EVELETH — Korey Dropkin’s team won the 16th annual Curl Mesabi Cashspiel over the weekend in Eveleth.
On Monday morning, USA Curling announced that Dropkin, of Duluth, skipped a team including Joe Polo of Duluth, Mark Fenner of Bemidji, and Tom Howell of Milwaukee, which defeated Brooklyn Park-based Rich Ruohonen and his squad in the final last Sunday by a 4-3 score to earn the World Curling Tour title.
The Dropkin team also included Alex Fenson, of Bemidji, and coach Shawn Rojeski, of Hibbing. They finished 6-0 in the event.
This is the second big win for the Dropkin team after last month’s Grand Slam Tier 2 victory, as well as the fifth time this season they made the playoffs at a major curling tournament.
In the women’s division, Tabita Peterson, of St. Paul, led her team to the semi-finals, before losing a 5-4 game to Canada’s Laura Walker’s squad. Jamie Sinclair’s team reached the quarterfinals, but fell to Peterson’s team, 8-0.
Phill Drobnick, the interim high-performance director for USA Curling, told the Mesabi Daily News on Monday afternoon that “Curl Mesabi was very pleased with the way the event went.”
“There was lots of great feedback from coaches and athletes with hospitality we provided them on the Iron Range,” Drobnick said. “We’re glad we’re always one of the favorite stops for USA team to come to for the World Curling Tour.”
Last Saturday, USA Curling announced Team USA’s Ruohonen and Peterson squads secured births for the United States to the championships after winning the Americas Challenge last Saturday in Eveleth. The USA teams now join Canadian squads which already secured positions representing the Americas Zone in the 2020 World Championships.
Peterson’s teammates Becca Hamilton, of McFarland, Wisc., Tara Peterson, of Eagan., and Aileen Geving, of Duluth, went 4-0 in the double round robin against Brazil and Mexico, including a 13-1 victory over Adriana Camarena Osorno’s Mexican squad. The USA team secured a spot in the championship scheduled for March 14-22 in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.
Ruohonen’s teammates Greg Persinger, of Fairbanks, Alaska, Phil Tilker, of Seattle, and Colin Hufman, of St. Paul, also defeated Mexico to earn a spot in the international championship scheduled for March 28 through April 5 in Glasgow, Scotland. The 9-5 victory over Diego Tompkins gave the U.S. team a perfect 4-0 record to finish the event.
“Both USA teams played great all weekend long,” said Drobnick, who helped coach both national squads. “We expected for them to come out and control every game and they certainly did and put up good performances. It was a real positive weekend for curling in Eveleth.”
The men and women teams from Mexico placed second and earned an Americas Zone births to compete in the 2020 World Qualification event from Jan. 13-18 in Lohja, Finland.