Tabitha Peterson (photo by Rich Harmer, USA Curling) wins 8-1 over Cassie Potter to clinch playoff berth
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Tabitha Peterson punched a playoff ticket with authority in the USA Curling National Championships hammering Cassie Potter 8-1 Wednesday at Eastern Washington University’s Recreation Center in Cheney.
Peterson, who has moved up from third to skip with Nina Roth away on maternity leave, improved to a 5-1 round-robin record with one crucial game remaining before the playoffs as first place is still up for grabs.
“It feels amazing,” Peterson said. “We played really well last night so we were like let’s just keep carrying that through, keep building on it, keep improving every game and just go out firing.”
After scoring a deuce in the first, Peterson (St. Paul, Minn.) pirated a point in the second, four in the third and one more in the fourth to complete the snowman on the scoreboard. The 2005 world silver medalist Potter (3-3; St. Paul, Minn.) broke the shutout in the fifth before shaking hands.
Peterson's team also includes third Becca Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), second Tara Peterson (Eagan, Minn.) and lead Aileen Geving (Duluth, Minn.). Their final game of round-robin play Thursday will be against Christine McMakin’s squad from St. Paul, Minn., skipped by veteran Patti Lank.
“One more game in the round-robin, you never know where you could land in the seeding, so you want to keep winning and everything like that in the round-robin,” Peterson said. “We’ll prepare for our last game and then kind of mentally prepare for the playoffs as well.”
Front-runner Jamie Sinclair (6-1; Osgoode, Ontario) sustained her first loss of the tournament falling 9-8 in an extra-end to Kim Rhyme (Minneapolis). Rhyme completed the comeback scoring three in the 10th and stealing one in the extra end to remain in contention with a 2-4 record.
Elsewhere, Lank moved up to a 3-3 record to improve her chances with an 11-6 victory over Rachel Workin (1-5; Fargo, N.D.). Ariel Traxler (3-3; Fairbanks, Alaska) brushed aside junior national champion Delaney Strouse (2-4; Midland, Mich.) in an 11-2 triumph. Traxler missed the playoffs at junior nationals last month but is right in the mix here having won three straight after dropping her first few games.
Alaska's Ariel Traxler grabs an important win over Delaney Strouse to improve to 3-3 joining McMakin and Potter in a tie for the last playoff spot. #CurlingNats2020— USA Curling (@usacurl) February 13, 2020
The nationals will help determine Team USA for the world women’s curling championship, March 14-22 in Prince George, British Columbia, and the world men’s curling championship, March 28 to April 5, in Glasgow, Scotland. Winners also receive berths to the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup.
Any men’s or women’s team that wins the 2020 National Championships and is ranked 70th or higher in the WCF World Team Ranking System or has earned 60 points year to date as of Jan. 31, 2020, will be named Team USA for the Men’s/Women’s World Championships.
The USA Curling National Championships continue at 7 p.m. PT. Round-robin play runs through to Thursday with the Page playoffs and semifinals set for Friday and both finals scheduled on Saturday.