After a four-race trials series in Mount Itasca, Minnesota, the United States Biathlon Association (USBA) has named its squad for IBU Cup racing for January, 2015.
Maddie Phaneuf (Maine Winter Sports Center/USBA “X” Team) and Casey Smith (Maine Winter Sports Center/USBA “B” Team) won the trials series.
Sean Doherty (USBA “X” Team) was pre-qualified for the January IBU Cups after earning, but then declining, a spot on the World Cup squad for the first period of racing. Doherty at that point decided to train and focus on the middle portion of the season, including World Youth and Junior Championships. Doherty swept all four races in the trials series.
Kelsey Dickinson (Maine Winter Sports Center/USBA Development Team), Clare Egan (Craftsbury Green Racing Project/USBA “X” Team), and Wynn Roberts (National Guard Biathlon) earned discretionary nominations based on results through the fall and early winter.
Dickinson won the sprint on Day 1 of trials; Phaneuf the sprint on Day 2 and the mass start on Day 3; and Egan the sprint on the final day of competition. Only the results from the first day of competition have been posted online so far.
In addition, Russell Currier (Maine Winter Sports Center/USBA “B” Team) will move down from the World Cup circuit. Currier failed to break into the top 60 in three weeks of competitions in Sweden, Austria, and Slovenia.
Notably, that leaves a World Cup squad of only three men (Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey, and Leif Nordgren) and three women (Susan Dunklee, Hannah Dreissigacker, and Annelies Cook). All six have scored World Cup points so far this season, but it means that neither team will be able to field a relay at the first race weekend of 2015 in Oberhof, Germany.
After that, some athletes from the IBU Cup may be moved up to the World Cup according to their team selection procedures based on initial IBU Cup results.
“The quick answer is that we have an option to bring athletes up from the IBU Cup for the World Cup in Ruhpolding, and will for sure have a full team in Antholz,” USBA CEO Max Cobb wrote in an e-mail to FasterSkier, referring to the second and third weekends of World Cup racing in January. “We updated our selection procedures and you can check that out on our website.”