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Bemidji trio set for USA Curling National Championships

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- A trio of Bemidji curlers will compete in the 2019 USA Curling National Championships, which begin Saturday, Feb. 9, in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Bemidji’s Mark Fenner will skip a team that also includes Bemidjian Alex Fenson, as well as Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Korey Dropkin (Duluth). The team recently represented the U.S. at the third leg of the Curling World Cup in Sweden.

Emily Quello will represent Bemidji on the women’s side by competing for Ariel Traxler’s rink. Quello and Traxler (Fairbanks, Alaska) will be joined by Susan Dudt (Malvern, Pa.), Rebecca Rodgers (Leyden, Mass.) and Sydney Mullaney (Concord, Mass.).

Kalamazoo’s Wings Event Center will host 18 teams in the weeklong competition that kicks off on Saturday night. Ten men’s and eight women’s teams are set to vie for national titles and the chance to represent the U.S. at the upcoming World Curling Championships. This is the third time Kalamazoo has hosted the National Championships (2019, 2015, 2010).

Jamie Sinclair and Rich Ruohonen are back to defend the national titles they won last March in Fargo, N.D. Sinclair is looking for a three-peat, which hasn’t been done since Debbie McCormick led her team to four straight titles from 2006 through 2009.

Joining the Ruohonen rink as alternate is Jared Allen, the retired Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowler.

The field also features 2018 Olympians John Shuster, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner, Nina Roth, Tabitha Peterson, Becca Hamilton and Cory Christensen.

After the round robin concludes Feb. 14, the top four men’s and three women’s teams will advance to the Page playoffs Feb. 15.

The 2019 World Women’s Championship is March 16-24 in Silkeborg, Denmark, while the Men’s World Championship will take place March 30-April 7 in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Five of the women’s teams and four of the competing men’s teams have already met the threshold to represent the U.S. at the upcoming world championships should they win their respective national titles Feb. 16. Those teams include: Nina Roth, Jamie Sinclair, Cory Christensen, Stephanie Senneker, Annmarie Dubberstein, John Shuster, Rich Ruohonen, Mark Fenner and Scott Dunnam.

A live stream to watch the action can be found at teamusa.org/USA-Curling/webstream in partnership with the 12th End Sports Network and the United States Olympic Committee.

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