Mt Itasca, Coleraine, MN – Perfect corduroy greeted athletes at Mt Itasca for Day 5 of competition of the World Team Trials. BethAnn Chamberlain (Grand Rapids, MN) came out swinging and posted the only clean shooting of the day. So far, the Trial events had not gone well for Chamberlain and she needed a victory in order to qualify for the IBU Cup team. Though she now calls Presque Isle, ME home, Chamberlain grew up in Grand Rapids and is right at home at Mt Itasca. With a hometown crowd cheering for her, Chamberlain managed a 5 second victory over Laura Spector (Lenox, MA). Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT) posted the fastest ski time of the day for 3rd place, 28 seconds out of first. Dunklee finished in the top 3 in all five races at Mt Itasca.
In the men’s race, the battle raged in the last skiing loop of the day. The top 4 men went into the last 5km ski loop within 10 seconds of each other. Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake, MN), had a blazing last loop, pulling out a 3 second victory over Leif Nordgren (Marine of St Croix, MN). Nordgren had been fighting sickness at the beginning of the race series and needed a big race today. Hitting 90%, Nordgren pulled himself up in the rankings, but could not quite match his training partner, Roberts, on the ski tracks. Zach Hall (Nikiski, AK), was on the podium again for five out of five races, shooting 80% and skiing a strong last lap. Only .8 seconds behind Hall was Mark Johnson. Johnson, who grew up training and racing at Mt Itasca, tried to squeeze every last second out of the familiar terrain, but the hometown crowd and 90% shooting was not quite enough to put him on the podium.
In the Junior Men’s race, Nordgren took 1st, followed by Wayne McClure (Anchorage, AK). Michael Gibson (Burlington, VT) finished 3rd. In the Junior Women’s Sprint, Grace Boutot (Caribou, ME) won by a large margin, shooting 2 penalties. Hillary McNamee (Presque Isle, ME) was 2nd, shooting 70%. Corrine Malcolm (Hayward, WI) placed 3rd with strong skiing. This is Malcolm’s first season of biathlon competition.
The Youth Women showed some of the best shooting of the day. Andrea Mayo (Soldier Pond, ME) shot 80% for a 40 second win over 2nd place Kelly Kjorlien. Kjorlien (Grand Rapids, MN), in her second year of biathlon competition shot an impressive 90%. Rookie Afton Snyder (Grand Rapids, MN), took 3rd with two penalties.
Casey Smith (Methow Valley, WA) won the Youth Men’s with 80% shooting and impressive skiing, matching second place Raleigh Goessling on the ski tracks. Goessling (Esko, MN) finished 21 second back with 70% shooting. Also shooting 70% was Ben Greenwald (Minneapolis, MN) finishing 3rd, 58 seconds out of first.