The United States Biathlon Association has named six men and six women to attend a pre-World Cup training camp in Sweden in November. The camp will be used to divide the team further into a World Cup team and a group traveling to the IBU Cup, a coordinated international race circuit are one level below the World Cup.
The national A-team athletes, including Tim Burke, Jay Hakkinen, Leif Nordgren, Lowell Bailey, Sara Studebaker, and Laura Spector, were prequalified for the training camp. Other athletes were chosen based on the results of the North American Rollerski Biathlon Championships in Jericho, Vermont this summer and from time trials held at Soldier Hollow, Utah last week.
Three-time Olympian Jeremy Teela headlined the additions to the team, and was joined by fellow national team member Bill Bowler to round out the squad of six men. All but Bowler have experience at either the Olympic Games or World Championships, and the four A-team men worked together to notch a remarkable sixth-place finish at 2011 World Championships. Both Burke and Teela have stood on the World Cup podium before, while Hakkinen and Bailey have top-ten finishes to their names.
On the women’s side, Studebaker and Spector each notched top-twenty World Cup finishes last season. They will be joined by Tracy and Lanny Barnes of Durango, Colorado, who were the top qualifiers based off of time trial results. The twin sisters are not members of the national team although they have each competed in at least one Olympics, with Lanny Barnes posting the best U.S women’s result in a decade at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. National team members Susan Dunklee, who achieved top-ten results on the IBU circuit last year and Annelies Cook, who competed in the 2011 World Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, round out the team.
Both the men and women will receive four starting spots on the World Cup circuit this season, so at least two men and two women will be sent to the IBU Cup following the training camp in November.