FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 15, 2019
Sinclair and Shuster punch tickets to finals at 2019 National Championships
(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – Teams skipped by Jamie Sinclair and John Shuster punched their tickets to tomorrow’s championship finals after winning their playoff matches this afternoon at the 2019 USA Curling National Championships.
Sinclair (Manotick, Ontario) and her team of Sarah Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Taylor Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.) drew for two points with the final stone to defeat Nina Roth’s team, 9-8, at Wings Event Center.
Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and teammates Tabitha Peterson (St. Paul, Minn.), Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) and Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) will now take on Cory Christensen’s team in tonight’s semifinal match. The winning side will then take on Team Sinclair in the women’s gold medal game at 11 a.m. ET.
“This is something that we planned as far as playing goes – this is the ultimate goal to make it to the gold medal game. We won so we accomplished that so now we’ll be refocusing to get that win in the final,” said Sinclair, who has won the title the past two years. “We knew that we were good enough to play in that final game, so we hoped and planned for it. We’re just feeling happy and feeling confident.”
It took an extra end but Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and teammates Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.) and Madison Bear (Minneapolis, Minn.) got past Stephanie Senneker’s team, 9-8, in the women’s tiebreaker match with a draw into the eight-foot. Persinger cleared out a pile of granite to open up the end and give her skip a more open path for the winning shot.
“I always get a little bit nervous, but I think the nerves were good,” Christensen said. “Vicky made a great shot for us that basically saved the end and it made my life really easy. I just think that showed a lot of grit and resilience from us. We played really well and it was a really back and forth game from us. I’m really proud of the girls.”
Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.) and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) sent a message early in the game when they scored three points to take a lead that they would not relinquish. After holding Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and his team of Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.) and Phil Tilker (Seattle) to a single point in the third end, Shuster’s team scored two more in the fourth and stole a single in the fifth. Another deuce in the seventh sealed the victory for Shuster’s team as they now head to the final at 3 p.m. tomorrow.
“We were ready to play. Greg and those guys are a solid team so we knew what we had to do to get ready to go. That shot call in the second end for three was a little reminder to them that we’re not scared to play you guys,” Plys said.
Ruohonen’s rink will now meet Todd Birr’s team in the semifinal at 7 tonight. Birr (Ham Lake, Minn.) and his team of Greg Johnson (Appleton, Wis.), Hunter Clawson (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Tom O’Connor (Robbinsdale, Minn.) put the pressure on Mark Fenner’s team in the 10th end and stole the winning point to stay in the medal hunt.
“We’ve played these guys a lot in the past, and we outplayed them. It’s too bad for Fenner’s team. Tough break there in the last end, but I don’t think either team played as well as they would have liked to,” Birr said. “It was a scrappy kind of game. Both teams were in it – it just came down to a bad break for them in the tenth end with Fenner’s rock, they could have gotten it but boy, was that a tough break for them.”
Fenner (St. Anthony, Minn.) and teammates Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.), Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.) and Alex Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) had an unfortunate rock pick in the 10th end that changed the end and made Dropkin’s hammer shot more difficult. The final tap attempt was thrown too light and Birr’s side stole the win.
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