Coleraine, MN, March 20 – Laura Spector (Lenox, MA), competing in the Junior Division posted the top result today in the 7.5K Sprint at the North American/US National Championships at the Mount Itasca Biathlon facility.
On a day that featured clear skies, minimal wind and temperatures in the lower thirties, Spector shot clean in prone and despite two standing penalties. She covered the 7.5K course in 21:29. This time put here 26 seconds ahead of the top Senior Division woman, Annilies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY). Cook, a former member of the National Junior Team shot clean.
Spector’s National Junior title today comes in her final season as a Junior Level competitor. This year, she competed in the Youth/Junior World Championships in Ruhpolding, Germany and the next week jumped to the Senior Level at the Biathlon World Championships in Ostersund. Sweden. In her senior debut, she placed 62nd in the 15K Individual and competed in the Mixed Relay. She most recently placed 6th in the Junior Pursuit at the European Championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. The 6th place was the best international result of her career.
US Biathlon Executive Director Max Cobb commented on Spector’s top performance, â€œIt is great to see Laura have this kind of a performance. It shows that the work she put in over the past year has paid off. With the season she had this year, she has now moved into the top group of women in our program.â€
Following Spector in the Junior Women’s 7.5K today was Meagan Toussaint (Madawaska, ME), also with two penalties, 2:14 back. Brynden Manbeck (Grand Rapids, MN, with three penalties) was third, 3:31 back.
In the Senior Women’s 7.5K Sprint, Cook claimed the US Championship title, with her victory over US Biathlon Development Team member Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis, MN). Compton, just back from Europe for just three days, finished 15 seconds behind Cook today. Compton had four penalties. She tied for second in the Senior Women’s 7.5K Sprint with Ekaterina Vinogradova (Auburn, CA), with five penalties, also 15 seconds back. Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID), also with the Development Team finished fourth, with three penalties, 58 seconds back.
Brendon Green (Hay River, NT, Canada) won the Senior Men’s 10K Sprint, with one penalty in a time of 25:21.
As Green is a Canadian, the US Championship title went to Walter Shepard (Brunswick, ME) also with one penalty. Shepard, in winning the 2008 Senior National Championship finished just 20 seconds behind the Canadian athlete. Shepard who is currently studying and skiing at Bowdoin College was a member of the 2005 World Championships Team. He also competed in several Youth/Junior World Championships as a member of the US Junior National Team. Third went to National Guard athlete Jesse Downs (Jericho, VT), with three penalties, 1:28 back.
Like Spector, Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) also competed in both Ruhpolding and Ostersund. Currier won the Junior 10K Sprint title today in 26:16 with one prone and two standing penalties. Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake, MN), also with three penalties followed Currier by 30 seconds, with Newt Rogers (Fort Kent, ME), with four penalties, 2:06 back.
The host Mount Itasca Biathlon and the Maine Winter Sports Center each had two National Champions today from the National Junior Team. Currier and Spector from the MWSC took the Junior Championships, while Mount Itasca, with Leif Nordgren (Marine-on-St. Croix, MN) and Addie Byrne (Grand Rapids, MN) won the Youth titles.
Leif Nordgren, who won the Bronze Medal in the Youth Pursuit at the Youth/Junior World Championships, won the Youth 7.5K Sprint handily today. Nordgren had one standing penalty on his way to a time of 20:11. He was 1:47 ahead Michael Gibson (Stowe, VT), who had four penalties and Raleigh Goessling (Duluth, MN) with six penalties who tied for second place.
Local athlete Addie Byrne won the Youth Women’s 6K Sprint in 20:10. Byrne had three penalties. She led two of her teammates from the Youth/ Junior World Championships Team across the line. Hilary McNamee (Fort Fairfield, ME) with five penalties, finished 43 seconds back, while Grace Boutot (Fort Kent, ME) with three penalties finished 53 seconds back.
Pursuit competitions in all divisions are on Friday’s program, with competitions starting at 11 AM CDT.
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