NorAm Western Canadian Championships (Whistler, B.C.): Freestyle sprints
[UPDATED] On Friday, the first day of the NorAm Western Canadian Championships at Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley, British Columbia, Dahria Beatty and Jess Cockney topped the women’s and men’s 1.2-kilometer freestyle sprint A-finals, respectively.
Beatty, of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and Canada’s National U25 Team, started the day by qualifying in second, 0.31 seconds behind her fellow AWCA and U25 Team member, Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt, who won the qualifier in 2:59.9.
Both Bouffard-Nesbitt and Beatty went on to win both their quarterfinal and semifinals before facing off in the A-final, where Beatty edged her teammate by 0.74 seconds. Beatty crossed the line in 3:02.89, Bouffard-Nesbitt took second and Katherine Stewart-Jones (NTDC Thunder Bay/NST U25 Team) raced from fifth to third in the finishing stretch for the final spot on the podium, 1.09 seconds behind Beatty.
In the men’s sprint, Cockney, of the Canada’s World Cup B-team, originally qualified second, just eight-hundredths of a second behind Dominique Moncion-Groulx (AWCA), who won the qualifier in 2:37.42.
While Moncion-Groulx advanced to the A-final with a second-place finish in his quarterfinal (behind Julien Locke, of the AWCA and U25 Team) and third place in his semifinal (behind Locke and Lappe Nordic’s Andy Shields, respectively), Cockney won both his quarterfinal and semifinal before winning the final in 2:33.56.
Locke took second, 0.81 seconds back, and Moncion-Groulx finished the day in third (+1.86). Just 0.17 seconds off the podium, Shields placed fourth.
The three-day Western Canadian Championships continue with 10/15 k classic interval starts on Saturday and freestyle relays on Sunday.
IBU World Cup (Antholz, Italy): Men’s 20 k individual
Russia’s Anton Shipulin took his first win of the season and five U.S. men scored points in the top 40 of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup men’s 20-kilometer individual on Friday in Antholz, Italy.
Lowell Bailey led the U.S. in 10th, one place off his season-best ninth. He finished 1:39.1 minutes behind Shipulin with a single miss (0+0+0+1) in the last stage, which ultimately took him out of contention for a podium.
Shipulin missed one as well, but in the third shooting (0+0+1+0) and posted the fastest time at the finish, besting France’s Martin Fourcade (0+1+1+0) by 41 seconds. Ukraine’s Sergey Semenov was an early leader in bib 16 and hung on for third (+56.8) with one penalty (0+0+0+1). Norway’s Ole Einar Bjørndalen recorded his best result of 2016/2017 in fourth (+1:04.9) with one penalty (0+0+1+0), and Germany’s Simon Schempp followed in fifth (+1:09.8) with two misses (0+1+0+1).
The second North American in the top 20, Canada’s Scott Gow achieved a career best in 17th (+2:37.7) with one penalty (0+0+1+0).
In his fourth World Cup race this season, American Leif Nordgren finished 29th (+4:00.1) with two misses (1+1+0+0). And then there was 24-year-old Paul Schommer in his World Cup debut, who raced to 33rd (+4:16.6) and cleaned three stages. Schommer had two penalties in his first standing stage (0+2+0+0) but finished the race without another miss.
Also for the U.S., Tim Burke followed Schommer in 34th (+4:36.5) with four penalties (0+1+1+2), and Sean Doherty was 36th (+4:41.6) with three misses (1+1+0+1).
Canada’s Brendan Green finished 75th (+7:09.6) with six penalties (2+1+2+1), and teammate Christian Gow clocked the same time in 76th (+7:09.6) with four penalties (0+2+0+2). Macx Davies did not start.
Currently ranked 16th in the overall World Cup standings, Bailey is listed on the provisional start list for Sunday’s 15 k mass start. Scott Gow also made the 30-man list based on his result on Friday. On Saturday, the men will race a 4 x 7.5 k relay. Start lists for the relay were not immediately available.