US Biathlon team trials kicked off on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah, with a total of 47 athletes in attendance. On the line for senior competitors racing this week are starting spots for US Biathlon’s 2018/2019 World Cup and IBU Cup teams.
The first race of the week involved a men’s 10-kilometer and women’s 7.5 k sprint, with 12 senior women and 14 senior men racing. A junior men’s sprint and junior women’s sprint was held as well, with 11 junior men and 10 junior women participating.
In the senior women’s sprint, US Biathlon team veteran and two-time Olympian, Susan Dunklee claimed the overall win. Dunklee cleaned her prone stage and missed one standing to finish in a time of 22:17 for first.
After tying Dunklee’s shooting score, Clare Egan, raced to second place, finishing 25 seconds behind the overall winner’s time.
Third place went to Emily Dreissigacker, who also tied Dunklee’s shooting score and finished 1:09 seconds behind Dunklee’s time.
“I always enjoy training in Utah in the fall,” the 32-year-old Dunklee told US Biathlon after the race in Midway. “This winter the World Cup will return to Soldier Hollow for the first time in 18 years and it will be a highlight of our season. Today was a great chance to practice racing at the venue and familiarize ourselves with the range.”
This February, the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center is slated to host IBU World Cup races from the 14th to 17th. The last major international biathlon competitions held at Soldier Hollow were the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
Following the senior women’s sprint on Tuesday was the senior men’s sprint. Twenty-three-year-old, Sean Doherty, took the win, in a time of 25:26 after missing one prone shot and cleaning while standing.
“I am happy with my race today. The course here is challenging and the altitude adds a lot of difficulty, especially in the range,” Doherty, who is a native of Center Conway, New Hampshire, told US Biathlon. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow as another chance to sharpen up before the season.”
Finishing behind Doherty on Tuesday was Paul Schommer, a former skier for the College of St. Scholastica, in second. Schommer finished 51 seconds behind Doherty’s time, after missing one prone shot and two standing.
The third senior men’s finisher in Tuesday’s sprint, Travis Cooper, missed two prone and one standing, finishing 1:20 seconds behind Doherty.
Wednesday, racers will return to the venue for a second sprint race.