Curling power rankings (Jan. 1 update)

It’s fair to say curling is my second-favorite sport behind soccer. It’s also fair to say it’s underappreciated in the United States and that it’s difficult for us to follow.

This page aims to change all that. This will help you remember who’s Brad Jacobs and who’s Brad Gushue. It’ll help you see if Nina Roth or Jamie Sinclair will make a John Shuster-style vault into mainstream culture. (No, but read anyway.) It’ll help you follow the season as it progresses.

Enjoy.

(Abbreviations you really need to know: OOM – Order of Merit, which covers two years. YTD – year-to-date)

Updated Jan. 1, 2019: Not many events, but this is last update before U.S. Challenge Round, which determines several spots in U.S. Championships. The biggest news: Rachel Homan is pregnant. Not due until June, so will she keep playing through the season?

MEN

Last big event: Boost National, Dec. 11-16 – top 14 OOM plus sponsor choice

  • Final: Ross Paterson def. Bruce Mouat
  • Semifinalists: Kevin Koe, Glenn Howard
  • Quarterfinalists: Brad Jacobs, Niklas Edin, Jason Gunnlaugson, Brad Gushue
  • Tiebreakers: Yannick Schwaller, Kirk Muyres
  • One win: Scott McDonald, McEwen/Carruthers, Braden Calvert, John Epping
  • Shut out: Peter de Cruz

Other recent events and ranking changes:

Schweizer Cup, Switzerland: Yannick Schwaller replaces countryman Peter de Cruz in top 12.

Karuizawa International, Japan: Reid Carruthers moves into top 12. John Shuster drops a spot with semifinal loss.

Qinghai Curling Elite, China: Matt Dunstone wins but drops behind Schwaller and Carruthers. U.S. junior Andrew Stopera unchanged after taking fifth.

U.S. Open, USA: Rich Ruohonen unchanged after semifinal loss to eventual champion Soo-Hyuk Kim. Todd Birr unchanged after quarterfinal loss to Ruohonen. Other U.S. results put Sean Beighton up two in Challenge Round rankings, Jason Smith down one, and Jed Brundidge unchanged.

Upcoming

  • U.S. Challenge Round, Jan. 2-6 – Berths at U.S. Championships at stake. TESN
  • Meridian Canadian Open, Jan. 8-13 – top 7 OOM, top 7 YTD, Tour Challenge Tier 2 winner, sponsor choice. Pay-per-view
  • Continental Cup, Jan. 17-20 – North America vs. Europe. ESPN3?
  • World Qualification Event, Jan. 18-23 – Australia, Denmark, England, Finland, Guyana, Netherlands, New Zealand and South Korea play for two spots in World Championships. Olympic Channel?
  • World Cup third leg, Jan. 28-Feb. 3. Olympic Channel/NBCSN?
  • U.S. Championships, Feb. 9-16. No idea
  • Tim Hortons Brier (Canadian championship), March 2-10. ESPN3
  • World Championship, March 20-April 7. ESPN3?

International ranking

  1. Brad Jacobs, Northern Ontario – Canada Cup winner doing well while Ryan Fry takes a break after being tossed out of bonspiel
  2. Kevin Koe, Alberta – Not *winning* anything but always in top three
  3. Bruce Mouat, Scotland – Euro champion, yet second-best from Scotland in National
  4. Niklas Edin, Sweden – Reigning world champion and Olympic silver medalist (lost to Shuster) racking up top-three finishes in Canada and was second in Euros
  5. John Epping, Ontario – Big wins at Masters and Shorty Jenkins
  6. Ross Paterson, Scotland – Boost National champion but maybe not Scottish national champion. Showdown with Mouat looming Feb. 9-16
  7. Brad Gushue, Newfoundland/Labrador – Elite 10 winner disappointed at National
  8. Glenn Howard, Ontario – He’s 56 years old. Four-time world champion ranging from 1987 to 2012. And still really good.
  9. Brendan Bottcher, Alberta – Second to Jacobs in Tour Challenge
  10. Reid Carruthers/Mike McEwen, Manitoba (new) – Two skips merged this season. McEwen throws fourth. Each guy has been listed as skip.
  11. John Shuster, USA (down from 10th) – Yes, he really won Olympic gold. Really. Also beat Edin again in Curling World Cup stop in Omaha.
  12. Yannick Schwaller, Switzerland (new) – 2014 World Junior champion, still only 23, has one win in Europe, one in Canada.

Others to watch:

  • Thomas Ulsrud, Norway – 2014 world champion and 2018 Olympian faces domestic challenge from Steffen Walsted
  • Peter De Cruz, Switzerland (down from 11th) – 2018 bronze medalist was fifth in European championship
  • Matt Dunstone, Saskatchewan (down from 12th) – High in OOM but not winning in majors 

Brier watch (Canadian men’s championship)

These guys all have to play their way in. Prior Brier appearances in parentheses. Listed in order of provincial strength.

  • Defending champion/automatic berth: Gushue, back-to-back champion
  • Ontario: tough one between Epping (2018), Howard (17 times including 2016 and 2017), Scott McDonald, Charley Thomas and maybe a couple more
  • Manitoba: Carruthers/McEwen (split 2015-18), Braden Calvert, Jason Gunnlaugson and Tanner Lott all have more than 100 points YTD
  • Alberta: Koe (2014-16) and Bottcher (2017, 2018) ahead of Karsten Sturmay
  • Northern Ontario: Jacobs (8 of last 9) well ahead of Tanner Horgan
  • Saskatchewan: Dunstone far ahead of Kirk Muyres. They were teammates last year on Steve Laycock’s winning team.
  • Quebec: Michael Fournier (2018) and Jean-Sebastian Roy close
  • Nova Scotia: Jamie Murphy (5 of last 7), Stuart Thompson, Kendal Thompson and Chad Stevens all close in OOM
  • British Columbia: Sean Geall (2009, 2018), Daniel Wenzek, Jim Cotter (several in 2010s, vice in 2014 and 2017), Josh Barry also all close in OOM
  • Newfoundland/Labrador: Gushue already in. Greg Smith (2018) is again the best non-Gushue, ahead of Rick Rowsell
  • New Brunswick: No real favorite among James Grattan (7 times including 2018), Scott Jones, Jason Vaughan and Ed Cyr
  • Prince Edward Island: Tyler Smith the only one in YTD; Sam Ramsay, Eddie MacKenzie (5th win in 2018) in OOM
  • Yukon: Thomas Scoffin (2018) is the only one in YTD or OOM
  • Northwest Territories: Andrew Dunbar ahead of perennial Kevin Koe in OOM
  • Nunavut: Jake Higgs listed in OOM, but no points

USA rankings

Byes to National Championships

  1. Shuster
  2. Rich Ruohonen – Won last year in Shuster’s absence. Greg Persinger throws fourth. Won Curl Mesabi.
  3. Mark Fenner – Skips a team of recently graduated juniors (Alex Fenson, Thomas Howell, Korey Dropkin — the latter throws fourth). Second at Curl Mesabi.
  4. Andrew Stopera – Still playing juniors as well. Won St. Paul Let’s Cure Lupus Cash Spiel over Ruohonen, Fenner and several Challenge Round entrants.
  5. Scott Dunnam – 1-8 in last year’s championship. Fifth at Curl Mesabi.

Challenge Round

  1. Todd Birr – Third last year. Only one event so far this year — Let’s Cure Lupus semifinalist
  2. Steve Birklid – Let’s Cure Lupus semifinalist. Lead Nicholas Connolly skipped sixth-place team last year.
  3. Sean Beighton (up 2) – Team listed Kroy Nernberger as skip last year when it reached U.S. semis. Tenth at Curl Mesabi.
  4. Chase Sinnett (down 1) – Also playing juniors. Let’s Cure Lupus quarterfinalist
  5. Jason Smith (down 1) – Fifth at Curl Mesabi
  6. Jed Brundidge – Lost to Beighton/Nernberger in last year’s tiebreaker. Tenth at Curl Mesabi.
  7. Stephen Imes – Second in Kalamazoo
  8. Kevin Kakela – North Dakota has been shuffling the deck a bit
  9. Brandon Corbett – From New York; has only played one event this year in Ontario
  10. Mike Siggins – This year’s Arizona hopeful
  11. Skyler Slusar/Nick Steinhaus – Another from North Dakota; picked up an OOM point at Let’s Cure Lupus
  12. Darryl Sobering – Perennial entry from Colorado
  13. Craig Nicko – Shut out at Let’s Cure Lupus
  14. Jared Allen – Yes, the football player. Shut out at Curl Mesabi with two ringers who won’t be on his team at the Challenge Round.
  15. Daniel Brown – No results found
  16. Clayton Griffin – From Georgia! No results found.

WOMEN

Last big event: Boost National, Dec. 11-16 – top 14 OOM plus sponsor choice

  • Final: Rachel Homan def. Kerri Einarson
  • Semifinalists: Jennifer Jones, Silvana Tirinzoni
  • Quarterfinalists: Anna Hasselborg, Satsuki Fujisawa, Jacqueline Harrison, Eve Muirhead
  • Tiebreakers: Jamie Sinclair
  • One win: Chelsea Carey, Nina Roth, Isabella Wrana, Tracey Fleury, Sayaka Yoshimura
  • Shut out: Casey Schiedegger

Other recent events: 

Schweizer Cup, Switzerland: Unsurprising win for Silvana Tirinzoni.

Karuizawa International, Japan: Anna Sidorova moves up to 12th with the win, and Laura Walker moves onto the watch list — her fourth-place finish wasn’t impressive, but she’s closing in on fellow Albertans Chelsea Carey and Casey Scheidegger on the YTD list and is actually ahead of them in OOM — barely.

Qinghai Curling Elite, China: Germany’s Daniela Jentsch, third in Euros, wins here ahead of Russia’s Alina Kovaleva, who drops out of top 12.

Upcoming

  • U.S. Challenge Round, Jan. 2-6 – Berths at U.S. Championships at stake. TESN
  • Meridian Canadian Open, Jan. 8-13 – top 7 OOM, top 7 YTD, Tour Challenge Tier 2 winner, sponsor choice. Pay-per-view
  • Continental Cup, Jan. 17-20 – North America vs. Europe. ESPN3?
  • World Qualification Event, Jan. 18-23 – Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Norway and New Zealand play for two spots in World Championships. Olympic Channel?
  • World Cup third leg, Jan. 28-Feb. 3. Olympic Channel/NBCSN?
  • U.S. Championships, Feb. 9-16. No idea
  • Scotties Tournament of Hearts (Canadian championship), Feb. 16-24. ESPN3
  • World Championship, March 16-24. ESPN3?

International ranking

  1. Rachel Homan, Ontario – Win at Boost National restored order as she pursues revenge for sixth-place finish in Olympics.
  2. Anna Hasselborg, Sweden – Olympic champion upset in Boost National quarterfinals but has four big wins, including Euros
  3. Kerri Einarson, Manitoba – “Team of skips” (all four players have been successful skips) just behind Homan in YTD.
  4. Jennifer Jones, Manitoba – Won Canada Cup. Beat Einarson in last year’s Scotties.
  5. Satsuki Fujisawa, Japan – Olympic bronze medalist was upset in Pac/Asia final by Korea’s Kim Min-ji but has done well in Canada and Omaha.
  6. Silvana Tirinzoni, Switzerland – Euro runner-up, second in Elite 10
  7. Tracy Fleury, Manitoba – The Manitoba championship should be interesting
  8. Darcy Robertson, Manitoba – The Manitoba championship should be interesting
  9. Sayaka Yoshimura, Japan – Getting good results in Canada
  10. Chelsea Carey, Alberta – Won Canad Inns event
  11. Casey Scheidegger, Alberta (up 1) – The Alberta championship also should be interesting
  12. Anna Sidorova, Russia (new) – 2014 Olympic skip and 2017 Worlds runner-up lost in 2018 Olympic trials, and Kovaleva repped Russia in Euros.

Others to watch:

  • Laura Walker, Alberta – Did we mention that the Alberta championship also should be interesting.
  • Eve Muirhead, Scotland – Debuted in Olympics in 2010 at age 19 and returned twice more. Bronze in 2014, fourth in 2018. Also 2013 world champion. Not her best year so far.
  • Kim Min-ji, South Korea – Pacific/Asia champion
  • Alina Kovaleva, Russia (down from 11th) – Wins in Canada and China, fourth in Euros

Scotties watch (Canadian women’s championship)

Prior Scotties appearances in parentheses.

  • Defending champion/automatic berth: Jones
  • Manitoba: Jones (8 times, last in 2018) has the automatic berth. Einarson was the wildcard last year and reached the final. Might be an all-Manitoba battle for this year’s wildcard with any two out of Einarson (2016), Fleury (6 times from Northern Ontario, including 2018), Robertson and Allison Flaxey.
  • Alberta: Carey (2016, Manitoba 2014) barely over Scheidegger (2018) and Walker, with Kelsey Rocque also in the mix.
  • Ontario: Homan far ahead in a strong province — Jacqueline Harrison, Jestyn Murphy, Julie Tippin and Hollie Duncan.
  • Saskatchewan: Robyn Silvernagle ahead of Kristen Streifel, Sherry Anderson (9 times including 2018) and Amber Holland (2 wins, last in 2011).
  • British Columbia: Corryn Brown far ahead in OOM over Sarah Wark and Diane Gushulak. Defending champion Kesa Van Osch is way back.
  • Nova Scotia: Mary-Anne Arsenault (4 times, last in 2018) well ahead of resurgent 59-year-old Colleen Jones (21 times, last in 2013), Kristen MacDiarmid, Mary Myketen-Driscoll and Jill Brothers (2016).
  • Prince Edward Island: Suzanne Birt (last in 2016) well ahead of Veronica Smith and Sarah Fullerton. Robyn MacPhee won last two.
  • Northern Ontario: Krista McCarville (last in 2017) no longer has perennial rival Fleury. Hailey Beaudry long shot.
  • New Brunswick: Sylvie Robichaud (3 in last 4) barely over Andrea Crawford (last in 2014), with Sarah Mallais a way back.
  • Northwest Territories: Kerry Galusha is doing quite well.
  • Quebec: Laurie St-Georges ahead of Amelie Blais. No sign of last five champions.
  • Newfoundland/Labrador: Cathlia Ward is the only skip with OOM results. Stacie Curtis won last three.
  • Yukon: No skips listed. Chelsea Duncan won last year.
  • Nunavut: No skips listed.

USA rankings

Byes to National Championships

  1. Nina Roth – Eighth in 2018 Olympics. Third in Tour Challenge
  2. Jamie Sinclair – Third at Curl Mesabi
  3. Cory Christensen – Due for a breakthrough
  4. Stephanie Senneker – Upstart team took last spot with ease

Challenge Round

  1. Annmarie Dubberstein – Junior team won Let’s Cure Lupus spiel
  2. Kim Rhyme – Has been playing with experienced Courtney George as vice. Fourth last year
  3. Ann Podoll – 1-6 in last year’s U.S. championship
  4. Cait Flannery – One of three junior teams in this event
  5. Ariel Traxler – Alaskan skip of junior team
  6. Sarah Walsh – Repping California

 

 

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