Olympian John Shuster of Superior, Wis., captured his sixth national title after defeating Todd Birr’s team 8-6 in the men’s gold medal game of the USA Curling National Championships on Saturday night in Everett, Wash.
With a clutch draw to the button with the final stone of the game, Shuster and teammates Tyler George (Duluth), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), John Landsteiner (Duluth) and Joe Polo (Duluth) concluded an undefeated week with a national title.
Birr, of Blaine, had an all-Minnesota team that included Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park), John Benton (St. Michael) and Tom O’Connor (Brooklyn Center).
Shuster’s team gave up only three steals in 11 games in finishing the week with an 11-0 record. The team is coached by Phill Drobnick of Eveleth, Minn.
“It’s a gigantic accomplishment that you just never know was possible — to go undefeated through this entire thing,” said Shuster, whose team will represent the U.S. at the World Men’s Championship and the Humpty’s Champions Cup, both in Canada in April.
In the women’s final, Jamie Sinclair of Blaine and teammates Alex Carlson (St. Paul), Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Monica Walker (St. Paul) defeated Nina Roth’s team 6-4.
“Everything just clicked and came together for us this week,” Sinclair said.
This is the first national title for Sinclair, Persinger and Walker and second for Carlson. The team is coached by Scott Baird of Bemidji, Minn.
Roth, of McFarland, Wis., had Tabitha Peterson (Eagan), Aileen Geving (Duluth) and Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) as teammates.
The Sinclair rink will represent the U.S. at the Humpty’s Champions Cup. Roth’s team will represent the U.S. at the World Women’s Championship in March in Beijing, based on season-long point totals that clinched the berth for the Roth rink after Friday’s semifinal win over Cassie Potter’s team.
U wrestlers rout ISU
Brett Pfarr, Ethan Lizak, Tommy Thorn and Nick Wanzek pinned their opponents as the Gophers wrestling team defeated Iowa State 40-7 in the regular-season finale in Ames, Iowa.
The Gophers (7-5) had seven bonus-point victories in all, with Michael Kroells winning by technical fall and Brandon Krone and Jake Short scoring major decisions.
“The guys were really aggressive all day, and that’s exactly what we want to see from them,” Gophers coach Brandon Eggum said.
Minnesota won the first five matches of the dual, and 174-pounder Chris Pfarr set the tone with a 10-4 upset over No. 10 Lelund Weatherspoon.
Next for the Gophers is the Big Ten Championships on March 4-5 in Bloomington, Ind.
• The 13th-ranked Gophers softball team defeated North Carolina State 7-1 in Raleigh, N.C., running its record to 9-0 for the best start in school history.
Sara Groenewegen pitched five shutout innings and allowed one hit while striking out nine for the victory. She improved to 5-0 with a 0.72 ERA and 40 strikeouts.
Maddie Houlihan and Sydney Dwyer each drove in two runs for the Gophers.
• The Gophers baseball team split its season-opening series at Cal-Irvine, dropping Sunday’s game 7-5 after winning 9-8 on Saturday.
In the finale, the Gophers’ Luke Pettersen went 4-for-5 with two RBI and Alex Boxwell drove in two runs.
• The Gophers men’s tennis team beat visiting Oregon 5-2, with Felix Corwin, Stefan Milicevic, Eli Ogilvy, Josip Krstanovic, and Marino Alpeza winning singles matches.
• The Gophers women’s tennis team beat Memphis 4-3 and South Dakota 7-0.