CHAMPIONSHIPS Persinger rink

takes top trophy of the season

U.S. at the World Men’s Championship on home turf aſter defeating Heath McCormick on March 10 in the men’s gold-medal game of the 2018 USA Curling National Championships in Fargo, N.D. “I don’t have any words to describe it,” said


Persinger, 40, a father of three who owns a Cold Stone Creamery franchise with his wife. “I never thought the way this season started that I’d be sitting here. We picked up this guy (Richie) and here we are.” It was the second title for Persinger (Fair-

banks, Alaska), Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.), and third for Phil Tilker (Seattle). For McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario) and team-

mates Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Korey Drop- kin (Duluth, Minn.), and Tom Howell (Milwau- kee, Wis.) it is a second tough championship final finish aſter losing the Olympic Trials final to John Shuster in November. “It happens. We fought to the end and unfor-

tunately it didn’t come out our way. It’s some- thing that means a lot to me and all of us will work a little bit harder next year and in the fu- ture,” said Dropkin, 22. Te championship final was a game of momentum swings, patience and a few unfortunate picked stones. “We did give up that steal, but I told the guys

we had been playing well and getting deuces regularly with the hammer,” said Ruohonen. “We felt if we could get a deuce back that we’d be fine. We made some big shots. We had a couple of picks, which is how they got the deuce (in the fiſth end). We felt like we were in control of the game and we played like we wanted to play all week. We played aggressive and made shots.” World Championship recap

Team USA went “all in” in Las Vegas in hopes

of pushing the win streak they were riding deep- er into the playoffs, but fell to Canada, 6-4, in the qualification round of the playoffs of the 361° World Men’s Curling Championship at Orleans Arena on April 7. “All in all, it was a solid week. We missed a few

games by an inch here, an inch there. I wish we could have finished that one off,” said Persinger.

reg Persinger’s team completed a suc- cessful week at Scheels Arena and got to live out a dream of representing the

2018 Men’s National Championship winners (l-r) Greg Persinger, Rich Ruohonen, Colin Hufman, and Phil Tilker.

Photo by Rich Harmer, USA Curling

Heath McCormick Greg Persinger Todd Birr

Kroy Nernberger Jed Brundidge Nick Connolly Pete Fenson Alex Leichter Scott Dunnam Tucker Smith

2018 National Championships Round robin standings: 8-1 8-1 6-3 5-4 5-4 4-5 4-5 3-6 1-8 1-8

Tiebreaker: Nernberger 6, Brundidge 3 Page 1-2: Persinger 8, McCormick 3 Page 3-4: Birr 7, Nernberger 6 Semifinal: McCormick 8, Birr 1 Final: Persinger 7, McCormick 5

Ann Brown Sportsmanship Award recipient: Tucker Smith, Team Smith

Team USA, which also included Chris Plys

(Duluth, Minn.), and Coaches Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.) and Scott Baird (Bemidji, Minn.) for the world championship, battled with grit and heart to reach the playoffs aſter a rough 1-6 start to the round robin – but the journey concluded with a last-stone draw for the win by Canada’s Brad Gushue. “We played every team that’s in the playoffs to

the end. I mean you got your money’s worth with us. I think every game but against Edin, we went to the last rock,” Ruohonen said. “We proved we can play but, unfortunately, if we’d won a few ear-

lier in the week we could have been in a position to have the hammer. It’s hard to turn the hammer around on a team like Gushue. We’ve got noth- ing to be ashamed of and everyone knows we can play with the best in the world.” Sweden would go on to top the podium with

a gold-medal victory over Canada in the cham- pionship final. Scotland rebounded from a semi- final loss to defeat Korea and secure the bronze medal. Te final ranking for the American men was sixth. Q

Sweden Scotland Canada Korea

Norway USA


Switzerland Italy

Netherlands Japan China


2018 World Men’s Championship Round robin standings: 11-1 11-1 9-3 7-5 7-5 6-6 6-6 5-7 5-7 4-8 3-9 3-9


Qualification playoffs: Canada 6, USA 4 Korea 7, Norway 5 Semifinals: Sweden 9, Korea 8

Canada 9, Scotland 5 Bronze: Scotland 11, Korea 4 Gold: Sweden 7, Canada 3

USA Curling (( 15

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