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Curling: Bemidjians remain on first-place teams at Olympic Trials

Two Bemidji curlers remain on first-place teams after Tuesday's play at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Broomfield, Colo.

The men's and women's champions will represent the United States in the 2010 Olympics at Vancouver.

Mark Haluptzok of Bemidji is a member of the Tyler George rink of Duluth, which moved into sole possession of the men's lead at 5-1 with a 7-5 victory over Kevin Dereen of Chicago.

Natalie Nicholson of Bemidji was part of the most dramatic match of the Trials late Tuesday night. Nicholson and her teammates, skipped by three-time defending champion Deb McCormick of Madison, Wis., rallied to defeat Patti Lank 8-7 in a matchup of top contenders.

McCormick trailed 7-4 after Lank scored three in the seventh, but came back to score the game's last four. McCormick tied it with two in the ninth and won it with a single in the 10th.

That left McCormick as the only unbeaten rink at 7-0, two games ahead of its nearest challengers with two draws remaining.

Lank broke a 5-5 tie with a point in the ninth and stole another in the 10th to hand Bemidji's Cassie Potter rink its third loss 7-5 in the Tuesday morning draw.

But Potter bounced back to defeat Gillian Gervais 6-3 in Tuesday's late draw to improve to 4-3. That put the Potter rink in fifth place. On the Gervais team (1-6) is Bemidji's Sarah Lehman.

Amy Wright reached 5-2 with a 6-5 victory over Charissa Lin and an 8-7 win over Norma O'Leary.

Wright tied the game with one in the ninth and stole one in the 10th for the win.

O'Leary followed the same pattern, tying her match with Gervais with three in the ninth and stealing one in the 10th to win 6-5.

In the final morning match, Erika Brown tied her match with Cristin Clark by stealing one in the 10th to reach 8-8. She then scored three in the 11th to win.

On the men's side, George fell behind Dereen 2-0 and later trailed 3-2 before scoring two in the fifth. It was 4-4 after six ends, but George scored twice in the seventh and held on to win.

Craig Brown knocked off Todd Birr 9-4 to give George the lead all alone.

Greg Romaniuk edged Christopher Plys 5-4, Mark Johnson needed an extra end to top Mike Farbelow 4-3 and John Shuster outlasted Craig Disher 7-4.

Late Monday draws

Plys handed Birr his first loss 7-5, building a 7-3 lead after six ends. It matched the defending national men's and national junior champions for the first time in recent memory.

George moved into a first place tie, besting Brown 10-9 with a steal of one in the10th.

Farbelow dropped to third after bowing to Romaniuk 9-8, again on a steal of one in the final end.

Other matches saw Deeren beat Shuster 7-4 and Johnson stop Disher 10-7.

In the women's final draw, Potter returned to the win column with a 9-7 win over Brown, and Wright lost to McCormick 8-5.

Lank posted an 8-3 win over Lin while Clark edged Gervais 7-6 and Sormunen beat O'Leary 8-4.


Men's Division

5th Draw

Deeren 7, Shuster 4

George 10, Shuster 9 (x)

Romaniuk 9, Farbelow 8

Johnson 10, Disher 7

Plys 7, Birr 5

6th Draw

Romaniuk 5, Plys 4

Johnson 4, Farbelow 3 (x)

Shuster 7, Disher 4

Brown 9, Birr 4

George 7, Dereen 5


George 5-1, Birr 4-2, Farbelow, Romaniuk, Shuster, Brown, Johnson 3-3, Dereen, Disher, Plys 2-4

Women's Division

6th Draw

O'Leary 6, Gervais 5

Lank 7, Potter 5

McCormick 8, Sormunen 5

Wright 6, Lin 5

Brown 11, Clark 8 (x)

7th Draw

Sormunen 10, Clark 3

Potter 6, Gervais 3

Wright 8, O'Leary 7

Brown 8, Lin 7

McCormick 8, Lank 7


McCormick 7-0, Lank, Wright, Brown 5-2, Potter 4-3, Sormunen, O'Leary 3-4, Clark 2-5, Gervais 1-6, Lin 0-7