Team USA

L-R: Korey Dropkin (Skip), Sarah Anderson, Thomas Howell, Taylor Anderson and Wally Henry (Coach) Photo: USCA

USA's first curling team to play at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games will be led by 16-year-old Korey Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.) as his team dominated Daniel Dudt's rink, 10-1, to win the Youth Olympic Games Trials at the Grafton Curling Club in Grafton, N.D.

Dropkin and his team of Thomas Howell (Brick, N.J.) and identical twin sisters Sarah and Taylor Anderson (Broomall, Pa.) will now be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Committee to be part of Team
USA at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games Jan. 13-22 in Innsbruck, Austria.

Speaking after winning the playdown, Dropkin said: "My teammates are amazing. They are great sweepers and great shooters. I can also trust my vice skip to run the house when I'm shooting."

The win capped an 8-1 showing in Grafton for Team Dropkin. Sarah Anderson added: "We had to bring it every game. There were no weak teams and no easy games."

Both Team Dropkin and Team Dudt finished the round robin with identical 7-1 records, forcing the sudden death game. After Dropkin settled for a single in the first, Dudt (Malvern, Pa.) and teammates Katie Sigurdson (Grand Forks, N.D.), Cameron Vike (Malvern, Pa.) and Madeline Shaft (Grand Forks, N.D.) would replicate that.

However, that single would prove to be the only point the team would score as Dropkin's team rattled off nine straight points, prompting Dudt's team to concede the win.

Tied 1-1, Dropkin took advantage of a light draw by Dudt in the third end to draw for the deuce. Constant pressure with plenty of rocks in the house from the Dropkin rink haunted the Dudt team in the fourth end. Dudt failed to execute on both of his attempts in that end, resulting in a steal of three for Dropkin's team.

More pressure in the fifth end by Dropkin's team resulted in Dudt coming up short with his draw and four more points were stolen, which proved too large of a lead for the Pennsylvania/North Dakota rink to overcome.

Dudt said: "If it couldn't be us, we're glad that they won it. They deserve it!" He added: "It still hurts, but it was a great experience."

Because this event has such a specific age group from which to draw athletes from, many of the nine competing teams had to search long and hard for teammates born between Jan. 1, 1994, and Dec. 31,
1995.

That became a focal point in today's tiebreaker as Dropkin's teammate Howell was responsible for helping the Dudt team form. Dudt and Vike play in league with Howell and put them in contact with
their teammates. The first time the girls met Dudt and Vike was when they picked them up at the airport earlier in the week.

"It didn't even cross my mind during the game. Afterwards I joked with Daniel that he would never get another favor out of me. But, I was just joking. I like it when everyone who wants to play gets to play," Howell said.

The second-place result was more than the foursome imagined. Sigurdson said: "We were seeded sixth and our goal was to finish higher than were we were seeded. We accomplished that and more."

All members of Team Dropkin are concentrating on qualifying for the upcoming Junior National Championships as well with their respective men's and women's teams.

Team members are spread out across three curling clubs in the Northeast, but that hasn't stopped them from winning this season.
Earlier this fall, they captured the Blazing Leaves Bonspiel title together at the Nutmeg Curling Club in Connecticut.

Team USA will be coached by 2010 Olympic women's coach Wally Henry (Beaver Dam, Wis.) with Derek Brown, USA Curling Director of High Performance, serving as team leader.

USA Curling Media Release

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