Fort Kent, Maine (March 22, 2010) - It was a busy end to the biathlon season as the 10th Mountain Ski Center in Fort Kent hosted the U.S. Biathlon Championships and North American Biathlon Championships.
Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) finished the season strong, taking the North American Biathlon 15k Mass Start Championship in convincing fashion. Currier (1-2-1-1) had struggled with his shooting this season, but hit 15 of 20 shots including four of the last five to cruise to the win, 46.4 seconds ahead of Marc-Andre Bedard (Quebec, CAN).
Mass start heading into first corner
(Photos: Maine Winter Sports Center)
Walt Shepard (Yarmouth, ME), in his last race before retiring from an 18-year career, led halfway through the race, but uncharacteristically struggled on the range, hitting 13 of 20 (3-0-3-1), to take the bronze medal in the North American Championships, 1:42 back – s which gave him a silver for the U.S. National Championships. Shepard and Tracy Colliander (Fort Kent, ME) were the only two senior competitors to make the podium in all six events this week.
Casey Simons (Park City, UT) took the bronze in the U.S. National Championships, 3:16 back (2-2-2-1). Simons (2-2-1-2) and Zach Hall (Nikiski, AK) (1-3-1-3) also battled to a photo finish to decide the last spot on the podium.
Russell Currier winning the 2010 Biathlon National Championships 15K
In the women’s Mass Start competition, Tracy Colliander and Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT) battled to the photo finish, and it was Dunklee by a few feet. With the win, Dunklee won her first North American Championship race in her second year in the sport. Colliander, who won the first two races of the Championships was uncharacteristically off in the range on her first shooting stage, missing four, but was clean from that point on. Dunklee missed six of the first ten shots, but only one of the last ten to work her way back into contention. She caught Colliander on the last hill before entering the stadium neck and neck. Annelies Cook (Lake Placid, NY) (2-0-3-1) was 1:07 back for the bronze.