ATHLETE NEWS Athletes, Team of the Year for 2017 announced By Terry L. Davis, Editor

the Year. In addition, siblings Matt Hamilton and Becca Hamilton (both of McFarland, Wis.) have been named Male and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively. Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) and teammates Luc Violette (Lake Ste-


vens, Wash.), Ben Richardson (Issaquah, Wash.), Graem Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), and Nick Connolly (Seattle) had a very successful outing in the team’s first appearance together at the World Juniors in reaching the podium. In addition, Stopera, 19, a student at North- western University, was the top-ranked skip at the competition. Stopera, Violette, Richardson and Fen-

son competed all season with Connolly, the 2017 Junior Nationals runner-up joining the team for the World Juniors in South Korea. In addition to winning the 2017 Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D., in January, the Stopera rink had a success- ful Junior Curling Tour season, securing the overall title at the Abbotsford (B.C.) Junior Cashspiel in December and mak- ing several other playoff appearances at events throughout the season. Te team is coached by Mark Lazar (Toledo, Ohio). Becca Hamilton, 27, was a member of

two teams that helped secure 2018 Olym- pic berths. At the 2017 World Women’s Championship, she was a member of the U.S. team skipped by Nina Roth that finished fiſth to qualify the U.S. women for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. In March, Becca Hamilton and her brother, Matt Hamilton, won the 2017 USA Curl- ing Mixed Doubles National Champi- onship and went on to secure the U.S. a mixed doubles berth with their 11th place finish at the World Mixed Doubles Championship. Matt Hamilton, 28, won two national

ith a silver-medal finish at the 2017 World Junior Curling Championships, USA Curling is proud to announce that the Andrew Stopera rink has been named the 2017 Team of

2017 USA Curling Team of the Year Award recipients include (l-r) Coach Mark Lazar, Nick Connolly, Graem Fenson, Ben Richardson, Luc Violette, and Andrew Stopera.

Photos courtesy of the World Curling Federation

World Junior Championships. “It is an absolute honor to be named Athlete of

2017 Female Athlete of the Year Becca Hamilton

the Year. It’s really reaffirming that all the time and effort put in is being recognized. Is was a surreal experience winning two national cham- pionships in the same season, and getting to at- tend both worlds and rep the USA is always a treat and a pleasure,” said Hamilton, a two-time U.S. men’s and junior men’s champion, who re- cently got married and works as a technician at Spectrum Brands. “I want to thank my teammates, John Shuster, Tyler George, John Land-

steiner, and Joe Polo for always being supportive and pushing me. I would also like to thank coach Phill Drobnick for the time and effort he has put in recently and in past years," Matt Hamilton said. “I couldn’t have accom- plished this without my parents, Scott and Cathy, or my lovely wife. Teir support and love is unparalleled. Last, but not least, I want to thank my sister for being a great practice partner, teammate, and sibling!” Becca and Matt are both qualified to compete in the 2018 U.S. Olympic

titles this season in being named USA Curling’s Male Athlete of the Year. Ham- ilton, who plays in the second position for the John Shuster rink, won the 2017 USA Curling Men’s National Championship title in February and the 2017 USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship in March. Te U.S. men finished fourth at the 2017 Ford World Men’s Curling Champion- ship to qualify the U.S. for the 2018 Olympics. Matt was previously hon- ored as a member of the Team of the Year in 2016 and 2008 aſter winning the bronze medal at the World Men’s Championship and gold medal at the

2017 Male Athlete of the Year Matt Hamilton

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Team Trials in November as well as the 2018 U.S. Olympic Mixed Doubles Team Trials in December. Te awards were determined by USA Curling’s Athlete/Curler Recogni-

tion Committee. Te 2017 winners also will be nominated to the United States Olympic Committee for its annual athlete and team awards. Past recipients of the award can be viewed here: http://www.teamusa.

org/USA-Curling/For-Athletes/Awards. Editor’s note: A longer version of this story with athlete quotes can be

found at

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