COLERAINE, MN (December 17, 2013) – The mass start always makes for the most exciting biathlon event- with all competitors starting together and shooting at the same time. Four shooting stages with 15-kilometer of skiing for the men, and 12.5km for the women make it one of the longest biathlon events. With heavy snow at times, and gusty winds, this mass start did not disappoint with some excitement on the shooting range. The slow conditions and steep Mt Itasca climbs helped the fastest skiers make up some that time lost in penalties.
In the Women's race, biathlon turned the previous days results on their head. Eighteen-year-old Anna Kubek, who had been struggling with her shooting the first two day, came out swinging, missing 4 targets. Kubek led after the 2nd shooting, and grew her lead to 1:45 ahead of second place. Claire Egan of Craftsbury Green Team is new to biathlon, but has made rapid progress. She had the fastest ski split of the day, and with 9 penalties, still managed 2nd place. Tracy Barnes, Durango Biathlon, had no misses her first two races at Mt Itasca, but she struggled today with 7 misses, finishing 2:15 out.
In the Men's 15km, the Russel Currier, (MWSC), came out on top- by 5 seconds- catching Casey Smith, (MWSC), in the last kilometer after some really fast skiing to overcome 7 penalties on the range. Smith had the best shooting on the day, with 2 misses out of 20, and led most of the race. Raleigh Goessling made it a MWSC sweep to finish third with 8 penalties, 1:48 out. Top local was Mark Johnson of Mt Itasca Biathlon, taking a break from medical school exams, to finish 4th with 4 penalties, 2:37 out.
The IBU Cup Trials wraps up on Wednesday with
another sprint event, 10km Men, 7.5km Women. Up to two men and one woman will
be selected to compete at four IBU Cup races in Ridnaun, Italy in early
January, where the final U.S. Olympic team selections will be made.