USA Curling Features Stopera rink secures...

Stopera rink secures spot in championship final at Junior Nationals

By Terry L. Davis | Jan. 17, 2019, 4:19 p.m. (ET)


Jan. 17, 2019

Stopera rink advances to men’s final at 2019 Junior Nationals

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – After going undefeated in the round robin, Team Andrew Stopera will be rewarded with a direct berth into Saturday’s championship final of the 2019 USA Curling Junior National Championships in Two Harbors, Minn.

Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) and teammates Luc Violette (Lake Stevens, Wash.), Ben Richardson (Issaquah, Wash.), Graem Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), and Riley Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) finished with a 7-0 record after getting past Wes Wendling’s team this afternoon by an 11-5 score. The other two playoff-bound teams – Andrew McDonald (Hudson, Ohio) and Skyler Slusar (Hallock, Minn.) – squared off in the final round robin session with McDonald’s team prevailing, 8-3.

For the playoffs, Team Stopera will advance directly to the championship final based on winning the round robin outright. McDonald and Slusar will play a single semifinal match to determine which team will join Stopera in the final. Because they are undefeated, Team Stopera has two chances to win the final and represent the U.S. at the World Junior Championships next month. The men’s final will thus be played at 9 a.m. Saturday in case a second game is required at 1 p.m.

In other men’s competition today, Chase Sinnett’s team ended their week on a positive note with an 11-3 victory over Charlie Thompson’s rink. Kevin Tuma’s team secured its second win of the week when they scored a point in the extra end to defeat Tyler Hipke’s rink, 7-6.

The women’s round robin will conclude this afternoon after the final session at 4 p.m. CT. So far Annmarie Dubberstein’s team has secured a playoff spot. If needed, tiebreaker games would follow tonight and/or tomorrow morning. Live scores and a live webstream are linked at

Men’s results (12 p.m. today): McDonald 8, Slusar 3; Sinnett 11, Thompson 3; Stopera 11, Wendling 5; Tuma 7, Hipke 6 (extra end)

Women’s standings:

Annmarie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.     5-1Q

Cait Flannery (Mankato, Minn.)                4-2

Elizabeth Cousins (Medfield, Mass.)        3-3

Abbey Kitchens (Devils Lake, N.D.)           3-3

Ariel Traxler (Fairbanks, Alaska)               3-3

Samantha Jones (Endeavor, Wis.)            2-4

Mackenzie Page (Burnsville, Minn.)         2-4

Suzanna Viau (Plover, Wis.)                       2-4

Men’s standings:

Andrew Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) 7-0Q (advances to final)

Andrew McDonald (Hudson, Ohio)          6-1Q

Skyler Slusar (Hallock, Minn.)                   5-2Q

Chase Sinnett (Medfield, Mass.)               4-3

Charlie Thompson (Eau Claire, Wis.)        2-5

Kevin Tuma (St. Paul, Minn.)                     2-5

Wes Wendling (Wausau, Wis.)                 2-5

Tyler Hipke (Wauwatosa, Wis.)                 0-7

Q=Qualified to playoffs

Playoff teams – men:

Team McDonald:Andrew McDonald (Hudson, Ohio), JP Munich (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Sam Strouse (Midland, Mich.) [throws last stones], Ryan Elwing (Brookfield, Wis.)

Team Slusar: Skyler Slusar (Hallock, Minn.), Nick Steinhaus (Mapleton, Minn.), Ethan Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), Mitch Wilson (Delafield, Wis.)

Team Stopera: Andrew Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Luc Violette (Lake Stevens, Wash.), Ben Richardson (Issaquah, Wash.), Graem Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Riley Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)

Playoff teams – women:

Team Dubberstein: Annmarie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.), Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska), Jenna Burchesky (Walpole, Mass.), Allison Howell (Solon, Ohio)

What’s at stake:

The winners of the Junior Nationals will represent the U.S. at the 2019 World Junior Championships Feb. 16-24 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada.


After the round robin concludes, a modified Page playoff will take place. If there is a clear winner of the round robin – at least one win ahead of any other team – that team will advance directly to the championship final. If two or three teams are tied for first place after the round robin, then the team the top two seeds squaring off in a game with the winner advancing to the championship final. The losing side will then take on the No. 3 playoff seed in a single semifinal match to determine the other finalist. If four teams end up tied for first place after the round robin concludes, all four will advance to the playoffs and be seeded for traditional semifinal games with the winners of those games moving on to the gold-medal match. In the rare scenario where more than four teams are tied for first place, tiebreaker games would be played to reduce the playoff field to four teams.

There is a double loss provision in place so if an undefeated team advances to the final, the first championship game will be played at 9 a.m. with a second final played at 1 p.m. if the undefeated team loses that first game.


At the conclusion of the event the Curtis Cup for Sportsmanship Awards will be presented to a female and male team. In addition, the Katie Beck Memorial Award will be presented to an outstanding player competing in the second position. New this year is the Bev Schroeder Memorial Junior Curling Awards, which will be presented to two outstanding Junior Nationals rookies (one female, one male). The award honors the late Bev Schroeder, who coached the women’s team to the Junior Nationals gold medal the past two seasons and coached many other junior teams over three decades. A scholarship fund – separate from the Junior Nationals awards – was created in December. More details about how to apply for the college scholarships will be available soon at

Social media:



More information about the 2019 Junior Nationals can be found at and

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, ISS (Ice, Sports & Solar), and Twin Cities Orthopedics, and is partnered with Carhartt, Brakebush, Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, United Airlines, 12th End Sports Network, IHG, and CurlingZone.


For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications,, 608-338-9900 (mobile).

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