Dec. 12, 2011
Clarks defend mixed doubles title 2012 Mixed Doubles Championship
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Seattle's Brady and Cristin Clark defended their title with a 9-6 win at the 2012 USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship final this morning at the Broomstones Curling Club in Wayland, Mass.
The Clarks defeated the host club's team of Jennifer Leichter and her 21-year-old son Alex Leichter (both of Wayland, Mass.) to win their third overall mixed doubles title. They will now represent the U.S. at the 2012 World Mixed Doubles Championship April 23-29 in Erzurum, Turkey.
"It feels fantastic anytime you get an opportunity to play in a championship final. We felt really calm and relaxed and confident today, and got off to a good start with the steals," Brady Clark said after the game. "The whole game felt like it was going according to plan. That was a very good team that we beat."
The Clarks took the first lead of the game with back-to-back single steals to go up 2-0. But, the Leichters answered in the third end when Alex Leichter drew through a port to remove the Clark shot rock and lie three. Brady Clark couldn't convert the double takeout, leaving Jennifer Leichter with a hit for three points and the 3-2 advantage. That lead would be short-lived and never return to the Leichters as the Clarks dominated the rest of the ends.
"It's always exciting to play in a final. I have so much adrenaline going when you know you're playing for a chance to go to the worlds," Brady Clark said.
After the Clarks scored three points in the fourth end, they held the Leichters to a hard-earned single in the fifth. With two Clark stones buried around the four-foot and guarded, Jennifer Leichter was able to sneak her final stone of the end through a port into the four-foot for a point. The Clarks had control of the seventh end as the first two stones by the Leichters did not end up as planned. Alex Leichter then tried to freeze to one of the Clark stones in the four-foot but was heavy and it slid to the back of the house. Cristin Clark followed but her rock was a little heavy as well and ended up just behind the tee line to leave room for Jennifer Leichter to draw into the four-foot. Her stone, however, ended up wide, which allowed Brady Clark to draw for four points. The Leichters would answer with a deuce in the seventh, but that left the last-rock advantage to the Clarks in the final end and they held on for the win.
The Clarks won U.S. mixed doubles titles 2009, 2011 and now 2012. At the Worlds earlier this spring in St. Paul, Minn., they became the first U.S. team in history to advance to the playoffs, eventually finishing seventh. The couple has also teamed up to win a USA Curling-record eight U.S. mixed national titles.
"We would love to medal at worlds," Cristin Clark said. "We were really close to medaling last time, and we would definitely like to get to the medal round this time."
The Clarks will have to wait more than four months now to go after that medal. In the meantime, the Clarks are training to qualify for the Men's and Women's Nationals with their respective teams as well as the upcoming state mixed playdowns with the hopes of defending that national title as well.
Line score, championship final:
*Leichter 003 010 2x - 6
Clark  110 304 0x - 9
*last stone in first end
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