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Preview on the US playdowns

by John Nostrand

The U.S. Nationals will be held in Grand Forks, North Dakota from February 28th to March 6th 2004. By the end of January, 12 of the 16 men's teams and all 10 of the women's teams will be determined. North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin look to be where the action will be.

On the women's side, the Minnesota State Championship will be very interesting with former World Junior Champion Cassie Johnson in the field against former 2-time US Women's Champion Amy Wright. Reigning World Women's Champion Team McCormick is already seeded into the field and former U.S. Champion Patti Lank will be playing out of Wisconsin.

On the Men's side a surprise in Minnesota as 3-time Olympian and 3-time US Champion Tim Somerville has elected to not play down this year. Reigning U.S. Champion Pete Fenson is seeded directly into the US Nationals, and will face 3-time US Champion Mark Haluptzok (with Matt Stevens throwing last rocks). In North Dakota, former U.S. National Champions Team Disher ('03 semifinalist) and Team Barcome are among the top seeds.

Wisconsin will see a battle between former US Champions Team Pustovar and Team Brown, along with a strong field. Team Larway is the favorite in Washington and Team Clark the odds-on choice in Alaska


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