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USA Curling Junior Nationals: Bemidji curlers remain atop field

Mark Fenner, left, Trevor Andrews and Nic Wagner of Bemidji compete in Monday's action at the USA Curling Junior National Championships. The Andrews rink defeated Illinois 8-4 in the noon draw. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

After dropping its first game on Sunday, the Trevor Andrews rink of Bemidji got back to its winning ways with three straight wins, including an 8-4 win over the Brandon Corbett rink of Rochester, N.Y., at the USA Curling Junior National Championships at the Bemidji Curling Club.

Andrews lost 6-5 to Tom Gabower of Janesville, Wis., to drop to 1-1, but followed up with wins over Stephen Dropkin (Southborough, Mass.), Matthew Brown (Deerfield, Ill.) and Corbett.

"I was struggling with my draw weight in the loss," said Andrews, who skips a rink that includes fellow Bemidjians Aaron Tasa, Nic Wagner and Mark Fenner, with Ben Wilson as alternate. "I missed the draw to end it, but it's nationals. We have nine games and you can't get upset about one loss."

With four games remaining in the round-robin portion, the Andrews rink understands that anything can still happen.

"We can't worry about what they do; we have to worry about our own game. If we keep playing like were playing and just put it together we should be fine. Our goal coming into this tourney is to be top four. If we do that we'll be happy with our performance at nationals."

The Aaron Wald rink, with Bemidji native Josh Bahr, is undefeated.

A perfect 5-0, Wald went extra ends with Corbett on Monday afternoon and won big in the nightcap.

Corbett had hammer in the 10th, but his last rock was heavy and slid through the house. "We were fortunate in our last match," said Wald. "They stole two in the eighth to go up 4-3. Then we scored one in the ninth to tie and finally stole one to win."

Wald won 10-2 over Erik Jenson on Monday night.

The wins set up a dramatic duel Tuesday as the two Minnesota teams square off at 2 p.m.

Wald, who lost to Andrews in the state finals, looks forward to the rematch.

"We had a real close match with them before, but my last shot slid through, so we know we can beat them. I know with their win, it gave them a lot of confidence against us, but we have a lot of confidence ourselves."

"It'll be an interesting game," said Andrews. "Hopefully a good game, regardless of what the score is at the end, but hopefully we win again."

"It's kind of a revenge game," Bahr added. "Their all good friends though, so we'll see."

Defending national champion Alex Carlson of Minnesota leads the women's field as the lone unbeaten at 4-0. The women have two draws today.