FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 14, 2017
One undefeated team left in field at 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling
(BLAINE, Minn.) – What a difference one draw makes. The eight-team race just tightened up again and only one team is undefeated in the round robin of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling.
Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and John Shuster (Superior, Wis.) are the lone unblemished team as they got past Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.) and Derrick McLean (Seattle), 9-4, this afternoon at Fogerty Arena.
“We’re feeling really confident with the ice and just really capitalizing on the other teams’ misses. It’s a good start,” said Christensen, who was named to the 2018 Women’s Olympic Team as the alternate last week.
Like in their first two games, Christensen and Shuster got off to a fast start with three points in the opening end. A heavy draw from Carlson in the following end gave the Duluth duo a steal of two points to pad their lead.
“That’s mixed doubles, when you get a half shot or a miss out of the opponent followed up by a make is something that’s extremely important. I know we’re doing a great job of that and it’s showing on the scoreboard,” said Shuster, who last month won the men’s Olympic Team Trials to become the sport’s first four-time male Olympian.
Carlson and McLean battled back and stuck three on the scoreboard only to have Christensen and Shuster capitalize for points in the next two ends for an 8-3 advantage. Carlson and McLean were forced to draw the four-foot to score a single in the sixth end despite putting their power play in use to start the end. When Christensen and Shuster scored a single in the seventh end, Carlson and McLean offered the handshake to end the match.
NBCSN will begin its live coverage at 6 CT tonight with Christensen and Shuster taking on Monica Walker and Jason Smith (both of St. Paul, Minn.).
“It’s fun, especially to be able to play against two of my best friends out there, it’s going to be a great time,” Shuster said about tonight’s matchup. Shuster and Smith were teammates at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and grew up together in Minnesota’s Iron Range.
Walker and Smith dropped to 1-2 in the standings as Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.) secured a 9-7 victory to secure their second straight win. Walker and Smith had two points in scoring position in the final end but Roth made a takeout to earn a point and improve to 2-1.
2018 Olympians Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton (both of McFarland, Wis.) finally got into the win column as they stole a point from Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Jared Zezel (Mountain Iron, Minn.) for a 7-6 extra end triumph.
Tabitha Peterson (St. Paul, Minn.) and Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) also posted their first win of the round robin as they handed Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.) and Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.) their first loss – 6-5. “We’re in the groove. That felt a lot better out there. We were putting rocks in the right positions and just making more shots in general, so it felt good,” said Peterson, who will be vice skip for the 2018 women’s curling team in PyeongChang.
The round robin continues tonight with draws at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. (two games per session). Thirteen hours of live TV coverage begin tonight on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. The seven-game round robin will continue through Saturday morning. The top four teams will then advance to the playoff round on Saturday night.
Scores, standings and athlete information can be found at www.usacurl.org.
Draw 3 scores: Christensen-Shuster 9, Carlson-McLean 4; Peterson-Polo 6, Sinclair-Dropkin 5; Roth-Nernberger 9, Walker-Smith 7; Hamilton-Hamilton 7, Persinger-Zezel 6 (extra end)
Standings after Draw 3:
Live TV schedule, NBCSN:
- Tonight, 6 p.m. CT: Monica Walker-Jason Smith vs. Cory Christensen-John Shuster
- Tonight, 8:15 p.m. CT: Nina Roth-Kroy Nernberger vs. Alex Carlson-Derrick McLean
- Friday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m. CT: Tabitha Peterson-Joe Polo vs. Vicky Persinger-Jared Zezel
- Friday, Dec. 15, 5:15 p.m. CT: Jamie Sinclair-Korey Dropkin vs. Becca Hamilton-Matt Hamilton
- Saturday, Dec. 16, 9 p.m. CT: Playoff match
- Sunday, Dec. 17, 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 http://www.worldcurling.org/owg2018/about-mixed-doubles-curling. 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, email@example.com, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).