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Students compete in curling championships in U.S. and abroad

RELEASED: Feb. 16, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — Two students from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have achieved high rankings in competitive curling at separate national and international events.

Robert Splinter, Wausau, a junior business administration major, made it to the playoff round at the National Junior Curling Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska. He is the skip for his team, directing teammates on their throws after he throws the first two "lead" rocks. Splinter and teammates John Landsteiner, Tyler Vietanen and Matthew Collom were one of two Wisconsin groups that made it to the championships and the only state team in the playoffs, placing fourth. The other three playoff teams were from Massachusetts and Minnesota. The Minnesota team will move on to represent the U.S. at the World Junior Championships in Scotland later this year.

"The Olympic trials are two years from now, so it was a good step in Alaska as we move on to men's competition," Splinter said, noting that he and his teammates have reached the age where they no longer qualify for junior curling. "It was a really good experience for me and my teammates."

Marcus Fonger, Cottage Grove, a sophomore biology major, represented the U.S. with his team at the 2011 Winter World University Games in Erzurum, Turkey, earlier this year. Fonger and teammates Blake Morton, Tommy Juszczyk and Calvin Weber finished in sixth place at the WWUG. The team beat Slovenia 7-1 in the final game of round robin play and finished their first international competition with a 4-5 record.

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MC/RD/DW

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