Christensen and Shuster continue winning ways in Blaine

By Terry L. Davis | Dec. 14, 2017, 11:38 p.m. (ET)


Dec. 14, 2017


Teams fighting for playoff berths at 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling


(BLAINE, Minn.) – The second day of competition of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling left one team unscathed and a logjam down the rest of the round robin standings.


Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and John Shuster (Superior, Wis.) continued their winning ways with a 6-5 extra-end win over Monica Walker and Jason Smith (both of St. Paul, Minn.) tonight at Fogerty Arena.


The win pushed the Duluth duo to 4-0 and alone at the top of the seven-game round robin that continues through Saturday morning. Walker and Smith came close to upending Christensen and Shuster but couldn’t close the deal in the eighth end as they settled for a single and gave the hammer back to their opponent. As per usual in mixed doubles, a lot of stones were around the four-foot and Smith couldn’t remove the scoring points with his final stone and Christensen didn’t need to play the game’s final shot. The loss drops Walker and Smith to 1-3 overall.


Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.) earned three wins today to take sole possession of second place. In contrast, Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.) and Derrick McLean (Bothell, Wash.) lost their third straight game to slip to 1-3. That match tonight featured lots of offense as the teams exchanged three-enders to start the match. A huge fourth end resulted in Roth and Nernberger drawing in for five points to take an 8-5 lead at the break. Carlson and McLean stayed in the game with a critical deuce in the fifth end. Roth narrowly missed a takeout in the sixth end to give away a point but drew the four-foot to add four more to their bounty as they took a 12-8 lead into the eighth end.


It was a two-win day for Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Jared Zezel (Mountain Iron, Minn.) as they improved to 2-2 after sliding past Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.) and Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.), 7-1, tonight.  “This is good momentum for us as this was a must win. It’s a good way to end the day,” Persinger said.


That puts the duos in a three-way tie for third place with three games remaining. “We had a couple games that didn’t go our way so it’s nice to get the win and get to 2-2 to catch up,” Zezel said.


The Hamilton-Hamilton and Peterson-Polo match saw a lot of granite as well. The Hamilton siblings, who qualified for the Olympics last month in Omaha with their respective teams, took a 6-3 lead into the second half after stealing a point in the fourth end. Peterson and Polo countered in the fifth end to score three points to tie the game. But their hits were not precise in the sixth end as the Hamiltons used their power play en route to Becca Hamilton making a takeout to score three points. Peterson and Polo battled back and scored two in the seventh but couldn’t hold out for the win as they dropped to 1-3.


After the round robin concludes on Saturday morning, the top four teams will advance to the playoff round on Saturday night. Scores, standings and athlete information can be found at


Draw 4 scores: Persinger-Zezel 7, Sinclair-Dropkin 1; Christensen-Shuster 6, Walker-Smith 5 (extra end); Roth-Nernberger 12, Carlson-McLean 8; Hamilton-Hamilton 10, Peterson-Polo 8


Standings after Draw 4:

Christensen-Shuster       4-0

Roth-Nernberger            3-1

Hamilton-Hamilton        2-2

Persinger-Zezel                2-2

Sinclair-Dropkin              2-2

Carlson-McLean                            1-3

Peterson-Polo                  1-3

Walker-Smith                  1-3


Live TV schedule, NBCSN:

  • Friday, 3 p.m. CT: Tabitha Peterson-Joe Polo vs. Vicky Persinger-Jared Zezel
  • Friday, 5:15 p.m. CT: Jamie Sinclair-Korey Dropkin vs. Becca Hamilton-Matt Hamilton
  • Saturday, 9 p.m. CT: Playoff match
  • Sunday, 3 p.m. CT: Championship final


The team that wins the Mixed Doubles Curling Trials will be named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee. The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will take place Feb. 9-25 in South Korea.


About mixed doubles:

Games for mixed doubles are eight ends in length and teams throw five stones, compared to a traditional curling match that lasts 10 ends with eight stones per team. One player throws the first and last rock of the end while their teammate delivers the other three stones. Complete rules and more info can be found at Mixed doubles will debut as an Olympic medal sport in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. Eight countries will compete, and the U.S. is one of only three countries that qualified in all three disciplines, with Canada and Switzerland also achieving that benchmark. (Korea, as host, also will compete in all three.) The Olympic mixed doubles competition will take place Feb. 8-13 prior to the start of the men’s and women’s team competition in Gangneung, South Korea.




For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications,, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).