Hamilton siblings capture 2017 Mixed Doubles National Championship title

By Terry L. Davis | March 05, 2017, 4:51 p.m. (ET)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 5, 2017

 

Hamilton siblings capture 2017 Mixed Doubles National Championship title

 

(BLAINE, Minn.) – Some families have sibling rivalries while some create lifelong friendships. For Wisconsin’s Matt Hamilton and Becca Hamilton, they have the perfect blend of both with a side of goofiness that turned out to be the perfect recipe for success as the siblings captured the 2017 USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship title today.

 

With a last-rock draw to the four-foot, the Hamiltons defeated Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) and Tabitha Peterson (Minneapolis, Minn.), 7-6, to win their first mixed doubles national title.

 

“It’s pretty rewarding to play in a tournament and win it with my brother,” said Becca Hamilton. “To grind out that many wins in a row is pretty special. I’m looking forward to being able to compete with him more. Even though it might not look like it at times on the ice when we fight, he’s a great teammate.” Spoken like a true little sister.

 

The journey to the national title included surviving two rounds of tiebreaker games yesterday and three playoff matches to finish with a 7-3 record at the Four Seasons Curling Club. The duo will now represent the U.S. at the 2017 World Mixed Doubles Championship April 22-29 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. In addition, Becca Hamilton, 26, will be a part of Team USA at the 2017 CPT World Women’s Championship this month in Beijing, China, and Matt Hamilton, 28, will compete at the 2017 Ford World Men’s Championship next month in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Polo and Peterson also are members of those teams).

 

It was just the second loss for Polo and Peterson, who won bronze at last year’s World Mixed Doubles Championship – the first medal at the event for the American program.

 

“It was the fastest sheet that we’ve played on all week and it caught up with us in the first end. They made a lot of draws and put us in some tough spots. We tried to battle back and make it a game,” said Polo, who won Olympic bronze in 2006.

 

In the opening end, an opportunity for a big scoring end developed for the Hamiltons. Polo played a double takeout in an attempt to cut down the potential bounty. But Becca Hamilton was able to convert a tapback to score four points to take a big lead. In the second end, Polo and Peterson had an opportunity to capitalize on an error with a draw for three points, but the final stone was heavy as the pair settled for two.

 

After Matt Hamilton wrecked on a guard in the third end, Polo was able to make a takeout and leave three of his team’s stones in the house. Becca Hamilton was forced to throw a hit to score a single point. In the fourth end, Polo and Peterson got a stone buried in the four-foot but were unable to wedge another one in to score multiple points. In the fifth end, the Hamiltons had a chance to score three or four points if they converted a slash double takeout. However, the way the rocks spun left one of the Polo/Peterson rocks in the four-foot to result in a steal.

 

A missed double takeout by Matt Hamilton in the sixth end resulted in just a shot for one for his team as they extended the lead to 6-4. Polo made an end-saving thin double takeout to score two points in the seventh and tie the game.

 

Neither of the first two stones of the eighth end were as precise as either side had hoped as Polo’s draw was light and ended up as a guard and Becca Hamilton’s stone was heavy and slipped past the tee-line. Peterson was able to freeze her stone to the Hamilton rock but Matt Hamilton eventually busted the rocks apart to open up the path to the four-foot. Polo was trying to draw the top of the four-foot with his team’s final stone but was heavy and it slipped to the back eight, leaving the scoring area open for Becca Hamilton to draw into for the win.

 

“I knew I was going to have to throw to the four-foot for the win. It felt good when it left my hand and I knew Matt could get it there, if needed,” Becca Hamilton said.

 

Five teams earned direct berths to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Mixed Doubles Team Trials from this championship, including the finalists (full team list below). Three additional teams may be added to the field via discretionary selection. The U.S. needs to secure its Olympic berth for mixed doubles at the upcoming World Mixed Doubles Championship. After that, the location and final dates for the Olympic Trials will be announced.

 

“One of the main goals of this weekend was to get into the Trials and then see if we could win this thing. We had some success last year so hopefully we can improve on the second-place finish and go win it next year,” said Polo, who will join Hamilton at the upcoming World Men’s Championship.  

 

Championship final line score:

*Hamilton/Hamilton        401 001 01 – 7

Polo/Peterson                    020 110 20 – 6

*last rock in first end

 

Teams qualified so far to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Mixed Doubles Team Trials:

Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) and Tabitha Peterson (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.) and Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.)

Matt Hamilton and Becca Hamilton (both of McFarland, Wis.)

Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.) and Derrick McLean (Bothell, Wash.)

Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.)

 

Mixed doubles in the Olympic Winter Games:

 

Mixed doubles will debut as an Olympic medal sport in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. Eight countries will compete and the U.S. is well on its way to securing one of those berths based on last year’s third-place finish at the World Mixed Doubles Championship. South Korea, as host of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, earns an automatic berth and the other seven countries that will compete in mixed doubles are determined by accumulating points at the 2016 and 2017 World Mixed Doubles Championship events.

 

If the U.S. secures a berth in mixed doubles for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, an Olympic Trials will take place in December (dates and site to be announced). The top five teams from the 2017 Mixed Doubles National Championship will earn berths to compete in the Olympic Mixed Doubles Trials. In addition, a minimum of three teams may qualify for the Trials via discretionary selection to bring the Trials field to a maximum of eight teams.

 

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, BalancePlus, Brakebush, Jet Ice, and Ki Mobility, and is partnered with Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, United Airlines, 12th End Sports Network, and CurlingZone.

 

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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).