KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Pete Fenson is heading back to Italy.
Fenson and teammates Shawn Rojeski of Chisholm, Joe Polo of Duluth and Tyler George of Duluth defeated the Mike Farbelow rink 8-4 to win the 2010 USA Curling National Championship.
They will now represent USA at the 2010 Capital One World Curling Championships April 3-11 in Cortina, Italy.
"It feels good to be going back to Italy," Fenson said. "That's why we came here, and we'll go back and see what we can do. We'll try to bring back some hardware."
Fenson, the owner of Dave's Pizza in Bemidji, helped deliver USA's first Olympic medal in curling when he led his team to the bronze in the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy.
Fenson's team never trailed Farbelow and teammates Eric Fenson (Pete's brother), Jeff Puleo and Mark Willmert in the gold medal game.
"They played so well. They deserved to win," Farbelow said.
The only real miscue by Fenson's team was the failure to blank the first end as attempted.
But when Farbelow flashed on a takeout trying to blank the second end, giving Fenson's team a 2-0 lead, the makeup of the game changed immediately.
"That's absolutely what we didn't want to happen," said Farbelow. "It took us totally off our game plan, which was to keep it simple. That just changed the whole scenario."
Farbelow hit for one in the third end, but Fenson's team used the hammer in the fourth for a double takeout and 4-1 lead. Team Farbelow was setting up for a deuce in the fifth until failing to get a second counter in the rings, allowing Fenson to get out of the end. Farbelow wound up drawing for one against four counters this time.
The game totally got away from Farbelow's team in the sixth, when Fenson's team got two rocks behind center guards early in the end. The Fenson foursome was already counting three when Farbelow stepped up with his first rock.
He tried a double takeout, but removed only one. After Fenson replaced that stone, Farbelow tried a freeze to minimize the damage. But his shot caught on a guard and Fenson had an open draw for four.
"He tried to get into the pocket there, but I still probably would have had a shot," Fenson said. "I don't know if he could even have gotten better than second count. His shot looked like it was coming in nice and then it just sort of turned over on him. We knew that was kind of the ballgame."
Fenson played Farbelow in his 17th national championship.
He has five previous national titles, the most recent in 2006 and the first in 1993. He and his brother, Eric, won the title together in 2003.
The champions will play for United States in the 2010 Capital One World Men's Curling Championship April 3-11 in Cortina, Italy.
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