Washington and Minnesota Teams to represent USA

Skip Cory Christensen and her team from Minnesota will represent USA women at WJCC 2014 Photo: USCA
Jake Vukich from Washington State will represent USA men at WJCC 2014 Photo: USCA

Seattle's Jake Vukich rink took advantage of home ice to earn their first trip to the World Junior Championships after defeating the Scott Dunnam rink today, 7-5, in the men's final of the 2014 USA Curling Junior National Championships at the Granite Curling Club.

In the women's division, Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) led her team to a last-rock win over Sarah Anderson (Broomall, Pa.) to earn her second junior title. The Vukich and Christensen rinks will now represent the U.S. at the 2014 World Junior Championships later this month in Flims, Switzerland.

Vukich (Seattle) and teammates Evan McAuley (Sammamish, Wash.), Luc Violette (Granite Falls, Wash.), and Kyle Lorvick (Seattle) never trailed against Dunnam's rink, maintaining control throughout and stealing points when they could. The game was tied 2-2 after four ends when Vukich's rink took over the game from Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.) and teammates Andrew Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Steven Szemple (Edison, N.J.), and Andrew Dunnam (Dresher, Pa).

Leading 4-2 after six ends, the Vukich rink capitalized in the seventh after a key miss by Dunnam with the final stone, resulting in a steal of two points for the Washington junior men. The Seattle team then stole a single when Dunnam missed a tough runback with the final stone of the eighth end. Dunnam's team finally got back on the scoreboard with three points in the ninth to attempt a rally. However, in the final end with the last-rock advantage favoring Vukich's team, Washington closed out the victory, set up by Violette with a runback that cleared all the stones out of the house early on.

Christensen and teammates Mackenzie Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.), Anna Bauman (Duluth, Minn.), Anna Hopkins (Bismarck, N.D.), with alternate Sonja Bauman (Duluth, Minn.), also controlled most of its match against Anderson and teammates Katie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.), Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), and Leilani Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.). They never trailed but had to keep holding off rallies by the Anderson rink, which finished fourth last year at Junior Nationals.

In the seventh end, Anderson's team was able to score two points to tie the game, 5-5. Christensen's rink stole back the game's momentum, however, when they executed a tough tapback for two points to take a 7-5 lead with two ends to play. Anderson's rink once again tied the game by playing a smart ninth end that resulted in a deuce.

In the 10th end, the Anderson rink was unable to take advantage of a miss by the Christensen rink. Anderson's final stone sunk a little deeper into the rings than the team had anticipated, giving Christensen a basic draw into the four-foot for the win.

Men's gold-medal game:
*Scott Dunnam (Pennsylvania) 001 100 003 x - 5
Jake Vukich (Washington) 110 011 210 x - 7

Women's gold-medal game:
*Cory Christensen (Minnesota) 202 001 020 1 - 8
Sarah Anderson (Pennsylvania) 010 020 202 1 - 7
*last rock in first end

Gold medalists:
Team Vukich: Jake Vukich (Seattle), Evan McAuley (Sammamish, Wash.), Luc Violette (Granite Falls, Wash.), Kyle Lorvick (Seattle)

Team Christensen: Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.), Mackenzie Lank (Lewiston, N.Y.), Anna Bauman (Duluth, Minn.), Anna Hopkins (Bismarck, N.D.), Sonja Bauman (Duluth, Minn.)

Silver medalists:
Team Dunnam: Scott Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.), Andrew Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Steven Szemple (Edison, N.J.), Andrew Dunnam (Dresher, Pa.), William Pryor (Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y.)

Team Anderson: Sarah Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), Katie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.), Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), Leilani Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.)

Bronze medalists:
Team Dropkin: Korey Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.), Tom Howell (Brick, N.J.), Mark Fenner (Bemidji, Minn.), Alex Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.)

Team Haag: Jenna Haag (Milton, Wis.), Erin Wallace (Green Bay, Wis.), Grace Gabower (Milton, Wis.), Brittany Falk (Poynette, Wis.), Abbey Suslavich (Woodbury, Conn.)

Curtis Cup for Sportsmanship Award recipients:

Team Anderson: Sarah Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), Katie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.), Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Pa.), Leilani Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.)
Team Plys: Daniel Plys (Duluth, Minn.), Noah Fiskness (Duluth, Minn.), Wesley Leksell (Duluth, Minn.), Ryan Riihinen (Hibbing, Minn.), Jesse Jaeger (Madison Lake, Minn.)
Katie Beck Memorial Award recipient: Emma Bromenschenkel (Cohasset, Minn.)

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, BalancePlus and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, and is partnered with Hilton, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.

Visit the USA Curling website at www.usacurl.org and connect with USA Curling on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare.

Report courtesy of USA Curling

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