By Karen Price | Dec. 16, 2017, 1:15 a.m. (ET)
Cory Christensen (L) and John Shuster compete at the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling on Dec. 14, 2017 in Blaine, Minn.

 

Eight teams and 16 athletes began the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling vying for a spot on the first-ever Olympic team in that event this week in Blaine, Minnesota.

Round-robin play started on Wednesday, with the top four teams advancing to the playoffs beginning Saturday. Teams consist of one man and one woman, with one person throwing rocks one and five and the other throwing rocks two through four. Both players may sweep. Games are eight ends long, with a ninth end as a tiebreaker if necessary. 


Story Of The Day

After opening the tournament at 4-0, the team of Cory Christensen and four-time Olympian John Shuster suffered their first loss of the tournament, but bounced back before the day was over to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton, siblings who each have already qualified for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 with the women’s and men’s teams, held a 4-2 lead halfway through the game. Although fellow 2018 Olympic nominees Christensen and Shuster would come back to take a 5-4 lead in the fifth end, the Hamiltons got four stones in the house to start the sixth and took an 8-5 lead into the seventh. They held their opponents to just one point and won the game, 8-6. After starting the tournament 0-2, the Hamilton-Hamilton rink has now won four in a row. Nina Roth and Kroy Nernberger improved to 4-1 in their first game of the day to move into a tie for first with Christensen and Shuster, but when the two faced off in the evening it was Team Christensen-Shuster who came away with the win and sole possession of the top spot.


Top Contenders

Christensen-Shuster have a lock on one of the top two playoff spots, but Hamilton-Hamilton and Roth-Nernberger both go into Saturday’s games with momentum. Heading into the final games of the night there was a three-way tie for fourth place, and Vicky Persinger and Jared Zezel came away with Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo for the last playoff spot.


What’s Next

Each team has one more game in round-robin play beginning at noon EST, with the Hamiltons facing off against Roth-Nernberger. Those games will be followed by tiebreakers, if necessary, and the playoffs will begin with Christensen and Shuster facing the No. 2 team with the winner moving on to Sunday’s final. The loser of that game will then face the winner of the game between the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds in a semifinal game on Sunday morning to determine the other finalist.


Standings

Christensen-Shuster 5-1

Roth-Nernberger 4-2

Hamilton-Hamilton 4-2

Persinger-Zezel 3-3

Peterson-Polo 3-3

Walker-Smith 2-4

Sinclair-Dropkin 2-4

Carlson-McLean 1-5

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.