Washington men, Minnesota I women earn titles at 2010 Junior Nationals

Jan. 30, 2010, 5 p.m. (ET)

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - For the first time since 2002, a junior men's team not hailing from Minnesota will represent the U.S. at the World Junior Championships. Sean Beighton's team from the Granite Curling Club in Seattle captured the men's title with a dominating 7-3 defeat of Minnesota II's Aaron Wald rink Saturday afternoon at the 2010 USA Curling Junior National Championships in Bemidji, Minn.

"I'm really excited for this opportunity to wear USA," Beighton said.

It was the second year in a row that Wald's team fell in the championship final. Beighton (Edmonds, Wash.) and teammates Derrick Mclean (Bothell, Wash.), Sam Galey (Seattle) and Joseph Purvis (Kenmore, Wash.) will make their first appearance at the World Junior Championships next month in Switzerland.

Joining them will be Alexandra Carlson's team from Minnesota, which defended its title in defeating Wisconsin I's Becca Hamilton, 7-5.

"We're really happy right now," Carlson said after the game. "We're just really excited to represent the U.S. and doing better than last year." Carlson (Wayzata, Minn.), Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.), Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) and Sophie Brorson (Duluth, Minn.) narrowly missed the playoffs last year at World Juniors, finishing fifth out of 10 teams.

They got off to a solid start in the final today, scoring in the game's first five ends to take a 5-0 lead at the halfway point. Hamilton and teammates Karlie Koenig (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Jenna Haag (Milton, Wis.) and Grace Gabower (Janesville, Wis.) battled back, however, scoring three points in the sixth end to cut the deficit. Carlson was held to a single in the eighth but after Hamilton scored a deuce in the ninth end, Carlson didn't bow to the steal attempt en route to capturing the national title. To avoid giving up the steal Hamilton had set up, Carlson had to skim past a guard and make a takeout of Hamilton's count rock for the win.

"The team consensus was that I'd missed...but I didn't," Carlson said and laughed. "We feel like we controlled every game this week and that was really important to us."

Beighton's team took advantage of a key steal opportunity in the fifth end to break open a tie game . Wald (Chisholm, Minn.) and teammates Josh Bahr (Bemidji, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.) and John Muller (Hibbing, Minn.) didn't recover and were forced to a single in the seventh end, trailing 5-3. Beighton would score singles in the next two ends to earn the trip to Switzerland. "I wasn't feeling nervous at all," Beighton said about watching his opponent throw the final rock in the ninth, which resulted in a steal for Washington. "He had to make a tough shot but he just overthrew it a bit. It hasn't sunk in yet that we won."

This is the sixth season that Beighton, Mclean and Purvis have played together and second year with Galey in the front-end.

"We went (to Junior Nationals) when we were really young in Duluth and made it into a tiebreaker that year, and didn't make it back again until last year when we played in the page 3-4 game. We ended up there again and knew that if we didn't win that we were done. I guess we got onto a good roll there and were able to win," Beighton said.

The win is even more critical for Beighton, who at age 21, was playing in his last year of junior eligibility. Same goes for Carlson and Tabitha Peterson.

The World Junior Championships get underway March 6 in Flims, Switzerland.


Line scores:

Women's final:

*Minnesota I (Carlson) 111 110 010 1 7

Wisconsin I (Hamilton) 000 003 002 0 5


Men's final:

Minnesota II (Wald) 020 000 100 x 3

*Washington (Beighton) 100 130 011 x 7

*last rock in first end


Gold medalists:

Minnesota I: Alexandra Carlson (Wayzata, Minn.), Tabitha Peterson (Eagan, Minn.), Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) and Sophie Brorson (Duluth, Minn.)


Washington: Sean Beighton (Edmonds, Wash.), Derrick Mclean (Bothell, Wash.), Sam Galey (Seattle), Joseph Purvis (Kenmore, Wash.)


Silver medalists:

Wisconsin I: Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), Karlie Koenig (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Jenna Haag (Milton, Wis.) and Grace Gabower (Janesville, Wis.), Becca Funk (McFarland, Wis.)


Minnesota II: Aaron Wald (Chisholm, Minn.), Josh Bahr (Bemidji, Minn.), Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.), John Muller (Hibbing, Minn.)


Bronze medalists:

North Dakota I: Amanda Tucker (St. Thomas, N.D.) and teammates Jesa Legacie (Edmore, N.D.), Rachel Tharalson (Hoople, N.D.) and Anna Hopkins (Bismarck, N.D.)


Minnesota I: Trevor Andrews, Aaron Tasa, Jarl Timothy Wagner, Mark Fenner (all of Bemidji, Minn.) and Ben Wilson (Hibbing, Minn.)


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