2018 Masters World Cup (Minneapolis, Minnesota): 4 x 5 k relays
Matt Liebsch, 34, anchored the winning relay of the youngest men’s age group (AG 1) at 2018 Masters World Cup on Wednesday, crossing the line in 45:57.2 minutes (the fastest relay time of the day) and teaming up with fellow Americans Christopher Harvey, Mark Johnson and Zach Varty. Two teams competed in that age group’s 4 x 5 k relay, with Italy finishing second, 1:22.6 minutes back.
The U.S. won all five women’s 4 x 5 k relays on Wednesday, and eight total between the men’s and women’s age groups. Finland had the second-most relay victories with five in the men’s categories.
Canada won the men’s AG 4, beating out four other teams with Gabriel Babin, Bruce Macneil, Luc Tremblay, and Michel Labrie, who finished the 4 x 5 k in 49:41.9. Germany placed second (+36.4), and the U.S. third (+54.1).
Piotr Bednarski, head coach of Loppet Nordic Racing, which is based out of Theodore Wirth Park, anchored the men’s AG 5 to a win in 49:39.1, with teammates Rune Harkestad, Dennis Paul and David Sjogren.
Masters World Cup continues with 15/30/45 k classic distance races on Thursday at Wirth Park.
Day 4 Age Group (AG) 4 x 5 k Relay Winners
- AG 1: USA (Christopher Harvey, Mark Johnson, Zach Varty, Matt Liebsch) 45:57.2
- AG 2: Finland (Jouni Leinonen, Mika Kilpeläinen, Johan Gustafsson, Joachim Gustafsson) 47:53.4
- AG 3: Russia (Ivan Batyutenko, Andrey Lushnikov, Sergey Degtyarev, Aleksandr Pushkarev) 46:43.3
- AG 4: Canada (Gabriel Babin, Bruce Macneil, Luc Trembley, Michel Labrie) 49:41.9
- AG 5: USA (Rune Harkestad, Dennis Paul, David Sjogren, Piotr Bednarski) 49:39.1
- AG 6: USA (Milan Baic, Odd Bersvendsen, Kent Murdoch, Barry Makarewicz) 48:48.3
- AG 7: Finland (Heikki Ruokonen, Tapio Tikkanen, Timo Pullinen, Aito Pennanen) 51:56.3
- AG 8: Finland (Leino Nisula, Pauli Halonen, Yrjo Teravainen, Harri Makela) 54:58.4
- AG 9: Finland (Veikko Piirainen, Tapio Ikaheimonen, Paavo Raisanen, Vaino Paakko) 58:18.9
- AG 10: Finland (Alpo Virtanen, Tapio Wallenius, Jouko Laiho, Riku Kyllonen) 1:02:39.7
- AG 1: USA (Kathleen Dewahl, Tamra Kornfield, Davya Flaharty, Gina Chythlook) 56:49.3
- AG 2: USA (Bonnie Weiskopf, Kim Rudd, Mary Mckelvey, Mary Wellington) 56:23.9
- AG 3: USA (Elizabeth Youngman, Kelly Milligan, Jan Guenther, Kelly Skillicorn) 56:23.6
- AG 4: USA (Kate Ellis, Magdenla Bowen, Joann Hanowski, Muffy Ritz) 1:00:33.6
- AG 5: USA (Gabriele Andersen, Constance Meek, Dagmar Eriksson, Kati Campbell) 1:14:23.4
IBU Open European Championships (Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, Italy): 15/20 k individual
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) Open European Championships opened Wednesday in Ridnaun (Val Ridanna), Italy, with several North Americans competing in the women’s 15- and men’s 20-kilometer individual races.
Canada’s 23-year-old Carsen Campbell raced to 19th in the men’s 20 k, shooting 19-for-20 (1+0+0+0) and finishing 3:18.5 minutes behind the winner, Austria’s Felix Leitner, who clocked the fastest time in 53:32.8 — also with one penalty (0+0+0+1).
Leitner, 21, won by 43 seconds over Tomas Krupcik of the Czech Republic, who also had a single penalty in the last standing stage (0+0+0+1) and placed second.
Germany’s Philipp Horn reached the podium in third (+56.6), with 19-for-20 shooting as well (1+0+0+0).
According to an IBU press release, Leitner is one of the youngest athletes to win the 20 k, the longest race on the circuit.
“I had many problems with my shooting lately, but today it was probably the best in the last two seasons,” Leitner said, according to the release. “I believed in myself and knew that I have to run fast from the beginning, and if the shooting would be as good as during the training, I could be in the top.”
Campbell, of Biathlon Canada’s National “Z” Team, was the top North American in 19th in his second trip to Open European Championships. Previously, his best individual result was 64th last year.
Paul Schommer led the U.S. men in 46th (+5:22.6) with three penalties (0+1+1+1). Max Durtschi also shot 17-for-20 (1+0+1+1) and ended up 56th (+6:18.5), Jakob Ellingson followed in 58th (+6:23.5) with two penalties (0+0+1+1), and Jake Brown finished 74th (+8:06.7) with seven penalties (1+1+3+2). Alex Howe did not start.
For Canada, Macx Davies, a senior national team member who is headed to the Olympics, placed 67th (+7:32.7) with five penalties (2+2+1+0). Matt Hudec was 96th (+12:00.5) with six penalties (0+2+1+3), and Aidan Miller 105th (+14:49.0) with nine penalties (2+1+1+5).
In the women’s 15 k that followed, Sarah Beaudry, of Biathlon Canada’s Senior National Team as well as Olympic team, was the top North American in 23rd, 4:55.6 out of first. Beaudry, 23, shot 18-for-20, with her two misses coming in the first prone (2+0+0+0).
France’s Chloe Chevalier won the women’s race, with spring-like temperatures around 6 degrees Celsius, in 46:32.9 with a single penalty, also in the first stage (1+0+0+0). The second- through fourth-place finishers all shot clean, with Italy’s Alexa Runggaldier placing second (+47.7), Russia’s Victoria Slivko taking third (+55.9) and Ukraine’s Yuliia Zhuravok missing the podium by half a second in fourth place (+56.4).
“After that penalty in the first prone, I relaxed and did not worry about the result,” Chevalier said after, according to an IBU press release. “I just enjoyed being out on the tracks on a beautiful sunny. Maybe the key to success is relaxing and not worrying about the result.”
Two Canadian women entered the event, with Erin Yungblut finishing 83rd (+13.19.9) with eight penalties (2+3+1+2).
Chloe Levins was the top American woman in 60th (+7:18.6) with four penalties (1+2+1+0), and Maddie Phaneuf, who made US Biathlon’s Olympic team, followed in 65th (+8:10.8) with four misses as well (1+2+0+1). Deedra Irwin finished 82nd (+13:15.8) and Jennie Bender was 87th (+15:05.0), both with 10 penalties apiece.
Open European Championships continue Friday with the men’s and women’s sprints, followed by pursuits on Saturday and relays on Sunday.