Canmore, Alberta, Canada – The American 3 x 6 km Relay in the Youth Women class had moments of triumph and of struggle.
Addie Byrne (Bovey, MN) led off for the team, shooting clean with no extra round in prone and only needing two extra rounds in standing she tagged off to Grace Boutot (Fort Kent, ME) in fourth place just two seconds off the third place Italian Team. Boutot skied well, posting the second fastest time in her first and second loops and shot five-for-five in both prone and standing. She left the range in first pace just 0.3 seconds ahead of the team from Belarus.
At the tag Boutot handed off to Hilary McNamee (Fort Fairfield, ME) in second place, just 11.9 seconds behind Belarus. McNamee, who has been sick during the championships, struggled on the range, needing four extra rounds and having to ski a penalty loop. But her efforts were not unrewarded, the team finished fifth and was honored in the flowers ceremony – a fine end to a good week of racing for the young American women who won a medal and scored two more top-ten finishes.
Canada’s next generation of Olympic biathlon heroes capped off their most successful week ever at the Youth and Junior World Championships by winning a silver medal in the youth men’s 3×7.5-kilometre relay event, on Tuesday in Canmore, Alta.
Led by 18-year-old Kurtis Wenzel, who completed his medal collection with the silver after winning gold and bronze medals earlier in the week, the Canadian trio clocked a second-place time of one hour eight minutes 17.4 seconds. Wenzel and his fellow-Calgary mates including, Aaron Gillmor and Scott Gow, all made two stops at the range between their three trips around the 2.5-kilometre track.
“In the final shooting stage, I thought we would win it , but I did not think it was possible before the last exchange,” said Scott Gow, the anchor of the team, who also attends the National Sport School with Wenzel. “The difference today was good shooting and skiing. When I saw the Russian on the shooting range in the last stage, I realized the silver was possible.”
Joining the Canucks on the podium was the team from France in first place at 1:06:18.8, while Russia settled for third 1:08:56.2.
The silver-medal win brings the Canadian medal haul to five for the week and 12th ever, marking the most successful Youth and Junior World Championships for the young Canadians.
The US men’s team of Ethan Dreissigacker (Morrisville, VT) Raleigh Goessling (Duluth, MN) and Nick Michaud (Fort Kent, ME) finished eighth having struggled on the range. Dreissigacker cleaned his targets using three extra rounds and tagged off in fourth place. But the challenge on the range was too much for his teammates and the team ended up with a total of six penalties and 13 extra rounds.
Source: USBA, Biathlon Canada