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Playoff picture taking shape at Olympic Team Trials

By Terry L. Davis | Nov. 14, 2017, 11:09 p.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 14, 2017

Playoff picture shaping up at 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling

(OMAHA, Neb.) – The playoff picture is starting to take shape as the round robin nears its close at the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling.

Jamie Sinclair’s team secured two wins today to move into a tie for first place after a 7-4 victory over Nina Roth’s rink tonight at Baxter Arena.

Sinclair and teammates Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.), Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), and Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.) shot 86 percent in improving to 3-2.

“We had lost a few close ones and we knew that we wanted to come out firing today,” Walker said. “We tried to break it down into small tasks – trying to get the hammer for the games and also trying to score in the first end – and that worked out really well for us.”

The Sinclair rink will finish the round robin tomorrow night against Cory Christensen’s team (1-3).

“We were playing well before but having some small misses or things weren’t quite going our way,” Walker said. “We feel that we’re more precise now and we’re getting those outcomes that we’re looking for. I think we’re ramping up and just really focused on ourselves and what we’re doing.”

Heath McCormick’s team improved to 5-2 with a 7-2 victory over Brady Clark’s team (1-6), which was eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the day.

McCormick and teammates Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.), and Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.) held a modest 2-1 lead over Clark’s rink halfway through the match but took advantage of two key misses in the sixth that gave McCormick’s side an open draw for five points to seal the win.

“We knew coming into this night that we had to stay patient. Everyone has been on both sides of the spectrum with one side being out and the other fighting to get a playoff spot. So, it’s a difficult spot for everybody so we just wanted to stay patient and wait for an opportunity and, obviously, it came in the sixth end,” said McCormick, who won the men’s national title in 2012 and finished third at the 2014 Olympic Trials.

The McCormick win also eliminated Craig Brown’s team from playoff contention. Two wins from Todd Birr’s team – including tonight over Brown – puts them in the thick of the playoff hunt. Birr’s remaining opponents include John Shuster (5-1) and McCormick (5-2).

The round robin will conclude on Wednesday after draws at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. If needed, tiebreaker games would take place on Thursday morning. A link to the live webstream of the round robin can be found at www.NBCSports.com. The playoffs will be live and on tape delay starting Thursday on NBCSN. Game scores will be posted online after each draw at www.usacurl.org. Standings and stats also will be available.

Draw 9 scores: McCormick 7, Clark 2; Sinclair 7, Roth 4; Birr 5, Brown 3

 

Draw 8 scores: Birr 9, Clark 8; Sinclair 9, Christensen 3; Shuster 6, McCormick 5

 

Men’s Standings (double round robin):

John Shuster                    5-1

Heath McCormick           5-2

Todd Birr                           4-2

Craig Brown                     1-5

Brady Clark                       1-6

 

Women’s Standings (triple round robin):

Nina Roth                         3-2

Jamie Sinclair                   3-2

Cory Christensen            1-3

             

The round robin continues through Wednesday night. If needed, tiebreakers will take place on Thursday morning. The playoffs, a best two-out-of-three series, will begin on Friday and continue through Saturday night, if needed.

USA Curling is hosting the event with Baxter Arena and the Omaha Sports Commission, in partnership with the Aksarben Curling Club and the United States Olympic Committee. The men’s and women’s teams that win the Trials will be named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

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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). 

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