Once Olympic medalists together, Minnesota curling skips now rivals

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 15, 2013 - 12:23 AM

After winning bronze at Turin in 2006, Minnesotans John Shuster and Pete Fenson went their separate ways.

hide

Pete Fenson, skip for Team Fenson, shouts out to teammates during the Olympic Trials for Curling Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, at Scheels Arena in Fargo. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Photo: Dave Wallis, Dml - Forum Communications Co.

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– They stood together on the Olympic podium in 2006, with bronze medals around their necks and their arms around each other. Pete Fenson and John Shuster forever will be connected in history, as teammates who brought the United States the only medal it ever has won in Olympic curling.

The two Minnesotans now find themselves in opposite corners, facing off for the chance to return to the Winter Games.

Teams skipped by Shuster, of Duluth, and Fenson, of Bemidji, finished atop the round-robin tournament that ended Thursday at the U.S. Olympic curling trials to move on to the finals.

They will play a best-of-three series beginning Friday at Fargo’s Scheels Arena, with the winner earning the right to represent the United States in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The victorious men’s team still must compete in an Olympic qualifying tournament next month to stamp the Americans’ ticket to the Sochi Games.

The women already have reserved their Olympic berth, which will go to Allison Pottinger or Erika Brown. Teams led by Pottinger, of Eden Prairie, and Brown, a Wisconsin native who lives in Ontario, also will play a best-of-three final beginning Friday.

Shuster left Fenson’s team after the 2006 Olympics to form his own. While Shuster team won the Olympic trials and competed in the 2010 Vancouver Games, Fenson’s won back-to-back national titles in 2010 and 2011.

With all they know about each other, both said, one thing stands out: Each knows his team has no margin for error.

“We’re similar teams, with similar strengths and weaknesses,’’ said Fenson, whose team also includes Joe Polo of Duluth, Shawn Rojeski of Chisholm, Minn., and Ryan Brunt of Portage, Wis. “We have a lot of respect for those guys. We know we’re going to have to play great.’’

Shuster’s team earned its place in the finals with a 4-3 victory over Fenson to end round-robin play Thursday. Tyler George of Duluth could have forced a tiebreaker with Fenson for the second finals berth, but his team lost 8-5 to Heath McCormick on Thursday to end its bid. Shuster’s team led the round robin with a 6-2 record, with Fenson going 5-3 to finish second.

After winning Olympic bronze in Turin, Shuster split with Fenson, Polo and Rojeski to pursue his longtime dream of being a skip himself. His current team includes Jeff Isaacson of Gilbert, Minn., who was on his 2010 Olympic roster, and youngsters Jared Zezel of Hibbing, Minn., and John Landsteiner of Duluth, whom Shuster recruited to make his run at a third Olympics.

Shuster manages the Pickwick Restaurant one day a week and is a stay-at-home dad to son Luke. As he prepared for the trials, he built his practice schedules around his 6-month-old’s sleeping habits. When Luke was ready for a nap, Shuster put him in the car, drove to the Duluth Curling Club and threw as many rocks as he could before the baby awoke.

That required a certain amount of patience, a quality that was central to Shuster’s victory Thursday. His team broke a 0-0 tie with three points in the fifth end and held off a late Fenson charge with superb shot-making, avenging an 8-5 loss to the Fenson team two days earlier.

“We’ve played against them so much,’’ Shuster said. “You know those guys are going to make shots, and you need to execute in order to win those games. We had a lot of confidence, but we knew we couldn’t come in and play anything less than our A game. We’ve put them together here.’’

Women: Brown vs. Pottinger

In the women’s draw, defending U.S. champion Brown defeated Pottinger 5-4 on the last rock Thursday to set up a rematch between those teams in the finals. Both teams finished 4-2 in round-robin play.

Pottinger is a 10-time national champ and was on the 2010 Olympic team skipped by Debbie McCormick. Her team includes Natalie Nicholson of Bemidji, Tabitha Peterson of Eagan and Nicole Joraanstad of Verona, Wis. Jessica Schultz of Minneapolis is on Brown’s team.

  • related content

  • Chart: U.S. Curling Trials

    Thursday November 14, 2013

    U.S. CURLING trialsWhen: Continue through Saturday, with tiebreaker Sunday if necessaryWhere: Scheels Arena, Fargo, N.D.TV/webcast: NBCSN will televise the finals...

  • John Shuster of Chisholm, Minn., center, releases the rock as his team...

  • Ryan Brunt, Shawn Rojeski and Joe Polo of Team Fenson, from left, worked at guiding the stone during the U.S. Olympic curling trials on Thursday at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D. Fenson went 5-3 in round-robin play to finish second.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Maness 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit 5 Top 7th Inning
Cleveland 1
Seattle 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Oakland 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona 1 Bottom 6th Inning
San Diego 3
San Francisco 4 Top 3rd Inning
Colorado 2
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 10 8:05
Calgary 18
Indiana 79 1st OT 0:27
Chicago 79

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close