The U.S. Biathlon Team concluded its second major training camp of the season on July 9th with precision shooting tests and a roller-ski biathlon competition at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, VT. For the previous two weeks, the National and Development teams trained together in Lake Placid, NY. National Team Coaches Mikael Lofgren and Per Nilsson, assisted by Development Coach James Upham put the group through an intensive program of both physical and shooting training during the camp. â€œIt was great to be with the athletes again, as it has been several weeks since our last campâ€ commented Nilsson. â€œWe are happy with the improvements in conditioning and shooting that the athletes have made in recent weeks. At the same time, this was a good opportunity for us to work with the Development Team and get to know them better.â€
The â€œicing on the cakeâ€ at the camp was a final set of shooting tests followed by the first biathlon races of the new season. â€œWe told the team to try to get personal bests in the shooting tests and several did, so that is encouragingâ€ Nilsson added. In the 30 prone/30 standing competition, Jeremy Teela prevailed over Kevin Patzoldt with a personal best of 512 to Patzoldt’s 502. Jeremy’s near perfect standing shooting in one bout with four of five center shots in the same hole put big smiles on the faces of both coaches. Tracy Barnes topped her sister Lanny with a score of 493 to 480. Tracy also held the edge over her sister in both the 4 X 5-shot (10 prone/10 standing) and the 20 times 1 shot tests. The twins topped all of the men in the 20 times 1 shot test, as Tracy shot clean in 7:02 while Lanny had one penalty, finishing in an adjusted 7:09. Lowell Bailey was the top man with one penalty in 8:04, followed by Tim Burke with one penalty in 8:04. Patzoldt and Burke each had one penalty in the 4 X 5 shot test, but Patzoldt edged Burke by 3 seconds on time, 1:59 to 2:02.
A steady rain made for slippery conditions during the women’s 12.5 km and men’s 15K Individual competitions Saturday evening. Despite the soggy weather, all of the athletes were eager for the â€œfirst raceâ€ of the new season. Eleven men and seven women from the National and Development Teams as well as the National Guard Team competed over the hilly Ethan Allen roller-ski tracks. In the men’s competition, Tim Burke edged Lowell Bailey 46:29 to 46:34, with both recording four penalties. Kevin Patzoldt finished 3rd, with five penalties in 51:16. National Junior Team athlete Russell Currier, with nine penalties in 54:30 tied for 4th with Jesse Downs of the National Guard. Asked how he felt at the finish, Tim had a one-word answer, â€œTired!â€
The top three women in the 10.5 km outshot all of the men, further fueling on ongoing rivalry for team supremacy on the shooting range. Tracy Barnes was near perfect on the shooting range with but a single penalty coming in the first prone stage. She won in 38:14, despite crashing to the pavement less than two feet before the finish. She came away unscathed, but a bit embarrassed by her fall. Lanny Barnes and Denise Teela both finished with three penalties, but Lanny finished 2nd in 40:22 to Denise’s 42:42. Beth Ann Chamberlain finished 4th with nine penalties in 49:40. Caitlin Compton of Warren, VT, in her first biathlon competition, finished 6th, with nine penalties in 50:30. She enthusiastically endorsed here new sport with a comment of, â€œI am hooked!â€ at the finish.