Biathletes Shine In Cross Country at Canadian Nationals, SuperTour Finals

Chelsea LittleMarch 26, 2012
Rosanna Crawford - here in her 10 k pursuit victory - won all three races at Canadian Biathlon Championships, before shifting gears to contest cross country nationals. In the sprint, she qualified seventh and placed tenth.

Much like the U.S. and Canadian ski teams, many members of the North American biathlon squads have returned from Europe and decided to hop in some straight cross country races. Here’s a roundup of the results.

– At SuperTour Finals in Craftsbury, Vermont, U.S. national team biathletes Susan Dunklee and Annelies Cook have contested both races so far in the mini-tour. Dunklee recently returned from Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, where she raced Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the final World Cup races of the season; before that she was in Ruhpolding, Germany, for World Championships, where she placed fifth in the 15 k individual. Dunklee finished fifth in the 3.2 k skate prologue, 19 seconds behind Jessie Diggins, 12 behind Holly Brooks, and 11 behind third-place Sadie Bjornsen. In the 9.6 k classic mass start, Dunklee placed 15th, just over three minutes behind Bjornsen.

Cook also raced at World Championships, where her top individual finish was 62nd but she turned in a seminal leg in the women’s relay, which placed 11th. Cook had then returned to the States to sweep the sprint, pursuit, and mass start races at U.S. Nationals for biathlon, picking up three quite dominating wins. In Craftsbury, she placed 13th in the prologue, 26 seconds behind Diggins, and 20th in the classic mass start, about three and a half minutes behind Bjornsen.

– After sweeping their respective mass start, sprint, and pursuit races at Canadian Biathlon Championships in Valcartier, Quebec, Rosanna Crawford and Marc-Andre Bedard made the short drive over to the same event for skiing. They understandably decided to skip out on the 5/10 k classic race, which fell just two days after they had finished their own national championship series, but made their debuts in the 10/15 k skate.

Bedard, in this instance racing for Skibec, finished fourth behind Alex Harvey, Ivan Babikov, and Devon Kershaw. He was 2:25 behind Harvey and 40 seconds behind Kershaw. Bedard had not been particularly happy with his ski speed at biathlon World Championships two weeks earlier, where his times were consistently the slowest of the Canadian men and he had a top finish of 52nd. But at his national biathlon championships, Bedard had said that he seemed to be in better form. In the skate sprint, he raced to 50th place in qualifying, and wound up 41st once the juniors were removed from the results – a bit under three seconds away from making the quarterfinals. Bedard sat out the 50 k.

Crawford started out by placing 15th in the 10 k skate, 1:48 behind a victorious Emily Nishikawa. She instead made her mark in the skate sprint, where she qualified in seventh, 7.92 seconds behind her sister, Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford. “Got to battle Chandra in the semis, but sadly was not aggressive enough!” Rosanna Crawford tweeted after the race. Her effort was good for tenth overall. Unlike Bedard, Crawford decided to pony up for the long mass start, and was excited to battle her sister; while Rosanna didn’t necessarily expect much in a 30 k classic race (the longest female biathletes race is 15 k, and they always skate in competition), Chandra is known as a sprinter. The older sister, however, skied to a convincing win while Rosanna placed 15th.

– Several of Canada’s junior biathletes also made the hop over to Mont Sainte Anne for cross country nationals.

Sarah Beaudry of the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, who finished 26th in the youth sprint at World Junior and then skied up to 20th in the pursuit, placed an impressive ninth in the junior girls’ 5 k classic, 54 seconds behind Marte Haakenstad Braaten of Norway and 42 behind the top Canadian, Katherine Stewart-Jones of Nakkertok. In the junior girls’ 10 k skate, she matched that result by placing ninth again, this time 2:47 behind Suzanne Stevenson. In the girls’ sprint, Beaudry qualified in second and finished fourth. In the same division, Youth Olympic Games teammate Danielle Vrielink placed 14th in both the 10 k and the sprint.

Representing Rocky Mountain Racers, Stuart Harden, the Canadian who almost won the Youth Olympic Games pursuit but was relegated to seventh after skipping a penalty loop, made a habit of matching that result. In the junior boys’ 7.5 k skate, he placed seventh, 50 seconds behind Alexis Dumas of Skibec. Then he qualified in 14th in the junior boys’ sprint before winning the B-Final and placing seventh overall. Canmore biathlete Aidan Miller placed 24th in the 7.5 k skate.

In the junior women’s sprint, Canmore teammates Julia Ransom and Emma Lodge met in the B-Final and placed 8th and 10th overall. In the 20 k classic mass start at the end of the championships, Ransom, who was the silver medalist in the youth women’s pursuit at World Junior Championships, placed 10th, just under five minutes behind runaway victor Maya MacIsaac-Jones. Lodge finished 25th.

Canmore’s Maxc Davies and Skibec’s Albert Bouchard placed 11th and 20th in the junior men’s sprint. Davies then placed 23rd in the junior men’s 30 k classic race.

2012 World Junior Champion in the men’s individual, Kurtis Wenzel, raced as a senior at cross country nationals and placed 35th in the sprint. Wenzel, who had picked up a medal in the senior division of biathlon national championships a week earlier, finished the week by matching that in the 50 k classic mass start.

Finally, Canmore biathlete Kirsten Gillett placed second in the juvenile girls’ sprint, but first place went to American Brooke Mooney, so Gillett was named Canadian champion. Gillett placed 15th in the interval start skate.

Chelsea Little

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