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Eric Peterson, Published February 20 2011

Team Lank secures spot in World Championships with women's title at USA Curling National Championships

Patti Lank has won multiple national titles, but none like the one she experienced Saturday at Scheels Arena.

Lank skipped her team to a 9-4 victory, in eight ends, against Team Pottinger for the women’s championship at the USA Curling National Championships.

While Lank has five national titles, this one had special meaning because her 16-year-old daughter, Mackenzie Lank, was on the team.

“That was so exciting,” Patti Lank said. “I’m just so excited that she played so good. I’m so proud of her. She’s a gamer. … I knew she would rise to the occasion.”

Allison Pottinger, who was on the U.S. women’s curling team for the 2010 Winter Olympics with two of her teammates, was pleased with the way her team played despite losing in the finals.

“Our girls had a great week,” Pottinger said. “I’m super proud of them. It’s my first year skipping. We’re proud of what we’ve done. We are disappointed, but we are still proud.”

Pottinger and teammates Nicole Joraanstad and Natalie Nicholson played on the teams that won the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 women’s national championships. Tabitha Peterson is new to the team.

Team Lank will represent the United States at the World Women’s Championship in Esbjerg, Denmark in March.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet, but it’s exciting,” said Mackenzie Lank, who was playing in her first women’s nationals. “I actually wasn’t nervous. I thought I would be really nervous.”

Patti and Mackenize Lank teamed with Caitlin Maroldo and Jessica Schultz to earn the national championship. Mackenzie Lank said seeing her mom smile after the finals were over was a cool moment.

“I just thought it was really cute,” Mackenzie Lank said. “I obviously wanted this too … but I think it just means a lot to her that we did it together. It means a lot to me, but she is more emotional.”

Team Lank took control in the sixth end. Patti Lank scored three on a draw with two guards up front. That came after Pottinger missed her target and her stone went through the house on the previous shot. That gave Team Lank an 8-3 lead through six.

“When we took our three, I was pretty excited, thinking ‘OK. Stay calm, stay focused and do your job,’” said Patti Lank, whose teams finished in second place at the past three nationals.

Pottinger said the first end was also critical. Patti Lank hit a double takeout to score two points and take advantage of the hammer.

“I think Patti herself came out to play and she showed that right away in the very first end,” Pottinger said. “She just sent a message that end. We knew she would. Patti is always known for being aggressive in that first end.”

Pottinger 001 020 01x x-4

*Lank 210 203 10x x-9

*had final stone in first end

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com