(OMAHA, Nebraska) – With a small field it’s really no surprise that the women’s division is all even after two days of round robin action at the 2018 US Olympic Team Trials for Curling.
Cory Christensen got her young team into the win column with a huge last-rock victory over Jamie Sinclair to secure their first win tonight at Baxter Arena.
“I’m still a little jittery to be honest. That was a great game,” said Christensen, 22. “We came out shooting and it came down to the last rock – it was a team shot in the last end. They called it perfectly.”
Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and her team of Sarah Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), and Jenna Martin (Wauwatosa, Wis.) needed a very precise draw around a guard that was off the center line and seemingly in the way of the path needed to outcount Sinclair’s stone in the back corner of the button. Christensen threw just the right weight and her sweepers patiently took it around the guard and curled it into the winning position by a mere inch. The win created a three-way tie first place s Nina Roth’s rink had the bye tonight.
“We’re right in the mix of things now. That was a big win for us,” Christensen said.
John Shuster’s team kept its perfect record in place, but it took an extra end to fend off Craig Brown’s team in a 6-5 battle. Brown scored two points in the final end of regulation to tie the game and put the pressure on Shuster’s team to draw the button for the win.
That means Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) are now 3-0 as the halfway point of the men’s double round robin nears.
“That’s the best way to win a game. It gives the skip confidence. We know John has that one in his pocket. Of course, you’d always like the game to end earlier but if you’re gonna win a game and give your team confidence, that’s the way to do it,” George said about the last shot of the game.
Heath McCormick’s team improved to 3-1 with a 6-2 victory over Todd Birr’s team. Birr’s side had a modest 1-0 lead heading into the sixth end. McCormick was forced to draw for a single point as Birr’s team piled five stones in the rings. After holding the Birr rink to a single in the eighth end, McCormick’s team put the game away with a huge four-end score in the ninth to earn their third triumph.
Monday’s schedule includes draws at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. A link to the live webstream of the round robin can be found at www.NBCSports.com. Game scores will be posted online after each draw at www.usacurl.org. Standings and stats also will be available.
Draw 4 scores: Christensen 7, Sinclair 6; Shuster 6, Brown 5 (extra end); McCormick 6, Birr 2
Draw 3 scores: Shuster 7, McCormick 5; Birr 9, Clark 6; Roth 7, Christensen 6 (extra end)
The round robin continues through Wednesday night. If needed, tiebreakers will take place on Thursday morning. The playoffs, a best two-out-of-three series, will begin on Friday and continue through Saturday night, if needed.
USA Curling is hosting the event with Baxter Arena and the Omaha Sports Commission, in partnership with the Aksarben Curling Club and the United States Olympic Committee. The men’s and women’s teams that win the Trials will be named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee.