Team Stopera wins third straight Junior Nationals title

By Terry L. Davis | Jan. 19, 2019, 1:22 p.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jan. 19, 2019

Team Stopera wins men’s title at 2019 Junior Nationals

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Familiar faces will wear Team USA on their back at the upcoming World Junior Championships as Andrew Stopera led his team to the men’s title today at the 2019 USA Curling Junior National Championships in Two Harbors, Minn.

Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) and his team of Luc Violette (Lake Stevens, Wash.), Ben Richardson (Issaquah, Wash.), Graem Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), and Riley Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) methodically removed rocks in a 6-3 victory over the Nick Steinhaus rink at the Two Harbors Curling Club.

It is the third straight win for Stopera, Violette, Richardson and Graem Fenson, fourth overall title for Violette and first for Riley Fenson. The team will now represent the U.S. at the 2019 World Junior Championships Feb. 16-24 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada. The team is coached by Mark Lazar (Toledo, Ohio).

Team Stopera got on the scoreboard first with a draw for two in the second end. After forcing Steinhaus (Mapleton, Minn.) and his team of Skyler Slusar (Hallock, Minn.), Ethan Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), and Mitch Wilson (Delafield, Wis.) into a single point in the third end, Team Stopera had a chance to score three points in the fourth end but missed an angle runback to give Team Steinhaus a steal of one.

In the fifth end, Stopera secured a skip’s deuce after drawing behind a corner guard with his first stone. Steinhaus’s freeze attempt was heavy, leaving Stopera the chance to draw for two points. A couple of blank ends later, Team Steinhaus was forced into taking a point in the eighth end. In the ninth, Stopera had a stone in the back of the four-foot in scoring position. Steinhaus delivered a stone into the top of the four-foot to cut down the scoring area for Team Stopera. They still had a shot for two points, but the final draw attempt was wide as they took one point and a 5-3 lead into the 10th.

Needing two points to force an extra end, Team Steinhaus couldn’t get the offense cooking and the house was guard free with a Stopera stone in the house when the game progressed to skip shots. The first draw attempt from Steinhaus was light and ended up as a center guard as defeat was closing in. Team Stopera, with a stone in the scoring area already, didn’t need another stone in play. Steinhaus didn’t have a chance to score two and his final stone was again light as the game ended.

Stopera’s team went 11-0 to win last year’s Junior Nationals and were a perfect 8-0 at this year’s event. The team finished second at the 2017 World Juniors and lost the bronze-medal game in 2018 at the World Juniors in Scotland.

The women’s final between Annmarie Dubberstein (6-1) and Cait Flannery (6-2) will take place at 1 p.m. CT today. Follow along with the live webstream and scores at www.usacurl.org.

Line scores, men’s final:

*Andrew Stopera            020 020 001 1 – 6

Nick Steinhaus                 001 100 010 0 – 3

*last rock in first end

Gold medalists, 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.)

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

Bronze medalists, Team Strouse: Sam Strouse (Midland, Mich.), JP Munich (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Andrew McDonald (Hudson, Ohio), Ryan Elwing (Brookfield, Wis.)

Women’s finalists:

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

Team Flannery: Cait Flannery (Mankato, Minn.), Leah Yavarow (Bemidji, Minn.), Lexi Lanigan (Duluth, Minn.), Rebecca Miles (Duluth, Minn.)

Social media:

#2019JrNats

#curling

More information about the 2019 Junior Nationals can be found at https://go.teamusa.org/2yeW6t0 and http://twoharborscurling.com/2019-junior-nationals/.

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.

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For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, terry.davis@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile).