FARGO, North Dakota - Skip Cory Christensen (photo by Rich Harmer) arrived at the 2018 USA Curling Nationals earlier this week a few days late while coming off Olympic duty with Team USA's Nina Roth.
This afternoon she took care of business again, defeating one of the two US junior high-performance teams led by skip Cora Farrell 6-3 to advance to tomorrow's gold medal final. Christensen lost to Farrell 7-3 earlier in the week but took control from the start despite not starting with the hammer due to the head-to-head tiebreaker.
"I think altogether that was our best game this week. It's great timing for it. We had great energy right off the bat. The girls were judging rocks well and throwing them well.
Farrell's final stone was heavy in the first end, allowing Christensen to steal one. After a pair of blanked ends, Farrell missed an out-turn draw around a guard in the fourth end to give up a steal of two more.
After the game, Farrell mentioned nerves playing in only her second Women's Nationals event and the game being one of her first playoff games on arena ice.
"I think my team played well, to begin with," Farrell said. "Unfortunately, I didn't have my draw weight as I hoped for. Possibly the adrenaline of being in my first playoff at this level got to me."
Christensen stole two more in the sixth after Farrell's draw was heavy to grab a 5-0 lead. Showcasing the exciting depth in the US junior program, Farrell punched right back with a deuce in the seventh. She added a steal in eighth to creep closer at 5-3 when Christensen missed a tough tough runback.
Second Jenna Martin, who shot a perfect 100% in the game, was outstanding and helped setup Team Christensen to get one in the ninth end that pushed the lead to 6-3 and ultimately handshakes.
"We just felt really confident with the ice and the rocks we were throwing and feeling really good going into tomorrow," Christensen said.
Christensen will face Team Sinclair in Saturday final at 12:30 p.m. Jamie Sinclair ran through round-robin play 7-0, which included an 8-5 win against Christensen but they're confident getting a second crack.
"I think just keep the momentum going that we had today," Christensen said. "Come out confident tomorrow ready to play."
Farrell, who was surprised by her parents who made the trip down from Fairbanks, Alaska earlier in the week, couldn't have been more proud of her young team and their result after experiencing their first Women's Nationals last year in Everett, Wash.
"We love that we could improve on our finish last year," she said. "To earn a medal at our second Women's Nationals is an accomplishment for us.
"And the experience is very helpful because we're a young team. The whole team has at least one year left in juniors. In our next junior nationals and women's nationals, we will benefit from this experience."