship final in Duluth, Minn. Wright (Libertyville, Ill.) and his team of Russ


Armstrong (Lake Bluff, Ill.), Russ Brown (Lake Forest, Ill.), Sean Silver (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), and Steve Waters (Evanston, Ill.) stole a single in the opening end to set an early tone. Another single steal in the fiſth end gave Wright’s Illinois squad a modest 3-1 lead. Olson would tie the game with a deuce in the sixth end, but the game turned in Wright’s favor when they scored four points in the seventh end to put the game away. It was the lone loss for Olson (Milton, Wis.)


and teammates Paul Rudkin (Janesville, Wis.), Jeff Schuchardt (Windsor, Wis.), and Tony Jacob- son (Janesville, Wis.). At the World Seniors, Wright and the U.S. men


would go 4-2 in the round robin to earn a spot in the Round of 16 playoffs where they defeated Fin- land, 6-2. In the quarterfinals, the Americans got


past Switzerland, 7-3, to head to the semifinals against the two-time defending champions from Sweden. Te U.S. team would come up short as the Swedes earned a 6-4 victory to return to the gold-medal game against Canada. Wright and the U.S. team bounced back from the semifinal loss to defeat Scotland’s Gordon Muirhead rink, 7-2, to secure the bronze medals at Ostersund Arena. “Bronze medal – not what we were looking for,


but very happy to medal,” Wright said. “In the semifinal, Sweden just played magnificently. We tried to stay with them as good as we could. It was a good game and we were just one shot away from being on the other side of that. In that game, we were hitting on all cylinders, we were control- ling the position of the rocks and it just went our way.” Canada’s Wade White rink defeated Sweden,


8-2, to secure its world-leading 10th gold medal at this event. It was the first gold medal, however, since 2014 – the longest gap the Canadian men went without winning the event since it began in 2002. Q


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