CURLING: 12-year-old skip posts big win at 2008 U.S. Junior Nationals

Feb. 03, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 3, 2008 Youngest team in the field posts win at 2008 Junior Nationals (PORTAGE, Wis.) - Twelve-year-old skip Sarah Anderson proved that age is not a factor upsetting the Alaskan skip eight years older than her Sunday night at the 2008 USA Curling Junior National Championships in Portage, Wis. The petite Philadelphia Curling Club team that features two sets of identical twins and an average age of 13 posted their first win with a 7-3 defeat of Kaye Hufman's Alaskan rink. Anderson (Broomall, Penn.) was nervous on the inside but showed the opposite on the ice coolly making and calling the shots in the team's first appearance at the Junior Nationals. "It's really cool because we're so young," Anderson said of her first Junior Nationals appearance. "It gives us motivation to keep trying." Anderson and teammates Kristin Pohlman (Malvern, Penn.), twin sister Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Penn.) and Megan Hudson (Pohlman's twin sister Julia broke her arm prior to making the trip to Junior Nationals) started the game off with a single and a steal of one. Hufman's Fairbanks teammates Lacy Birklid, Vicky Persinger and Tina Persinger tied the game in the fifth end with a deuce only to have the youngest team in the entire field duplicate it. "When we got the two in the sixth end that gave us confidence ... and everyone was feeling really good," Anderson said. The teams exchanged singles in seventh and eighth ends before Pennsylvania went on the attack in the ninth. They got a stone buried behind a guard early on and placed another rock in the house that Alaska couldn't remove resulting in a steal of two. Down four points, Alaska couldn't keep enough rocks in the house in the 10th to make something happen. Nina Spatola's Wisconsin 1 team moved into a three-way tie for first place after dismantling Miranda Solem's Minnesota 2 team, 9-3. It was a close game until Spatola struck for five points in the third end and Minnesota never recovered. Katherine Stewart's Illinois team got in the win column posting a 5-3 victory over Ashley Schaffer's Wisconsin 2 team. Stewart (Chicago) and teammates Amanda McLean (Duluth, Minn.), Kendall Moulton (Lake Forest, Ill.) and Kaitlin Kovach (Lake Forest, Ill.) dominated the match by capitalizing on mistakes and specializing in steals. They stole three ends with the biggest coming in the seventh when Schaffer missed a takeout. The rookie Wisconsin team wasn't able to overcome and fell to last year's semifinalists from Illinois. In the lone men's match of the afternoon, Erik Jensen's North Dakota team improved to 2-0 with a 5-3 win over Richard Smith's Michigan team. Michigan fell behind early and had trouble creating offense as they avoided the scoreboard until the fifth end and only visited it again once more in the loss. The round robin continues through Friday morning followed by the Page System playoffs in the evening. In the playoffs, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will face off with the winner advancing to the championship final and the losing team playing the winner of the No. 3 v. No. 4 game in a semifinal. The championship finals are set for 1 p.m. Saturday. The winning teams from the 2008 Junior Nationals will represent the U.S. at the 2008 World Junior Championships March 1-9 in Ostersund, Sweden. Game scores: Wisconsin I 9, Minnesota II 3; North Dakota 5, Michigan 3; Illinois 9, Wisconsin II 3; Pennsylvania 7, Alaska 3 Standings: Women: Massachusetts (Walker) 2-0 Minnesota 1 (Carlson) 2-0 Wisconsin 1 (Spatola) 2-0 Alaska (Hufman) 1-1 Illinois (Stewart) 1-1 Minnesota 2 (Solem) 1-1 Pennsylvania (Anderson) 1-1 North Dakota (Tucker) 0-2 Wisconsin 2 (Schaffer) 0-2 Utah (Schieber) 0-2 Men: Minnesota 1 (Plys) 2-0 New York (Corbett) 2-0 North Dakota (Jensen) 2-0 Massachusetts (Dropkin) 1-1 Minnesota 2 (Wald) 1-1 Washington (Thomas) 1-1 Wisconsin (Caldwell) 1-1 Alaska (Birklid) 0-2 Illinois (Rahn) 0-2 Michigan (Smith) 0-2 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T, General Motors, The Home Depot, and Bank of America through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).