U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM TRIALS/CURLING
When: Sunday-Saturday, with tiebreaker Nov. 17 if necessary
Where: Scheels Arena, Fargo, N.D.
Tickets: $15 adults, $9 for 12-and-under; available at the arena or online at http://2014usacurlingtrials.com/tickets/
TV/webcast: NBC Sports Network will televise the finals live on Friday (2:30 p.m.), Saturday (2:30 p.m. men, 7 p.m. women) and Sunday if necessary (11 a.m.). Selected games during round-robin play will be streamed live via www.usacurl.org.
For results and information: www.usacurl.org
Five men’s teams and four women’s teams will compete in double round-robin tournaments Sunday through Thursday. The top two teams of each gender will meet in a best-of-three finals series, with game 1 on Friday, game 2 on Saturday and game 3 (if necessary) Sunday. The winning women’s team will represent the U.S. at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia; the men’s winner will play in an Olympic qualifying tournament next month in Germany, where it must finish in the top two among eight teams to move on to the Olympics.
The women’s field
The trials will produce the first Minnesotan named to the 2014 Olympic team, as all four women’s teams include at least one state resident. Team Pottinger includes 2010 Olympians Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji), along with Tabitha Peterson (Eagan). Team Potter includes 2006 Olympians Cassie Potter (St. Paul) and Jamie Haskell (Bemidji) as well as Stephanie Sambor (St. Paul). Team George is skipped by 2006 Olympic alternate Courtney George (St. Paul), with Aileen Sormunen (Duluth), Amanda McLean (St. Paul) and alternate Jordan Moulton (Minneapolis). Jessica Schultz (Minneapolis) is part of the team skipped by 1998 Olympian Erika Brown.
The men’s field
Three of the five men’s teams are based in Minnesota. They include Team Fenson, with 2006 Olympic bronze medalists Pete Fenson (Bemidji), Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm) and Joe Polo (Duluth); Team Shuster, led by 2010 Olympians John Shuster (Duluth) and Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert) with Jared Zezel (Hibbing) and John Landsteiner (Duluth); and Team George, skipped by Tyler George (Duluth) with 2010 Olympian Chris Plys (Duluth) and Rich Ruohonen (Minneapolis). The teams of 2013 national champion Brady Clark and 2012 U.S. champ Heath McCormick round out the field.