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Shuster rink named Team of the Year Christensen, Dropkin top athletes

By Terry L. Davis, Editor

Year and Team of the Year awards for 2016. Aſter a bronze-medal finish at the 2016 World


Men’s Curling Championship and a successful season competing on the World Curling Tour, the 2016 USA Curling Team of the Year is the John Shuster rink. Athlete of the Year honors go to Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and Korey Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.) aſter leading their teams to junior national titles and silver medals at the 2016 World Junior Championships. Shuster (Superior, Wis.) and his team of Tyler

George (Duluth, Minn.), Matt Hamilton (Mc- Farland, Wis.), and John Landsteiner (Duluth, Minn.) finished the season ranked No. 14 on the World Curling Tour Order of Merit. Tat com- petitive season included three event titles and five additional playoff appearances. Te team, coached by Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.), would also capture the 2016 WFG Continental Cup title in January as a member of Team North America and finished second at the U.S. National Championships in February in Florida. At the 2016 World Men’s Championship in

Basel, Shuster’s team finished the round robin with an 8-3 record to advance to the Page play- offs and eventually defeated Japan to win the bronze medal. Te medal marked the first for the U.S. men’s program since 2007 and also secured 10 points toward qualifying the U.S. men for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.

“Building off our strong first

season together, our team set some pretty loſty goals for this past season. We achieved near- ly all of them, which was pretty remarkable! It was amazing be- ing a part of such a great sea- son,” said three-time Olympian Shuster. “Collectively, we are honored to be named Team of the Year! Because curling is the

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n a year highlighted with many successes for Team USA members, USA Curling is proud to announce the Athletes of the

Te 2016 USA Curling Team of the Year features (l-r) John Shuster, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, and John Landsteiner.

ultimate ‘team’ sport, it’s great to be recognized together. Tis honor will be a nice launching off point for the upcoming sea- son, that’s for sure.”

Shuster was a member of the 2006 Team of the

Year aſter earning a bronze medal at the Olympic Winter Games while Hamilton was honored in 2008 aſter the U.S. won gold at the World Junior Championships. “Tese guys worked extremely hard all off-

season to build on the 2015-16 season – and they did just that! To be able to finish the season in the Top 15 in the World Curling Tour rankings and bring home a bronze medal from the world championships is really special,” said Drobnick, who will coach the team in the upcoming sea- son as well. “Tis is the best season a U.S. men’s team has had in a long time. Tis award is well deserved.” Christensen, 21, led her team of Sarah Ander-

son (Broomall, Pa.), Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), Madison Bear (Portage, Wis.), and Chris- tine McMakin (St. Paul, Minn.) to a perfect 11-0 record en route to winning the 2016 USA Curling Junior Women’s National Championship title in January in Willmar, Minn. Next up for Chris- tensen’s team was a bronze-medal finish at the 2016 USA Curling National Championships in

Jacksonville, Fla. Later that month the team went 7-2 in the round robin of the 2016 World Junior Championships in Denmark to secure a spot in the Page 1-2 game of the playoffs. Aſter defeating Canada to advance to the gold-medal game, the U.S. team ended up taking home silver medals. Te team was coached by Dave Jensen (Bismarck. N.D.). “I feel very honored to have been chosen for

this award,” said Christensen, who won the ju- nior national title four times. “Tank you to the committee, my coaches, all of our supporters, and especially my teammates. I feel very lucky to compete at such a high level with some of my best friends,” Christensen said. “Tis season was a very special one for me with it being my last year of juniors. Back in 2012 at my first worlds, I made a goal of winning a medal at a Junior Worlds. Winning the Page 1-2 game in Denmark this year, which guaranteed us a medal, was a feeling I’ll never forget. I’m excited for what this year will bring in women’s and can’t wait to get back out onto the ice.” Christensen is a student at the University of

Minnesota-Duluth but is taking the fall semester off to focus on curling. Christensen’s team fin- ished ranked No. 33 in the World Curling Tour Order of Merit standings, which was highlighted by an event title at the St. Paul Cashspiel and a

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