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May 23—ABERDEEN, Scotland — The U.S. team of Bemidji native Joe Polo and St. Paul’s Tabitha Peterson came up short in the Olympic qualification game played Saturday at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The Czech Republic defeated the Americans 8-6 to claim the seventh spot available for the 2020 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The Czechs shot out to a 5-0 lead after two ends. The U.S. scored in the next three ends to cut the deficit to 5-4. Polo delivered the final throw in the seventh end and scored two points to tie the game at 6-6.

The Czech Republic scored two in the eighth end to clinch the victory and a spot at next year’s Olympics.

The U.S. still has a chance to earn a trip to Beijing. Two more bids will be up for grabs later this year to complete the 10-team Olympic field.

Bemidjians miss playoffs at mixed doubles nationals

WAUSAU, Wis. — Teams featuring Bemidji curlers Riley Fenson and Leah Yavarow were unable to punch their tickets to the playoffs at the U.S. Mixed Doubles National Championship in Wausau, Wis.

Fenson and teammate Christine McMakin of Fargo, N.D., finished the round robin at 3-2 in Pool A on Friday. They faced a tiebreaker with the Jenna Burchesky/Ben Richardson rink from Massachusetts, who also ended 3-2 in Pool A, on Saturday to determine who’d advance to the playoffs. The Massachusetts team claimed an 8-5 win to advance.

Yavarow and teammate Sam Strouse of Midland, Mich., finished the round robin Friday at 2-3 in Pool D.

Fenson and Yavarow will compete along with four other Bemidji natives at next week’s U.S. Curling National Championships, which will take place May 25-30 in Wausau.