Coleraine, MN. Hilary McNamee (Fort Fairfield, ME) and Meagan Toussaint (Madawaska, ME) again swept away the competition today to win their respective categories (Youth Women and Junior Women) at the Youth/Junior World Championships Team Trials.
With today's victories, the two athletes from the Maine Winter Sports Center completed a three-for-three sweep of the Trial's competitions. McNamee continued to dominate the Youth Women's category, with another significant margin of victory (1:27) over second place Addie Byrne (Bovey, MN). In the Sprint and Pursuit Format competitions, McNamee won by 58.1 seconds and 2:04.7, respectively. However, In the Relay Format Mass Start (sprint using extra rounds as in a relay) today, Byrne left the shooting range with no penalties while McNamee had one. “Both the Youth and Junior women shot better than the Junior Men today, with all of the top women either clean or with one penalty. It was windy (gusts up to 20 mph) and they handled it better,” stated Junior National Coach Vladimir Cervenka.
Two MWSC athletes, each with one penalty finished behind McNamee and Byrne. Third went to Grace Boutot (Fort Kent, ME), 1:54 back while Kaitlyn Bernard (Fort Kent, ME) finished fourth, 2:34 back. Toussaint won her third competition by a much smaller margin than McNamee.
In the two previous competitions, Brynden Manbeck (Grand Rapids, MN), still feeling the effects of a hamstring injury, was well behind Toussaint. Today, the two ended up in a heated battle as both shot clean, with Toussaint winning by just three seconds, 21:28 to 21:31. Cervenka added, “When you put these two women with (pre-qualified) Laura Spector (Lenox, MA), we will have a very
good Junior Women's team.”
As Cervenka noted, the Junior Men struggled a bit on the shooting range. Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake, MN) came back from his seven-penalty day yesterday to claim his second win of the weekend over Mark Johnson (Grand Rapids, MN). Roberts had one penalty to Johnson's two, to win by 57 seconds, 21:46 to 22:43. Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) matched Johnson's two penalties, but finished 34 seconds behind the Minnesotan in third place. Newt Rogers (Fort Kent, ME) with three penalties finished 2:11 behind Roberts.
The Youth Men's category saw another new face on top of the podium. Raleigh Goessling (Duluth, MN) shot clean as did yesterday's Pursuit Format champion Ethan Dreissigacker (Burlington, VT), but claimed a 22:38 to 23:06 victory. Third went to Michael Gibson of the Ethan Allen Biathlon Club, with two penalties, 2:18 back, while Preston Butler, with one penalty was fourth, 2:40 back.
Leif Nordgren (Marine-on-St. Croix, MN) the winner of the Friday's Sprint competition and a pre-qualifier for the World Junior Championships was happy just to race. After having the flu earlier in the week, Nordgren realized just minutes before his start time that his firing pin was broken. Coach Cervenka scrambled to get a rifle for Nordgren (borrowed from Addie Byrne), loaded the magazines, and sent him on his way. Unfortunately, by the time Nordgren started, two precious minutes had elapsed, which left him buried in eighth place at the finish. “I told him he did not have to race when we found out the firing pin was broken,” Cervenka said, “but he wanted to do it. It was a good learning experience.”
In addition to the three pre-qualified athletes (Nordgren, Roberts, and Spector), ten athletes received nominations to compete for the US Biathlon Team at the Youth and Junior Biathlon World championships in Ruhpolding, Germany, January 26-February 2. Nominated to the team are: Ethan Dreissigacker, Raleigh Goessling, and Preston Butler in the Youth Men's category; Hilary McNamee, Addie Byrne, and Grace Boutot in the Youth Women's category; Mark Johnson and Russell Currier in the Junior Men's category, and Meagan Toussaint and Brynden Manbeck in the Junior Women's Category.
Complete results are available at www.USBiathlon.org.