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2020 Junior National Championships start Sunday in Eau Claire

By Terry L. Davis | Jan. 09, 2020, 11:27 a.m. (ET)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jan. 9, 2020

2020 Junior National Championships begin Sunday in Eau Claire

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Sixteen teams will hit the ice this weekend to take a run at becoming national champion as the Eau Claire Curling Club hosts the 2020 USA Curling Junior National Championships.

The six-day competition kicks off Sunday as the teams take the ice for practice sessions followed by the opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. The round robin then begins at 8 a.m. CT Monday morning at the four-sheet club in Eau Claire, Wis. A live webstream and live scoring will be available for fans to follow along. All event information can be found here: https://go.teamusa.org/37GLUe9.

The round robin continues through Thursday with the playoffs starting on Friday morning. The championship games will take place on Saturday. The winning men’s team will represent the United States at the 2020 World Junior Championships Feb. 15-22 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The U.S. did not qualify a women’s team for the world championship, unfortunately.

Four-time junior champion Luc Violette moves up to the skip position this year and has led his team to a strong season so far. He won the junior national title the last three years along with teammates Graem Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) and Ben Richardson (Cleveland, Ohio). Riley Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) won his first title last year with the team. Jon Harstad (Duluth, Minn.) joined Team Violette this season in the alternate role. Violette also won back in 2014 and has qualified his current team to compete in the 2020 Men’s National Championship.

On the women’s side, defending champions Leah Yavarow (Bemidji, Minn.), Cait Flannery (Mankato, Minn.), and Rebecca Miles (Duluth, Minn.) are hungry to return to the top of the Junior Nationals podium. They are skipped by Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska) with two-time junior champion Allison Howell (Solon, Ohio) playing lead. Another past champion in the field is Christine McMakin (Minneapolis, Minn.), who won junior titles in 2017 and 2016 and also qualified her team to compete in the Women’s National Championship.

Ariel Traxler (Fairbanks, Alaska), a longtime competitor at Junior Nationals, also qualified her team to compete in both juniors and women’s national events. Teammate Katherine Gourianova (Potomac, Md.) is qualified to compete in three national championships this season (women’s, junior women’s and mixed doubles) and is the defending mixed national champion along with Team Sinnett’s Eli Clawson (Clarksville, Md.) and Team Strouse’s Sydney Mullaney (Concord, Mass.). Clawson also is Gourianova’s teammate for the Mixed Doubles National Championship. McMakin and Riley Fenson also have qualified to compete in the mixed doubles event. In addition, many of this year’s Junior Nationals (U21) competitors also will compete in the U18 National Championships in March.

Here is a look at the competing field for the 2020 USA Curling Junior National Championships:

Women:

Team Crotty: DaKotah Crotty (Pardeeville, Wis.), Kristianna Yecoshenko (Duluth, Minn.), Joanna Seboth (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Jessica Olson (Duluth, Minn.)

Team Farrell: Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska), Leah Yavarow* (Bemidji, Minn.), Cait Flannery* (Mankato, Minn.), Allison Howell* (Solon, Ohio), Rebecca Miles* (Duluth, Minn.)

Team Jones: Samantha Jones (Endeavor, Wis.), Abigail Marquardt (Poynette, Wis.), Elizabeth Vorpahl (Portage, Wis.), Anna Armstrong (Appleton, Wis.), Anna Tamboli (Portage, Wis.)

Team Kitchens: Abbey Kitchens (Devils Lake, N.D.), Sydney Steffen (Devils Lake, N.D.), Abigail Page (Mankato, Minn.), Mairin Barrett (Woodbury, Minn.)

Team McMakin: Christine McMakin* (Minneapolis, Minn.), Anna Netteberg (Roseville, Minn.), Anne O’Hara (Fairbanks, Alaska), Emma Rau (Columbus, Ohio)

Team Normandeau: Anya Normandeau (Burnsville, Minn.), Rachel Kawleski (Stevens Point, Wis.), Anna Cenzalli (East Falmouth, Mass.), Celeste Taylor (Wausau, Wis.)

Team Strouse: Delaney Strouse (Midland, Mich.), Sydney Mullaney (Concord, Mass.), Susan Dudt (Malvern, Pa.), Rebecca Rodgers (Leyden, Mass.)

Team Traxler: Ariel Traxler (Fairbanks, Alaska), Elizabeth Cousins (Medfield, Mass.), Katherine Gourianova (Potomac, Md.), Elizabeth Janiak (Nashua, N.H.)

Men:

Team Casper: Danny Casper (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Marius Kleinas (Marstons Mills, Mass.), Samuel Willertz (Midland, Mich.), Benjamin Grady (Media, Pa.), Jacob Zeman (Duluth, Minn.)

Team Murray: Daniel Murray (Nisswa, Minn.), Aidan Oldenburg (Mapleton, Minn.), Shawn Quello (Bemidji, Minn.), Seth Solo (Bemidji, Minn.)

Team Randall: Benjamin Randall (Janesville, Wis.), Austin Carlson (Midland, Mich.), Noah Witte (Schofield, Wis.), Ian Strong (Grand Blanc, Mich.)

Team Sinnett: Chase Sinnett (Medfield, Mass.), Sam Strouse (Midland, Mich.), Eli Clawson (Clarksville, Md.), Ethan Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), Trevor Marquardt (Poynette, Wis.)

Team Thurston: Coleman Thurston (Poynette, Wis.), Connor Kauffman (Lynnwood, Wash.), Nick Soto (Midland, Mich.), Jake Thurston (Poynette, Wis.), Hans Nielsen (Stevens Point, Wis.)

Team Tuma: Kevin Tuma (St. Paul, Minn.), Samuel Clasen (Roseville, Minn.), Michael Mattson (Woodbury, Minn.), Sidney Harris (St. Paul, Minn.), Austin Bengtson (Spicer, Minn.)

Team Violette: Luc Violette* (Lake Stevens, Wash.), Graem Fenson* (Bemidji, Minn.), Ben Richardson* (Cleveland, Ohio), Riley Fenson* (Bemidji, Minn.), Jon Harstad (Duluth, Minn.)

Team Wendling: Wes Wendling (Wausau, Wis.), John Wilkerson (Kronenwetter, Wis.), Mitchell Armstrong (Appleton, Wis.), Jackson Armstrong (Appleton, Wis.), Christopher Kirsch (Wausau, Wis.)

*past junior national champion

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Brakebush, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Franklin Group, ISS (Ice, Sports & Solar), Sitrin, Thorne, Toyota, Traveler’s Choice, Twin Cities Orthopedics, and Volt, and is partnered with Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, Rock Solid Productions Inc., 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).