Sochi on the rocks: all-Minnesotan U.S. men's curling team wins Olympic spot

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It came down to the wire, but a quartet of Minnesotans earned a come-from-behind victory over the Czech Republic Sunday to send the U.S. men's curling team to the Sochi Olympics.

As the Star Tribune reports, it will be the third Olympic appearance for skip John Shuster of Duluth, who was part of the crew that won a bronze medal in 2006.

The rink from the Duluth Curling Club won at the U.S. Olympic trials in Fargo last month. But their ranking among the world's teams was not sufficient for an automatic berth in Sochi. That meant they had to compete against seven other teams at this week's qualifying tournament in Germany that filled the final two Olympic spots, the Star Tribune explains.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the other members of the team are Jeff Isaacson, a middle-school science teacher from Gilbert; Jared Zezel, a Bemidji State University student from Hibbing; and John Landsteiner, an engineer who works for Lake Superior Consulting in Duluth.

The News Tribune notes Shuster's rink lost two of their first four matches at the qualifying tourney, then needed to win five in a row to join Germany in moving on to the Olympics. In the final match, it was a five-point eighth end that propelled the U.S. to an 8-5 victory over the Czechs.

"We always seem to pick it up and bring it up the next step and find a way to play better in a game," Landsteiner said in an Associated Press story.

With the field for the Sochi games now set, NBC Sports reports the U.S. will open play on Monday, Feb. 10, against Norway, which won a silver medal in 2010 but is better remembered for the garish pants the team wore.

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