Ariel Traxler curling

Ariel Traxler is among three Fairbanks women competing in the USA Curling Junior National Championships, which run through Saturday at the Eau Claire Curling Club in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

Four current and three former Fairbanks residents began the round-robin portion of the 2020 USA Curling National Championships on Saturday and Sunday at the Recreation Center of Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington.

The championships attract the top teams in the country and will help determine the nation’s representatives at the upcoming men’s and women’s world championships. Both world championships also count towards qualification for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The men’s 10-team competition began Saturday evening. 

Team Rouhonen, which includes local curler Gref Persinger and former Fairbanks resident Colin Hufman, won its opening game 12-1. They continued their success Sunday morning, beating Team Kakela 9-5.

Team Birklid, skipped by Steven Birklid and aided by Matt Birklid, both formerly of Fairbanks, lost its Saturday match 8-5 to team Sinnett and its Sunday match 10-1 to team Shuster.

The women’s eight-team tournament began on Sunday with morning and afternoon matches.

Team Sinclair, which includes Fairbanks’ Vicky Persinger, won both games on Sunday. Persinger’s team beat Team Workin 8-1 in the morning and Team McMakin 5-2 in the evening.

Team McMakin is currently skipped by five-time national champion Patti Lank. Former skip Christine McMakin is now throwing third and Fairbanks' Anne O'Hara is throwing lead.

Team McMakin split its Sunday games, as it beat Team Rhyme 9-6 in the morning match.

Team Traxler, skipped by Fairbanks’ Ariel Traxler is currently 0-2. Traxler fell 5-2 to Team Peterson in the morning and 7-2 to team Potter in the evening.

The men began their third game at 7 p.m. Sunday. The games were not completed by press time. The women continue their round-robin at 1 p.m. today.

Both round-robins will conclude Thursday.

Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports.