Bessans, Haute Maurienne Vanoise, France, September 24. Doug Hoover (Williamsburg, PA) finished 19th in the 4K Sprint competition, while Stephanie Blackstone (Everett, PA) finished 12th in the 3K Sprint at the Summer Biathlon World Championships today.
The men competed in almost winter-like conditions of 4 degrees Celsius, with a light coating of frost covering grassy areas. These icy conditions resulted in several falls, including one by the men’s champion Alexei Katrenko of Russia. The fields in today’s run/shoot competitions were small, ranging from 36 junior men to 13 senior women, and lacking the top winter competitors. The top winter athletes including Sandrine Bailly, Sylvie Becaert, Vincent DeFrasne, and Simon Fourcade of France will compete in the rollerski competitions Friday through Sunday.
Hoover, the US Champion and most consistent shot on the team had the best performance on the shooting range. He shot clean in prone, but missed three standing shots, which cost him several places. He finished 2:54.7 behind Katrenko, who finished in 13:57.3, with one penalty. The Russian was clearly the class of the field, leaving second place Dias Keneshev of Kazakhstan 1 minute behind. Keneshev had three penalties. Third went to Rusan Nazirov of Uzbekistan, 1:02.5 back with two penalties. Danny Fink (Morgantown, WV) finished 24th, 4 minutes back with two penalties.
In the Junior Men’s 4K Sprint, high school student Anthony Rizzo (Wapwallopen, PA) finished in 26th place, with four penalties, 2;50.7 behind Anuzar Yunusov of Uzbekistan. Rizzo had three standing penalties and a single prone miscue. Yunusov had two penalties, while covering the course in 14:33.6. He barely held off Stanislav Bazeev of Russia, who finished 1.1 seconds back, also with two penalties. Third went to Niklas Heiser of Germany, 37.6 seconds back, with one penalty.
Blackstone led the way for the US women in 12th place, with six penalties, 3:21.4 behind Ekaterina Sidorenko of Russia. Sidorenko and the other women encountered sunny and warmer conditions than the men experienced. The two women’s competitions seemed a bit like the Russian Championships as they took five of the six medals. Both Sidorenko and second place Lubov Ermolaeva had two penalties, with Sidorenko gaining a 12:09.6 victory, 45.7 seconds ahead of her teammate. Third went to another Russian, Anastasia Kuznetsova, with three penalties, 1:01.5 back.
Molly Susla (Freeport, ME) finished 20th, with seven penalties in the Junior Women’s 3K, 3:44.2 behind Russian Irina Maximova. Maximova had two penalties, winning in 12:29.2, 16.8 seconds ahead of teammate Alexandra Valishina. Valishina with three penalties finished 15.2 seconds ahead of Vera Kalbianok of Belarus, with two penalties. Kaitlyn Bernard (Fort Kent, ME) finished 23rd with five penalties, 4:01.9 back.
All of the US competitors qualified for the Pursuit competitions on Thursday.
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