An incredibly beautiful March day greeted the athletes for Day 2 of the US Biathlon National Championship. Overnite temperature of 20F let the ski trail firm up nicely for todays competition, and the bright sun and low winds were a big improvements over the rain and wind of the Day 1- Sprint. The athletes were all relieved to see the rain of Thursday replaced by fast and firm track.
The Women’s 10km Pursuit came down to a battle on the skis, as Annelies Cook, Tracy Barnes, and Lanny Barnes all shot clean for both prone stages. Cook picked up three penalties in standing, while the Barnes twin each picked up two penalties a piece. Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY) was able to ski fast enough to take the victory, with Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO) and Lanny Barnes (Durango, CO) finishing second and third.
The Senior Men 12.5km race was punctuated with many more penalties. Bill Bowler (Wausau, WI) held the early lead, hitting 9 of 10 prone targets, but seven standing misses over the two standing stages pushed him back to 4th at the finish. Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake, MN) was able to overcome 8 total penalties with a good final standing stage and fast skiing for 1st Place. Mark Johnson (Grand Rapids, MN) had the best shooting with 5 penalties and finished 2nd, only 8 seconds back. Russell Currier (Caribou, ME) put on the afterburners to finish 31 seconds out, with 9 penalties and a big crash in the first loop.
Mt Itasca has hosted at least one major national biathlon event annually since the development of the Biathlon/Nordic center in 2000. Snowmaking and all grooming are run completely by volunteers, and the quality of skiing for these Nationals was truly World Class.
The 2011 National Championships will conclude with Mass Start events in 7 men’s and 6 women’s categories. Full results are posted at www.minnesotabiathlon.com.
– Press release from Minnesota Biathlon