Wisconsin rinks win men’s, women’s Olympic berths
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) _ Lisa Schoeneberg’s team from Madison, Wis., punctuated a great run with a 9-6 victory over Margie Smith of St. Paul on Saturday to capture the women’s berth on the U.S. Olympic curling team headed for Japan in February.
In men’s competition in the U.S. Olympic Curling Team Trials at the Duluth Curling Club, Tim Somerville led his rink into the 1998 Olympic Games.
``I’m excited inside, but I’ve got an upset stomach right now, too, and don’t feel all that good,″ Somerville said after his rink earned the trip with an 8-2 record.
Somerville defeated Craig Disher of Langdon, N.D., 7-5 in seven ends in a game cut short when the only team that could catch Somerville, Duluth’s Craig Polski, lost in six ends to Mike Farbelow of St. Paul 9-2 about 50 feet away.
``I knew before I threw my last rock that it didn’t matter if I made the shot or not,″ Somerville said. ``We knew it was all over, that we’d won.
``We thought we were going to come out and have a nail-biter and that Polski was going to win his game. Usually when you win in curling it’s on a last shot and everyone is going crazy. When you win almost by default, it’s different. That’s why we’re not sky high. But it’ll sink in.″
There was little doubt which was the best team in the women’s competition.
The Schoeneberg rink stormed through the week to a 9-1 record. It needed the victory over Smith, however, as Bev Behnke of Denver chased her to the finish with an 8-6 victory over Patti Lank of Lewiston, N.Y., to wind up second at 8-2.
It was an emotional victory for Schoeneberg.
``I don’t think I still know what I won, but it’s huge,″ she said. ``This is what we’ve worked for, but the magnitude of it really hasn’t hit me yet.″
Curling is one of three new medal sports debuting in the Olympics.