Siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton defeated reigning world bronze medalists Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo 7-6 Sunday afternoon at the USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship in Blaine, Minnesota, earning the right to represent Team USA at the world championships April 22-29 in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Mixed doubles curling will make its Olympic debut next year at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Standing 1-3 with one game left in pool play earlier in the week, the Hamiltons found a hot hand to reel off six straight victories to roll to the tournament title. The McFarland, Wisconsin, natives broke on top early in the final by scoring four points in the first end, but Peterson/Polo methodically climbed back into the fray, eventually leveling the contest at 6-6 with two points in the seventh end. But the Hamiltons held the hammer in the eighth end and used it to full advantage, drawing their final rock onto the button to take the 7-6 victory.
The four opponents also are teammates who already have earned world championship berths on their respective men’s/women’s rinks. Peterson and Becca Hamilton are part of the Nina Roth rink what will travel to Beijing, March 17-25 for the women’s worlds, while Polo and Matt Hamilton are teammates on the John Shuster rink heading to Edmonton, Alberta, April 1-9 for the men’s world championships.
The national championships also determined the first five teams to qualify for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling. Along with Peterson/Polo and the Hamiltons, those berths were claimed by Nina Roth/Kroy Nernberger, Alex Carlson/Derrick McLean and Vicky Persinger/Jared Zezel.