This will be the final report on the Youth and Juniors from MN in Europe. Jakob Ellingson, Senior, from the Twin Cities was invited to go back to Europe for the 2 final IBU cup series and at last report was looking for funding. Amanda Kautzer has been invited to go to Sweden for the Swedish National Championships, but I am going to finish up reporting with todays Junior Relay races.
Relays are fun to watch and be in, if your team is in, say, the top 5 before the last shooting. When your team is back a ways, it isn’t real fun to watch. The old saying that a team is only as strong as its weakest link is double true in biathlon. It is also hard to judge exactly how fast the skiers are moving, as the 3 laps each skier does differ in length [each athlete skis a total of 7.5 or 6.0 km plus penalties] but depending on the stadium layout, the first lap might be a bit longer and the last lap shorter –or whatever. Some determination of comparable ski speed can be made between members of the team and the competition however based on the full leg of skiing with the shooting time deducted.
In the US Junior Men’s 4 x 7.5 km Relay team, Cody Johnson, ME skied the scramble leg, Cam Christiansen, MN skied 2nd, Travis Cooper, AK 3rd and Peter Carroll, CA anchored. Cody moved up nicely in the first lap, lost a bit of time loading one extra round to clean in prone, and skied a strong second leg. Too strong. He missed all 5 in standing, but did manage to come back and hit with his 3 extras, but then headed to the penalty loop for 2 laps. He tagged off Cam in next to last-16th place, who immediately got passed, but hung in tight. In the range, Cam cleaned prone with 5 and moved out in 15th 2:30 behind Russia. In Standing he missed 1 with the 5 but caught is immediately with his first extra round and left in 13th 2:52 back. He tagged off Travis in 13th, 3:23 back. Travis used 3 extras and moved the US up a couple of places. Peter also needed a few extra rounds and slowly dropped back in skiing to finish for the team in 14th place, 7:53 behind the Russians. It was an improvement, last year they finished in #16th place.
Cam shot the best today for the US hitting 10 targets with 11 shots; and the top 3 US Men each skied at about a 2:33 per km pace for their 7.5km The second leg Russian skied at a 2:23 pace and he wasn’t the fastest by 8 or 10 sec. And the US had two penalty loops and used 10 extra rounds that take about 20 sec each to handload and shoot, while the Russians had no penalty loops and used 7 extra rounds.
In the Junior Women’s 3 x 6.0 km Relay team, Siena Ellingson, MN scrambled, Helen Wilson, AK went 2nd and Nina Armstrong, NY anchored. One of the 3 Junior women selected at trials could not make the trip so they filled out the US team with Helen who is a Youth, but who did better than Nina in the last analysis.
Siena had problems in the range, shooting slowly and using all 3 extra rounds for both prone and standing. She tagged off in 16th place 2:25 back. Helen used just 2 extras—one each in prone and standing and tagged off to Nina in 17th only 9 sec behind Slovakia. Nina, attempting to make up ground, struggled in prone—missing all 8 shots for 5 penalty loops. She recovered to clean standing without extras, but finished for the US in 17th 11:30 back.
With the conclusion of the Championships the US team will travel to Vienna tonight. Cam and a few others will take a train to Munich and fly back from there on Thursday.