Shuster, Sinclair rinks top podium at 2017 National Championships

By Terry L. Davis, Editor

Sinclair’s team only suffered one loss en route to winning their respective national titles on Feb. 18 at XFINITY Arena of Everett in Everett, Wash. Winning a national title never gets old for


Olympian Shuster, who captured No. 6 aſter de- feating Todd Birr’s team, 8-6, in the men’s gold- medal game. With a clutch draw to the button with the final

stone of the game, Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and teammates Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.), John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.), and Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) concluded an undefeated week with a national title. Shuster’s team gave up only three steals in 11

games in finishing the week with a perfect 11-0 record. Te team is coached by Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.). “It’s a gigantic accomplishment that you just

never know was possible – to go undefeated through this entire thing, especially with the great teams we have in the field. It is pretty spe- cial,” said Shuster, who led Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2016 World Men’s Championship in Switzerland. Te Shuster rink went on to represent the U.S.

at the 2017 Ford World Men’s Championship (fourth place) and the Humpty’s Champions Cup, both in Canada in April. “Coming into this week, I figured that our

chance of going to Worlds was probably some- where around the 10-20 percent range because Heath (McCormick) and those guys have had such a great year. I didn’t foresee that happening, but I did foresee us being in the mix around the end of the week. Aſter we finally got healthy half- way through November, since then we’ve made some great strides and played some really good curling.” Sinclair’s rink put the exclamation point to

a successful season as winners of the 2017 USA Curling National Championships. Sinclair (Blaine, Minn.) and teammates Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.), Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska), and Monica Walker (St. Paul, Minn.) de- feated Nina Roth’s team, 6-4, in the gold-medal game.

2017 Men’s National champions (front, l-r) John Landsteiner, Matt Hamilton, Tyler George, John Shuster, Joe Polo (back, l-r), and Coach Phill Drobnick.

“Everything just clicked and came together for

us this week. I’m super proud of the girls for all the hard work they put in all year. It’s definitely paid off,” Sinclair said. Te Sinclair rink represented the U.S. at the

Humpty’s Champions Cup April 25-30 in Cal- gary, Alberta, Canada, reaching the quarterfi- nals. Roth’s team represented the U.S. at the 2017 World Women’s Curling Championship in Bei- jing, China, based on season-long point totals. “I’m so excited for the Champions Cup,” Sin-

clair said. “Tat’s what we were playing for here today, and we wanted that real bad because it’s such a good opportunity. It’s a huge stepping stone. It opens the door for so many more op- portunities.”

Tis is the first Women’s National Champion-

ship title win for Sinclair, Persinger and Walker, and second for Carlson. Te team is coached by Scott Baird (Bemidji, Minn.). “Tere’s no getting used to winning a national

title. It’s kind of fun, though, because I didn’t curl last year and came back and we crushed our whole season,” said Carlson, who won the na- tional title in 2015. “It feels awesome. It’s my first one and was a

long time waiting for it and hoping for it. I was hoping that we’d just finish it off,” Walker said. Te 2018 USA Curling National Champion-

ships will take place March 3-10 at Scheels Arena in Fargo, N.D. Q

USA Curling (( 19 2017 Women’s National champions (l-r) Alex

Carlson, Jamie Sinclair, Vicky Persinger, and Monica Walker.

he John Shuster rink marched through the 2017 USA Curling National Cham- pionships undefeated, while Jamie

2017 National Championships Feb. 11-18, Everett, Wash. Round robin standings: Men

John Shuster (Superior, Wis.) Brady Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.) Todd Birr (Blaine, Minn.) Craig Brown (Madison, Wis.) Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) Hunter Clawson (Clarksville, Md.) Alex Leichter (Boston)

Heath McCormick (Sarnia, Ontario) Darryl Sobering (Denver)

9-0Q 7-2Q 6-3Q 5-4Q 5-4 4-5 4-5 4-5 1-8

Stephen Dropkin (Minneapolis, Minn.) 0-9 Tiebreaker: Brown 6, Fenson 4 Page playoff 1-2 game: Shuster 6, Clark 4 Page playoff 3-4 game: Birr 7, Brown 6 Semifinal: Birr 8, Clark 5 Gold medal: Shuster 8, Birr 7 Round robin standings: Women

Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.) Cassie Potter (St. Paul, Minn.) Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.)

Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) Madison Bear (Pardeeville, Wis.) Jessica Schultz (Richfield, Minn.) Cristin Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.) Becca Wood (Denver)

6-1Q 5-2Q 5-2Q 4-3 4-3 3-4 1-6 0-7

Q=qualified to playoffs Semifinal: Roth 8, Potter 1 Gold medal: Sinclair 6, Roth 4 Ann Brown Sportsmanship Award recipients: Hunter Clawson (Team Clawson) & Donna Umali (Team Wood)

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