After the conclusion of a three-race trials series, the U.S. Biathlon Association has picked 13 young athletes to represent America at the World Youth and Junior Biathlon Championships this winter. The event will be held in Presque Isle, Maine – where the trials also took place – from February 28 to March 8. The trials featured a sprint on Saturday, a pursuit on Sunday, and a sprint on Monday. Athletes were given a percent-back score for each race and the best two of three results were averaged together. Up to four athletes were chosen for each age category and sex, if they met a minimal percent-back threshold; discretionary picks were also possible.
The team is actually headlined by an athlete who didn’t attend the trials: Sean Doherty, who won gold in the youth division last year. He started the season on the IBU Cup and World Cup and will be competing on the IBU Cup circuit in January, in hopes of earning an Olympic spot. Instead of attending trials, Doherty crushed the competition at the Mt. Hor Hop, a 10 k skate race in Westmore, Vermont, this weekend, to prepare for his next tour.
In Doherty’s absence, Brian Halligan of the Maine Winter Sports Center won both of the sprint competitions, while Paul Everett of Methow Valley took top honors in the pursuit. Halligan was the top scorer in percent-back computations, and Everett and Kamran Husain of the Maine Winter Sports Center were also chosen based on their results.
For the junior men, Jakob Ellingson of Loppet Nordic Racing won both sprints and was the automatic pick. Jake Dahlberg of National Guard Biathlon, who won the pursuit, was also selected based on his points, along with Tyler Gustafson of Mount Itasca, who was a discretionary pick.
In the youth women’s category, Anna Kubek of Mount Itasca dominated both of the first two competitions (sprint and pursuit) and was so far ahead in points that she was obviously going to win the automatic nomination. She opted to sit out today’s sprint, which was won instead by Maddie Phaneuf of the Maine Winter Sports Center. That gave Phaneuf enough to meet the automatic percent-back threshold. Mikaela Paluszek of Maine Winter Sports Center and Siena Ellingson of Loppet Nordic Racing were discretionary picks.
Finally, in the junior women’s divison, Kelsey Dickinson of Methow Valley swept all three competitions and nabbed an automatic spot. Tara Geraghty-Moats fo Vermont Biathlon was a discretionary pick.
In addition, Doherty, Halligan, Ellingson, Everett, Kubek, and Dickinson were nominated to represent the U.S. in the junior races at Open European Championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, January 21-30.
World Youth and Junior Championships Team
-Sean Doherty- North Conway, NH, Vermont Biathlon, prequalified athlete
-Brian Halligan- Saratoga, NY, Maine Winter Sports Center- qualification on points
-Paul Everett- Tacoma, WA, Methow Valley Biathlon, discretionary selection
-Kamran Husain – Ft Kent, ME, Maine Winter Sports Center- discretionary selection
-Jakob Ellingson- Minnetonka, MN, Loppet Nordic Racing- qualification on points
-Jake Dahlberg- Ely, MN, National Guard Biathlon-qualification on points
-Tyler Gustafson- Grand Rapids, MN, Mt Itasca Biathlon- discretionary selection
-Anna Kubek- Duluth, MN, Mt Itasca Biathlon, qualification on points
-Maddie Phaneuf- Old Forge, NY, Maine Winter Sports Center, qualification on points
-Mikaela Paluszek- Farmington, NH, Maine Winter Sports Center- discretionary selection-
-Siena Ellingson- Minnetonka, MN, Loppet Nordic Racing- discretionary selection-
-Kelsey Dickinson, Winthrop, WA, Methow Valley Biathlon- qualification on points
-Tara Gerahty-Moats- Fairlee, VT, Vermont Biathlon- discretionary selection-