U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS MIXED DOUBLES CURLING

 

Eight teams — including six with Minnesota ties — have been invited to participate in the first-ever Olympic trials for mixed doubles curling. They will compete in a round-robin tournament, with the top four teams advancing to a playoff.

The winning team will represent the United States at this February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

When: Wednesday-Sunday

Where: Fogerty Arena, Blaine

Tickets: Single-session admission is $5 for the round-robin and $10 for the playoff round. All-session tickets are $90 (general admission) and $150 (VIP). Tickets must be purchased online through www.eventbrite.com.

TV: NBCSN will air live coverage of round-robin play Thursday (6 and 8:15 p.m.) and Friday (3 and 5:15 p.m.), as well as Saturday’s playoffs (9 p.m.) and Sunday’s final (3 p.m.).

Round-robin schedule: Wednesday, 8 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 8:15 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. Tiebreakers, if necessary, will be Saturday at 1 and 4 p.m.

Playoff schedule: Saturday, 9 p.m., Page playoff openers or semifinals; Sunday, 3 p.m., final.

The tournament is expected to use the Page playoff format, in which the No. 1 seed will play the No. 2 seed, with the winner advancing directly to the final.

The No. 3 seed will play the No. 4 seed, and the winner will face the loser of the first game in a semifinal at 10 a.m. Sunday.

If four teams are tied for first place after the round robin, Saturday’s games will be a traditional semifinal format, with the No. 1 seed playing No. 4 and the No. 2 seed playing No. 3.

THE TEAMS

Alex Carlson (St. Paul) and Derrick McLean (Seattle)

Cory Christensen (St. Paul) and John Shuster (Superior, Wis.)

Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton (McFarland, Wis.)

Vicky Persinger (St. Paul) and Jared Zezel (Mountain Iron, Minn.)

Tabitha Peterson (St. Paul) and Joe Polo (Duluth)

Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.)

Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul) and Korey Dropkin (Duluth)

Monica Walker and Jason Smith (St. Paul)

MIXED DOUBLES/A PRIMER

Mixed doubles curling will make its Olympic debut in 2018, 10 years after the first world championship was held in the discipline. Teams consist of one man and one woman. Games are eight ends, two fewer than in traditional team curling.

Each team throws five stones per end, and each has one rock pre-placed. One player throws the first and last rocks, and the other plays the second, third and fourth. Both players are allowed to sweep. No stones may be knocked out of play until the fourth stones of each end.

Mixed doubles is faster than regular team curling, with games lasting about 90 minutes. Because lots of rocks are in play, there’s a potential for high-scoring ends and big rallies.

Eight teams will participate in mixed doubles at the Olympics. The U.S. earned its berth after Peterson and Polo won the bronze medal at the 2016 world championships.

RACHEL BLOUNT