Independent U.S. biathlete Tracy Barnes and Jean-Phillipe Leguiellec, a member of the Canadian national team, won mass start races in Canmore, Alberta on Friday. It was the end of a three-race series put on by the U.S. Biathlon Association (USBA) to select American athletes to send to World Cup and IBU Cup trips.
In the women’s race, Barnes had the cleanest shooting on the day, missing only two targets in four stages, which translated to an 18-second win over Anneliese Cook, a former member of the USBA development team. Cook missed one shot in each stage. Tracy’s sister Lanny Barnes finished third with three misses, 49 seconds behind Cook.
Yolaine Oddou of Canada finished fourth, narrowly edging out USBA’s Haley Johnson by only five seconds. Laura Spector, the winner of the first two races, finished sixth. Both Johnson and Spector were hampered by poor shooting, missing nine and seven shots, respectively. Oddon made up for slower skiing by missing only three shots. The most disappointed athlete at the end of the day was almost certainly USBA’s Susan Dunklee, who missed eleven targets, including all five in the last stage. She finished eleventh.
In the men’s race, Leguellec, who finished 6th in the sprint at the Vancouver Olympics, took the win by nineteen seconds over USBA’s Russell Currier. Marc-Andre Bedard, who won Thursday’s race, finished third. Lowell Bailey of USBA was fourth, and Bill Bowler, an American competing independently, was fifth; each of the top five athletes had five misses on the day and were separated only by their skiing. They were followed by USBA’s Zach Hall, who finished sixth with three misses.
After the race, USBA named the athletes who had been selected for the World Cup and IBU Cup trips. Selection was based on percent back, and each athlete’s best two performances were used.
Spector was the lone woman selected for the World Cup, where she will join Sara Studebaker, who was prequalified. With victory in the first two races, Spector was a clear winner at the trials, and the decision wasn’t a difficult one.
For the men, Currier and Bailey were picked to join Tim Burke, Jeremy Teela, and Leif Nordgren on the World Cup. Currier led the points standings, but Bailey was a discretionary pick. The USBA wrote, “The [International Competition Committee] in selecting Lowell Bailey noted that he had very strong results over the summer/fall and had been sick before the trials so was not at his best for the races. They also noted that he has played a very important role in World Cup Relays and that his experience there will be helpful to the team.”
The USBA also picked four athletes to send to early-season IBU Cup races in Europe, the level of competition just below the World Cup. In the past, an early-season IBU Cup trip has not been funded, and this was a decision made for athlete development. Tracy Barnes and Cook will be sent on the IBU Cup trip for women, and Bowler and Hall will represent the men.
The World Cup season begins in Ostersund, Sweden, December 1st.