Anchorage, AK, December 29. The first day of competition at the Youth/Junior World Championship Team Trials at Kincaid Park provided no surprises, but plenty of cold temperatures and “first day nerves” according to National Junior Coach Vladimir Cervenka.
Cervenka commented on the Sprint competitions, “It was cold today, around nine degrees, about as cold as it was in Minnesota when I left, with some shifting wind, but nothing major. Still, the shooting was not very good, which is typical of the first day in most trials competitions. Most of the top finishers were the people we expected to see on the podium, the athletes with previous World Championships experience.”
Leading the experienced group was Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake, MN), who won the Junior Men’s 10K by almost four minutes, despite four penalties. Roberts covered the three loops in 30:56, outdistancing Ryan McClure (Anchorage, AK), also with four penalties, by 3:47. Third went to William Neal, with seven penalties, 4:36 back. Roberts, along with leif Nordgren Marine-on-St. Croix, MN) recently returned from competing in two IBU Cup competitions in Austria and Italy, where he competed in four races over the course of 8 days, competing in mixed junior/senior level fields. His best result was 52nd in the Pursuit competition in Martell, Italy, on December 20.
Missing the Sprint competitions was Nordgren, a Bronze medalist at last year’s Youth World Championships, who stayed at home in Minnesota, due to Illness. Nordgren, like Roberts is already pre-qualified for the 2009 Junior World Championships. Nordgren also competed in the IBU Cup at Obertilliach, as well as getting his first World Cup starts last week in Hochfilzen, Austria. In his first-ever World Cup 20K, Nordgren led the US men on the shooting range with 18-of-20 shooting.
Another veteran of last year’s team that competed in Ruhpolding, Germany, Raleigh Goessling (Duluth, MN) won the Youth 10K Sprint. Goessling had five penalties on his way to a 34:20 win. Second went to Ethan Dreissigacker (Morrisville, VT), eight seconds back, also with five penalties. Third went to Kelsey Boyer (Fairbanks, AK), with five penalties, 1:08 back.
The Youth Women’s 6K Sprint was an all-Maine Winter Sports Center show, as athletes from northern Maine swept the first four spots. Grace Boutot (Fort Kent, ME) led the parade with three penalties, in 22:38. Hilary McNamee (Fort Fairfield, ME), with four penalties finished 33 seconds back, with Molly Susla (Freeport, ME), with two penalties, 46 seconds back. Mary Bernard (Fort Kent, ME), with four penalties finished just 5 seconds behind her teammate Susla.
According to MWSC coach Gary Colliander, the top two finishers, Boutot and McNamee, encountered two moose on the trail at Kincaid Park during the competition on Sunday. Moose frequently wander onto the trails in the park during competitions.
Competition continues with Pursuit competitions on Monday and Relay Format Sprints on Wednesday.
IBU CUP Team Selected
US Biathlon Director of Athlete Development Piotr Bednarski announced that three women and two men have been selected to compete in the upcoming IBU Cup competitions in Altenberg, Germany and Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. The top US finishers in these competitions will be nominated to the Senior World Championships Team that will compete in the Biathlon World Championships in Pyeong Chang, Korea starting in February. Several members of the December World Cup Team who have not pre-qualified for the Korea competitions are also vying for positions on the team during the IBU Cup competitions.
The three women, all Dartmouth College graduates are Carolyn Bramante (Duluth, MN), Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID), and Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT). Zach Hall (Nikiski, AK) and Mark Johnson (Grand Rapids, MN) are the two men. The team selection was based on the combined results from recent North American Cup competitions.
Bramante is a 2006 Olympian, while Johnson is a veteran of four Junior World Championships Teams. Studebaker, Dunklee, and Hall are members of the US Biathlon Development Team, based at the US Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, under the direction of James Upham.
Watch live results and streaming video of all World Cup competitions at www.biathlonworld.com.
The United States Biathlon Association is the National Governing Body for the sport of biathlon in the United States as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Biathlon Union. The US Biathlon Association supports the US Biathlon Team and development of the sport on all levels within the United States.
TD Banknorth is the title sponsor of the US Biathlon Team. adidas®, Stewart Filmscreen®, Lapua, and Exel Ski Poles are supporting sponsors of the US Biathlon Team.