Coleraine, MN, December 27. Junior and Youth biathletes from across the US are converging at Mt. Itasca where the Junior and Youth World Championship Trials open tomorrow.
Over 60 competitors from six states including Minnesota, Maine, Alaska, Vermont, New York, and Colorado will vie for positions on the US Team that will compete in the Youth and Junior Biathlon World Championships in Ruhpolding, Germany at the end of January. Three athletes have already earned positions based on their results from North American Cup competitions several weeks ago. They are Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake, MN), Leif Nordgren (Marine-on-St. Croix, MN), and Laura Spector (Lenox, MA). Roberts and Spector compete in the Junior category with Nordgren competing in the Youth category. Up to 13 additional athletes will join these three, based on the results from the next three days of competition.
Junior National Team Coach Vladimir Cervenka says that the Mt. Itasca facility is well prepared for the trials, despite the short notice move there 10 days ago, due to lack of snow at the scheduled location in Anchorage, AK. He commented, â€œConditions are very good. We have about 2 feet of artificial base and an additional foot of natural snow over the 3K loop and cutoffs. It snowed almost all day on Wednesday, while temperatures have remained comfortable in the low twenties with little wind. It is almost like European winter weather.â€
Regarding the competitions, he added, â€œIt will be interesting to see how the other competitors stack up against the pre-qualifiers, who will also race this weekend. The Junior Men will be interesting with Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) and Mark Johnson (Grand Rapids) competing against Roberts. In the Junior Women’s category, Brynden Manbeck (Grand Rapids) and Megan Toussaint (Caribou, ME) are the two top returning team members who will compete against Laura Spector. In the Youth categories, we expect veterans like Hilary McNamee (Fort Fairfield, ME) and Addie Byrne (Bovey, MN) to lead the way, with several spots for youth men and women to be taken by newer athletes.â€
The competitions open with Sprints today at 11 AM (CST), followed by Pursuit Format on Saturday at the same time. The Trials close on Sunday with a Mass Start Relay Format at 10 AM (CST) and the team announcement at 2 PM (CST) that day.
Complete results will be posted at www.USBiathlon.org.