Defending champions get off to fast start at 2009 US Juniors

Feb. 10, 2009, 4:29 p.m. (ET)

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (Feb. 8, 2009) - Defending junior champions Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.) and Nina Spatola (McFarland, Wis.) led their teams to victories in the opening day of action at the 2009 U.S. Junior National Championships at the Lake Region Curling Club.

Plys and teammates Aanders Brorson (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Perushek (Eveleth, Minn.) and Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) took down North Dakota 2's Evan Workin rink, 10-5, this afternoon to pick up where they left off last season after winning both junior national and world titles. Minnesota 2, led by Aaron Wald (Chisholm, Minn.) improved to 2-0 on the day as they defeated Alex Leichter of Massachusetts, 8-4, after breaking up a 4-4 tie in the eighth end.

In other men's action North Dakota 1's Jerod Roland rink needed an extra end to stage a comeback against Blake Morton's Wisconsin 2 rink, 5-4. After giving up steals over the last few ends, Roland (Petersburg, N.D.) and teammates Ben Wilson (Hibbing, Minn.), Stephen Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.) and Cooper Smith (Bismarck, N.D.) were able to steal a single in the extra end for the win. New Hampshire's Nate Clark also is 1-0 after defeating Wisconsin 1's Brad Caldwell, 7-6.

On the women's side, Spatola led her team of Molly Bonner (Virginia, Minn.), Anna Plys (Duluth, Minn.) and Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) to a lopsided 14-4 win over North Dakota 2's Ann Podoll team. Spatola won the junior title in 2008 teaming up with Plys and Hamilton as well as in 2006. Bonner won the title in 2007 and finished fourth at the World Juniors that season. In tonight's action, the Spatola rink then took down North Dakota 1's Lauren Kirkeby, 8-5, to end the day perfect. Minnesota 1's Alex Carlson, who finished second at last year's Junior Nationals, also improved to 2-0 with an 8-4 win over Amanda Tucker's Massachusetts squad.

The winning teams will represent the U.S. at the 2009 World Junior Championships March 5-15 in Vancouver, British Columbia. This event serves as the test event for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games curling action.

Final scores from the 2009 U.S. Junior Championships can be found at


Wisconsin 1 (Spatola) 2-0
Minnesota 1 (Carlson) 2-0
Illinois (Elko) 1-0
Minnesota 2 (Solem) 1-0
New York (Beebe) 1-0
Alaska (Hufman) 0-1
North Dakota 2 (Podoll) 0-1
Wisconsin 2 (Schieber) 0-1
North Dakota 1 (Kirkeby) 0-2
Massachusetts (Tucker) 0-2

Minnesota 2 (Wald) 2-0
Minnesota 1 (Plys) 1-0
New Hampshire (Clark) 1-0
North Dakota 1 (Roland) 1-0
Alaska (Birklid) 0-0
Washington (Beighton) 0-0
Massachusetts (Leichter) 0-1
Wisconsin 1 (Caldwell) 0-1
Wisconsin 2 (Morton) 0-2
North Dakota 2 (Workin) 0-2

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