FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 17, 2017
Christensen and Shuster advance to gold medal game 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling
(BLAINE, Minn.) – One thing is certain – a current member of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Curling Team will have double duty in PyeongChang as Cory Christensen and John Shuster won the semifinal this morning to advance to today’s gold-medal game against Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton on the final day of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling.
Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and Shuster (Superior, Wis.) defeated Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Jared Zezel (Mountain Iron, Minn.), 7-6, this morning to keep their dreams of being the first Olympians to compete in both disciplines at an Olympic Games.
“It’s bittersweet. It’s the first time that I’ve actually eliminated somebody from going to the Olympics, so that was tough for me. I saw it in Jared and Vicky’s eyes while shaking hands and it is one of those tough moments,” said Shuster, who was teammates with Zezel at the 2014 Olympics.
The Hamilton siblings defeated Christensen and Shuster in the round robin and in last night’s Page 1-2 playoff game. The gold-medal game will take place at 3 p.m. CT today and will be live on NBCSN.
“We played really well and we’re excited to have another crack at the Hamiltons later today,” Christensen said.
Shuster will lead the men’s team at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games, which includes Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), while Christensen is the alternate for Nina Roth’s team that includes Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.).
The game was tight the whole eight ends with both teams having chances to break the game open.
“It was a high game the whole way. Both teams had opportunities where they might have missed opportunities to capitalize,” Persinger said. “There were some good shots made as well. It was very back and forth and could’ve been anyone’s game at any time. We were kind of chasing a little bit, giving them two in the first end. But we had our chances to comeback and it just didn’t quite work out for us.”
Christensen and Shuster got two stones locked around the button early in the opening end to score a deuce and get the offense going. Zezel, who Shuster’s teammate at the 2014 Olympics, answered in the second end with a double takeout to level the match at 2-2.
Two more points in the third end gave Christensen and Shuster a small cushion. In the fourth end, Persinger and Zezel were held to a single point after Shuster made a double takeout to take back control of the end. A single steal in the following end for Persinger and Zezel, however, tied the game once again.
In the sixth, Christensen and Shuster used their power play to set up a deuce. Persinger and Zezel then put their power play to use in the seventh and capitalized as well as Zezel had an open takeout to score two points.
Zezel drew his first stone down to the button in the eighth end and had shot rock until he threw his team’s final stone of the end – a takeout attempt that inadvertently removed his stone. Christensen didn’t need to throw the last rock of the end with the winning rock remaining in the house.
It’s been a tough month for Persinger, who lost the women’s final last month in Omaha.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing especially on my women’s team. We put in all the work and did all the workouts, did all the practices, we met as a team. Essentially, we’re doing something for the team every single day. That sounds a little ridiculous that you can make it like a full-time job but that’s what we did. Regardless of the results this season, there was nothing where we could look back and say we could’ve done more and that makes me pretty proud,” Persinger said.
Scores, standings and athlete information can be found at www.usacurl.org.
Line score, semifinal:
Persinger-Zezel 020 110 20 – 6
*Christensen-Shuster 202 002 01 – 7
*last rock in first end
To learn more about mixed doubles, go to http://www.worldcurling.org/owg2018/about-mixed-doubles-curling.
For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, email@example.com, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).