Vicky Persinger, Chris Plys win Olympic Trials for mixed doubles curling

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Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys won the U.S. Olympic Mixed Doubles Curling Trials on Sunday night, moving one step closer to spots on the 2022 U.S. Olympic team.

The win in Eveleth, Minnesota, means Persinger and Plys will represent the U.S. at World Curling’s Olympic Qualification Event from Dec. 5-9 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.

The top two teams from the 14 countries entered in Leeuwarden will earn spots at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Beijing would mark the first Olympics for Persinger, 29, and the first in 12 years for Plys, 34.

He was the fifth/alternate on John Shuster‘s rink that was 10th at the Vancouver 2010 Games.

This is Persinger and Plys’ fourth season together in mixed doubles, which made its Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018.

They were second in the nation in 2019 and won the 2021 U.S. title in May.

They plowed through many of the other top teams in the round robin format in Eveleth this week, including 2018 Olympians Becca and Matt Hamilton (7-6), Curling World Cup medalists Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin (9-4) and 2018 Olympic Trials runners-up in the women’s and men’s tournaments Jamie Sinclair and Rich Ruohonen.

Persinger/Plys and Anderson/Dropkin both finished with a 6-3 record, though Persinger/Plys had the advantage with its opening win over the 2012 Youth Olympians.

The Hamilton siblings finished fifth with a 5-4 record.

In Saturday’s page playoff, Persinger and Plys once again topped Anderson and Dropkin, this time 8-4. Sinclair and Ruohonen won the other playoff 6-5 over 2016 world bronze medalists Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo.

Sinclair and Ruohonen earned their spot in the final with a 9-7 semifinal victory over Anderson and Dropkin Sunday morning.

Persinger and Plys were up 4-2 halfway through the final until Sinclair/Ruohonen came through with a needed three points in the fifth end. With two more for Persinger/Plys in the sixth and another for Sinclair/Ruohonen in the seventh, the match was tied.

In the final rock of the final end, Persinger and Plys brought in one last point for the win.

Before heading to the Netherlands, both athletes will compete in the U.S. Olympic Curling Trials Nov. 12-21 in Omaha in an attempt to make the four-person men’s/women’s teams as well.

Plys is back with Team Shuster as the third, while Persinger is second on 2018 Olympic alternate Cory Christenson‘s rink.

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