2018 USBA Junior/Senior Nationals
American biathletes officially wrapped up their race seasons at the 2018 US Biathlon Association (USBA) nationals last Thursday through Saturday at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.
The event kicked off with Lowell Bailey edging his teammate and longtime training partner Tim Burke by 5 seconds in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint on Thursday, March 29. Bailey started 15th out of 17 men and skied a single penalty lap after his prone shooting then cleaned standing (1+0). He crossed the finish line in 22:48 minutes, bumping Burke, who started 11th and had two standing penalties (0+2), out of first place. A third national-team member Sean Doherty completed the podium in third place, 20 seconds out of first with one standing miss (0+1).
In the women’s 7.5 k sprint on Thursday, Susan Dunklee raced to the win in 22:45, 11 seconds ahead of Clare Egan in second place. Dunklee and Egan started sixth and eighth, respectively, out of 10 women, and had two standing penalties apiece (0+2). Joanne Reid, also of the national team, placed third, 1 minute back from Dunklee with one standing miss (0+1).
On Friday, Bailey and Dunklee returned to the top step of the podium with victories in the men’s and women’s pursuits, after starting first in each race based on their sprint results.
Dunklee started 11 seconds ahead of Egan and won the women’s 10 k pursuit by 1:20.6 minutes with two penalties (1+0+1+0). Egan repeated in second place with three penalties (1+0+1+1), and Emily Dreissigacker improved on her fourth-place sprint result by finishing third (+3:46.9) with two misses (1+0+0+1).
Bailey started 5 seconds ahead of Burke and 20 seconds ahead of Doherty, then finished first, 1:31.7 clear of Doherty in second place. Bailey shot three penalties (1+0+1+1) and Doherty overcame six misses (3+1+1+1), while Burke finished 7.1 seconds behind Doherty for third place (+1:38.8) with nine penalties (1+1+2+5) after crossfiring on the final stage.
In Saturday’s mass starts, Bailey and Burke tied for first place in the men’s 15 k to celebrate the last race of their careers (check out this Instagram video). Bailey shot 19-for-20, with his lone miss coming in the last standing stage (0+0+0+1), while Burke had two one-minute penalties (0+1+1+0). They entered the finishing straight together and crossed the line in unison in 36:23.3. Doherty once again reached the podium in third (+36.1) after shooting three penalties (0+1+2+0).
Like Bailey, Dunklee swept nationals as well with a win in the women’s 12.5 k mass start. She finished with the fastest time of 39:51.6 despite five penalties (1+2+1+1), while Egan was runner-up for the third-straight day, 1:25.4 back with seven penalties (2+1+2+2). Dreissigacker shot clean to repeat in third place (+1:32.5).
In the youth races, Bjorn Westervelt of Craftsbury and Lexie Madigan of the Auburn Ski Club (ASC) won the youth men’s and women’s sprints, respectively. On Day 2, Madigan raced to her second-straight win in the youth women’s 7.5 k pursuit while Nikolas Burkhart, also of ASC, won the youth men’s 10 k pursuit by 10 seconds over Westervelt in second place.
On Saturday, Burkhart won the youth men’s 10 k mass start in 35:23.8, while Helen Wilson of the Anchorage Biathlon Club topped the youth women’s 7.5 k podium with a win in 26:37.3.