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CURLING: Dropkin falls in national junior semifinals

SEATTLE — A new National Junior Men’s curling champion was crowned Saturday as the Jake Vukich rink of Washington took advantage of its home ice to defeat Scott Dunnam of Pennsylvania 7-5 in the title game.

In Friday’s semifinal draw Vukich eliminated the Korey Dropkin team of Massachusetts 10-3. Among the curlers on the Dropkin rink were Bemidji curlers Mark Fenner and Alex Fenson.

A year ago the Dropkin rink won the national title and represented the United States at the Junior Men’s World tournament in Sochi, Russia. On Friday, however, the team’s dreams of repeating ended when Dropkin fell to Vukich.

Dropkin and Ethan Meyers of Duluth tied for third place with 6-3 records after the round robin portion of the national meet and Friday afternoon Dropkin advanced to the Page playoffs second round when it defeated Meyers 9-4.

In Friday’s late draw, however, Vukich took control of its game against Dropkin from the outset, using the hammer to score one rock in the second end and stealing two in the third.

Dropkin tallied one in the fifth but Vukich countered with three in the sixth. After Dropkin scored a pair in the seventh Vukich ended all suspense with four in the eighth.

The World Junior Men’s Championships will be Feb. 26-March 5 in Flims, Switzerland.

National Men’s Junior Curling

Page Playoffs

Friday’s Semifinal

Vukich (Wash) 10, Dropkin (Mass) 3 (Dropkin eliminated)

Saturday’s Final

Vukich def. Dunnam (Penn) 7-5 (Vukich wins national championship)