Christensen and Shuster lock up playoff seed

By Terry L. Davis | Dec. 15, 2017, 8:32 p.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dec. 15, 2017

 

Christensen and Shuster secure playoff spot at 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling

 

(BLAINE, Minn.) –  Goal No. 1 was accomplished tonight for two athletes who are already on the 2018 Olympic Team as Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and John Shuster (Superior, Wis.) secured the first of four available playoff spots at the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling.

 

With the 9-3 win over Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.) tonight at Fogerty Arena, Christensen and Shuster improve to 5-1 overall to earn a spot in the Page 1-2 playoff game.

 

“When you start a round robin – especially one with kind of field – your first goal is to get out there and get a win. Step one to winning this thing is to make the playoffs and be in the Page 1-2 game. I guess step one accomplished – it’s a really big step, obviously, and six games in the making,” said Shuster, who won the men’s Olympic Team Trials last month in Omaha.

 

A spot in the Page 1-2 playoff game gives those teams two shots at making the final.

 

“There are a lot of good teams here and we knew that going into it. We started off the round robin really well, had a little slip up this morning but we came back out and shot really great tonight,” said Christensen, who will be the alternate for Nina Roth’s team in PyeongChang.

 

The loss drops Roth and Nernberger to 4-2 overall. They’ll face Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton (both of McFarland, Wis.) in the final round robin game tomorrow morning. The Hamiltons have won four straight games after defeating Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.) and Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.), 10-4, today to also reach 4-2. The winner of the round robin game tomorrow between the Hamiltons and Roth and Nernberger will earn the second spot in the Page 1-2 game.

 

The top four teams advance to the Page playoffs. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds face off with the winning side moving on to Sunday’s championship final. The losing side then takes on the winner of the playoff game between the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in a single semifinal game on Sunday morning to determine the other finalist.

 

After falling behind 0-4 because of Shuster’s sharp shooting early on, Roth played an angle tap for two points to get on the scoreboard in the fourth end. After giving up a single steal in the fifth end, Christensen drew through a narrow port to tap back a Roth-Nernberger stone and score three points and take a 7-3 lead. Roth was heavy with her final draw of the seventh end and gave up a steal of two points to end the game.

 

The Hamiltons got on the scoreboard first against Sinclair and Dropkin as Becca Hamilton used the hammer to draw for two points. Sinclair attempted a tough shot for two in the next end and had to settle for a single when her angle tap didn’t pan out. The Hamiltons quickly put three more points on the scoreboard but Sinclair played the perfect weight to tap one of her stones in for two points in the fourth end. Facing three of their opponents’ stones in the fifth end, Becca Hamilton couldn’t get her stone to curl at the end and the Sinclair-Dropkin rink stole a point to further cut into the deficit. A huge takeout with the final stone of the sixth end gave the Hamiltons a huge four-point swing as they took a 9-4 lead into the final two ends. The Hamiltons would steal a point in the seventh end to seal the win.

 

Another draw of the round robin action will take place tonight at 8 p.m. CT. NBCSN’s live coverage will continue on Saturday with the Page playoffs at 9 p.m. CT.

 

Scores, standings and athlete information can be found at www.usacurl.org

 

Draw 6 scores: Christensen-Shuster 9, Roth-Nernberger 3; Hamilton-Hamilton 10, Sinclair-Dropkin 4; Persinger-Zezel 8, Walker-Smith 4;

 

Standings:

Christensen-Shuster       5-1Q (secured spot in Page 1-2 game)

Roth-Nernberger            4-2

Hamilton-Hamilton        4-2

Persinger-Zezel                3-3

Peterson-Polo                  2-3

Walker-Smith                  2-4

Sinclair-Dropkin              2-4

Carlson-McLean                            1-4

Q=Qualified to playoffs

 

Live TV schedule, NBCSN:

  • 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 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.

 

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