New Gloucester, ME July 23. Douglas Hoover (Williamsburg, PA) dominated both the Mass Start and the Pursuit competitions this past weekend, culminating in his third Summer Biathlon National Championship in a row.
Stephanie Blackstone (Everett, PA) captured the Women’s National Championship after winning the Mass Start and finishing second in the Pursuit with the fastest overall time. This was Blackstone’s first Summer Biathlon National Championship.
The 2008 US Summer Biathlon National Championships/ World Team Trials, held at the Whitetail Preserve in Luzerne County near Bloomsburg, PA, included three competitions (Mass Start, Sprint, and Pursuit) over three days.
Hoover won the Mass Start and Pursuit by 44 and 30 seconds, respectively, recording eight and six penalties. The Pursuit was his strongest performance of the weekend, as he started 30 seconds behind Sprint winner Pat Bragassa (Rigby, ID) topping his rival by that margin. Bragassa was consistently the second best male performer of this year’s National Championships with a third place finish in the Mass Start to go with his Sprint win and Pursuit runner-up. This also gave him the overall Master’s title. Danny Fink (Morgantown, WV) finished third in the overall standings with second in the Mass Start, third in the Sprint followed by fourth in the Pursuit. Five-time Summer Biathlon National Champion Keith Woodward finished fourth in the overall standings. These four senior men received nominations for the Summer Biathlon World Championships Team, along with junior competitor Anthony Rizzo (Wapwallopen, PA). Rizzo won the junior division in two of the three competitions, giving him the Junior National title.
Blackstone competing in her first Summer Biathlon National Championships, despite 12 penalties ran away to a 3:30 margin of victory in the Mass Start. She did not compete in the Sprint, thus started last in the Pursuit. With another strong running performance, she moved up to third by the finish behind race winner Molly Susla (Freeport, ME). These two strong performances gave Blackstone the edge in the final standings. Susla, a junior competitor also won the Sprint and finished second to Blackstone in the Mass Start. Blackstone and Susla were the only women nominated to the World Championships Team. Susla, second overall in the women’s standings won the Junior Women’s National Championship and her second World Championships nomination. She competed in last year’s World Championships in Ufa, Russia. 2005 Summer Biathlon National Champion Ann Sick (Millville, PA) won the Women’s Masters National Championship, finishing sixth in the overall standings. Sick finished second overall in the Sprint competition.
Even though the 2008 US Summer Biathlon National Championships are over, twelve more summer biathlon competitions remain on the 2008 schedule. For more information on these events, contact Douglas Hoover at 814-832-2857 or visit www.usbiathlon.org.