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Finland still in sight for Haskells at curling championships

One Bemidji team still has its sights set on a trip to Finland, but the other local duo had its hopes dashed Saturday night in the United States Mixed Doubles Championships at the Bemidji Curling Club.

Bemidji's Nate and Jamie Haskell completed round-robin play with a 5-1 record and qualified for today's semifinals. The third-seeded Haskells will meet top-seeded Brady and Cristin Clark of Lynnwood, Wash.

Chase Jackson and Sarah Lehman of Bemidji were eliminated in a tie-breaker Saturday night, falling to the Clarks 9-3.

The same two teams met earlier in the day, with Team Jackson coming out on top 8-5. Both finished pool play at 5-1, as did Derek Surka and Charrissa Lin of New Haven, Conn. Team Surka advanced straight to the semifinals based on shootout criteria, while Jackson and Clark had to square off in a tie-breaker.

The Haskells shared top honors in their pool with Bryan Fink of Brighton, Mass., and Chrissy Haase of Schenectady, N.Y. Fink and Haase will meet Surka and Lin in the other semifinal today.

The final is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. The winner will represent the United States in the inaugural World Mixed Doubles Championship March 8-15 in Vierumaki, Finland.

After winning their first four matches, Jackson and Lehman lost in a battle of unbeatens Saturday morning in the fifth draw. Surka and Lin jumped out to a 7-0 lead after three ends and went on to defeat the Bemidji team 8-3.

But Jackson and Lehman rebounded in the sixth draw, rallying for an 8-5 win over the Clarks. Team Jackson scored three in the seventh and two more in the eighth after falling behind 5-3.

The Haskells moved to 4-0 in their first match Saturday, handing Fink and Haase their first loss with an 8-5 decision. Haskell scored two in the first and three in the third, then all but ended things with another three in the sixth. Team Fink rebounded with a win in the next draw to join the Haskells in the semifinals.

Team Haskell clinched a semifinal berth in the sixth draw, defeating Mark Gulseth of Aberdeen, S.D., and Michelle Wagner of Fargo 7-6. A four-spot in the third propelled the victory.

The Haskells finally fell in the final round-robin draw, dropping an 8-4 decision to Maureen Brunt of Minneapolis and Ryan Brunt of Portage, Wis. The Brunts, seeded second overall in the event, finished 4-2 and failed to make the semifinals.