Two teams remain perfect as round robin continues in Blaine

By Terry L. Davis | Dec. 14, 2017, 12:28 p.m. (ET)


Dec. 14, 2017


Round robin action continues at 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling


(BLAINE, Minn.) – Two teams remain perfect early on in the round robin of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling at Fogerty Arena.


In this morning’s action, Olympians John Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) kept their perfect record with a 9-5 win over Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Jared Zezel (Mountain Iron, Minn.). Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.) and Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.) won again to improve to 2-0 as they defeated Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.) and Derrick McLean (Seattle), 9-6.


The most exciting shot came in the match on Sheet B as Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.) scored a perfect six-ender as they defeated Tabitha Peterson (St. Paul, Minn.) and Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.), 13-3.


“We just got our rock placement a lot better today. It’s good to get off to a big end to start the game because that puts some pressure on them and we can play a little more loosely,” said Nernberger, who also played in last month’s Olympic Team Trials in Omaha.

The win improved Roth and Nernberger to 1-1. “We definitely felt much more fresh this morning than we did last night,” said Roth, who will be the skip for the U.S. women’s curling team in PyeongChang.


Roth and Nernberger got off to a solid start today as they put stones in play and scored four points in the opening end. A steal of two in the following end put them well in control of the match. Polo and Peterson gave up a single steal in the third end but put their power play to use in the fourth end to score two. Polo and Peterson got a steal set up to start the second half by keeping a stone buried in the four-foot behind a center guard as they tried to chip away at the lead. The rally was short lived, however, as Roth and Nernberger scored a perfect six points in the sixth end to bring out the handshakes to end the game. (Five stones are played plus the stationary rock can be used to score the sixth point in mixed doubles.)


Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.) and Jason Smith (both of St. Paul, Minn.) also evened their record as they handed the current mixed doubles national champions – Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton (both of McFarland, Wis.) – their second loss of the seven-game round robin.


“It feels awesome. We just wanted to come out today and make a lot more shots than we did last night – and we definitely did that so we’re happy,” said Walker, whose team was runner-up at the Olympic Team Trials last month in Omaha.

“I thought we managed the ice pretty well today,” said Smith, who was a member of the 2010 Olympic men’s curling team. “It was a little bit different than it was yesterday so we needed to make sure we were paying attention and know what we were doing the whole time.”




The Hamiltons had a chance for two in the opening round but had to settle for a single point instead when their takeout attempt wasn’t fully precise. Smith and Walker countered with a draw for three points to take the lead. The Hamilton siblings would tie the game in the in the fifth end only to have Walker and Smith score three points to take back control of the match.


“I definitely felt more comfortable out there. I think it was good that we kept playing our game last night even though we got down by a bunch because we got more rocks in, so we just felt more comfortable,” Walker said.

In the Christensen-Shuster win, it was the 2018 Olympians who got off to a productive start as Christensen played a takeout to place two points on the scoreboard in the opening end. After holding Persinger and Zezel to a single in the second, Christensen drew into the four-foot but was a little light to give up a steal of one to knot the game at 2-2. The Duluth duo countered with a deuce in the fourth end and a steal in the fifth to momentarily take the lead. Persinger and Zezel, who was a member of Shuster’s Olympic team in 2014, played a solid sixth end to score three points and tie the game. In the final end, Christensen used her team’s last rock to cover the button and set up a difficult shot for Zezel in an attempt for the win. When his runback attempt failed, Christensen and Shuster stole two points to stay perfect in the standings.


The Sinclair-Dropkin versus Carlson-McLean game went down to the final stone as well with Sinclair making a takeout to score the winning points. After holding Carlson and McLean to a single point in the first end, Sinclair and Dropkin had multiple stones in scoring position midway through the second end. Carlson used her team’s last rock to move three stones but Sinclair still ended up with a draw for three to take the lead. After holding Carlson and McLean to a single once again, Sinclair answered with a great shot to score two. Carlson and McLean didn’t back down in the second half and scored two deuces to close the gap and trailed by a point heading into the final end. Sinclair and Dropkin had multiple points in scoring position in the eight end and secured their second win with the takeout.


The round robin continues today with draws at 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Thirteen hours of live TV coverage begin tonight on NBCSN, 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


Draw 2 scores: Roth-Nernberger 13, Peterson-Polo, 3; Walker-Smith 8, Hamilton-Hamilton 4; Sinclair-Dropkin 9, Carlson-McLean 6; Christensen-Shuster 9, Persinger-Zezel 5


Standings after Draw 2:

Christensen-Shuster       2-0

Sinclair-Dropkin              2-0

Carlson-McLean                            1-1

Persinger-Zezel                1-1

Roth-Nernberger            1-1

Walker-Smith                  1-1

Hamilton-Hamilton        0-2

Peterson-Polo                  0-2


Live TV schedule, NBCSN:

  • Thursday, Dec. 14, 6 p.m. CT: Monica Walker-Jason Smith vs. Cory Christensen-John Shuster
  • Thursday, Dec. 14, 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 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).