With so much going on around the world, we can only provide the briefest of recaps before our usual linkdump of reporting and results. Luckily for everybody’s sanity – and the competitor’s recovery-hungry bodies – both the skiing and biathlon World Cup were on break. Instead, it was juniors who were in the spotlight, with Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Germany getting most of the attention at skiing’s championships in Liberec, Czech Republic and also biathlon’s championships in Obertilliach, Austria. That also meant that North American junior racers had their annual chance to line up against the best skiers from the rest of the world at World Juniors for youth, juniors, and U23s in several nordic disciplines.
In biathlon, that meant fireworks as U.S. youth Sean Doherty won silver in Friday’s sprint, then won the first American gold since 1997 in Sunday’s pursuit. Other strong performances came from Canada’s Stuart Harden, Julia Ransom, and Christian Gow, each of whom had two top-20’s in a weekend of racing. Casey Smith and Anna Kubek also had good pursuit races for the U.S., moving into the top 30.
In skiing, the best races came from U.S. U23’s Sophie Caldwell and Erik Bjornsen, who placed in the top 10 in the opening sprint events. Bjornsen was a consistent competitor all week long, much as he has been domestically this season. Canada was boosted by top-20 results from Raphael Couturier and Cendrine Brown in the junior races, but struggled in the U23 field, as most of the men’s team fell ill. For the U.S., Caitlin Patterson also made the top 15 in U23 action, while Ben Saxton, Heather Mooney, and Logan Hanneman were top-20 in the junior sprints.
The Nordic Combined World Cup traveled to Klingenthal, Germany, where Eric Frenzel took two wins on home turf. Bryan Fletcher led the U.S. with sixth- and eighth-place finishes.
The five-stage Tour de Twin Cities titles went to Torin Koos (Bridger Ski Foundation) and Rosie Brennan (APU), but a variety of racers took stage wins: among them Caitlin and Brian Gregg and Jennie Bender (CXC), Reese Hanneman (APU), and Mikey Sinnott (Sun Valley).
The Canadian domestic scene traveled to Duntroon, Ontario, for the final qualifiers for World Championships. Highlands Nordic hometown hero Brittany Webster took the distance title, while Graham Nishikawa of the Alberta World Cup Academy pulled off his second-straight trials distance win. Andrea Dupont of Rocky Mountain Racers won the women’s sprint and Brent McMurtry (AWCA) was proclaimed the men’s sprint winner after teammate Phil Widmer crossed the line in first but was relegated to sixth for an infraction.
The western division of the NCAA had the weekend off, but the East raced at Colby College and the central division at the College of Saint Scholastica.
We also reported on the J1 trip, which concluded last weekend in Trondheim, Norway, with a silver medal for the U.S. in the women’s relay.
Finally, in the extra time (ha!) we talked to Alana Thomas, who left the Alberta World Cup Academy but is still training in Canmore; checked in with Colby College president Bro Adams before and after he fore-ran the college carnival on home turf; and checked in with 2012 SuperTour victor Sylvan Ellefson at the Governor’s Cup in Colorado.
FIS Junior and U23 World Championships, Liberec, Czech Republic
IBU World Youth and Junior Championships, Obertilliach, Austria
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Klingenthal, Germany
Tour de Twin Cities SuperTour, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN
NorAm, Duntroon, Ontario
EISA Carnival, Colby College, Maine
CCSA Saints Invitational, College of Saint Scholastica, MN