US Biathlon in Europe #17

Hi Everyone,
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.

Enjoy!
Bill Meyer

US Biathlon in Europe #16

Good Morning again-

Yesterday I said I would write again in a couple of days—I lied :). More news trickled in and two more races have come and gone..

Biathlon is a sport with a lot of fairly delicate, and very complicated equipment. The following email and pictures from Amanda Kautzer is indicative of the problems that can occur at any instant and which the athletes need to overcome without much help!

“Bill,
I had some issues yesterday. After my first shooting someone cut me off going into the penalty lap and I went down in a slush pile and broke a pole. I skied the penalties and the first climb, and half the big climb with only one pole. Then on my last lap my harness broke. The screw you unscrew when taking the harness off for travel came off, and I lost that and the oval-ish piece that slides on the rail. Do you have any extras? I qualified for Swedish nationals and hopefully will go so will need to get that fixed ASAP. I am using Cam’s harness today since he is not racing. I would have done a LOT better in the race, possibly top 30-35 had I not had that major equipment malfunction. I skied over a K with my rifle in my hands, and even out sprinted someone in the finishing stretch with one pole and holding my rifle.”

As you may recall from reading yesterday’s report, Amanda moved from starting 59th, 4:43 behind the Sprint winner, up to where she finished in 42nd only 6:16 behind the winner of the Pursuit after 7.5km and 4 shooting stages. Lot of struggling to get to the finish line!! Many would have dropped!!

Coaches can hand off another pole, of some length or another—as soon as the athlete reaches a coach on the course; the coach can pass ammo or parts to a range official who can then give them to an athlete—or the athlete can grab the team spare rifle on the range [which might or might not fit them] …but once they leave the range they need to ski with their broken rifle until they reach the range again or the finish line.

So in the Youth relays this am, in the Men’s 3 x 7.5 Vasek Cervenka, MN had a good scramble leg, using 2 extra rounds in prone and 1 in standing to tag off to Jake Pearson, WY +0:28 sec back. As you can see in the attached, things deteriorated for the US then and as we finished with Alex Kilby, AK, in 18th place [of 23 teams] 8:06 back of winner Norway who used a total of 6 extra rounds, no penalty loops and finished in 55:05. While there have been 30 some National teams in the races—some countries do not have enough athletes at the Worlds to form a full relay team.

In the Women’s 3 x 6km, Chloe Levins,VT scrambled, used 4 xtra rounds and tagged off to Amanda Kautzer, MN, in 14th place, 1:40 back. Amanda cleaned prone with no extra rounds, used 2 xtra in standing, and tagged off Grace Gilliland, AK, in 8th place 1:50 behind the leaders!! Grace struggled in the range, had a penalty loop after 3 extras in prone, used 2 xtras in standing and finished in 13th, 4:56 back of winner Russia who also had one penalty, 7 total extra rounds, and finished in 59:43.

Tomorrow the World Championships conclude with the Junior Relays, starting at 4:00 and 7:00 for Men and Women respectively.

Bill Meyer

US Biathlon in Europe

Good Morning All,

Since my last report, there have been 6 more races at YJrWCh’s. Junior Men and Junior Women Sprint, and the four classes in the Pursuit for those who were in the top 60 of the Sprint races.

The level of racing at the top of the fields is incredible. Only a small notch below the World Cups and about the same as the Senior IBU Cup level. For example—in the Junior Men’s Sprint race, the winner, Igor Malinovskii shot clean while skiing the 10 km race at a 2:20 per km pace..and of course carrying his rifle as all the athletes both Youth and Juniors do in Worlds. Today in the Pursuit—he again won, with 4 penalties, and again skied the whole 12.5km plus 4 x 150 meters at the same 2:20 per km pace. And that includes slowing down in his range approach 4 times, where they need to slow down before shooting, and accelerating back up to speed after shooting. Today he was only the 10th fastest on the course, the 2nd place Norwegian, Pettersen was faster by about a minute or about 5 sec per km faster on skis, so around a 2:15 per km. And ski conditions have not been real fast. In the shooting range [separate times pulled out from the overall] Malinovskii shot in 45 sec the first prone 56th fastest; 25 sec 2nd prone 1st in time, 26 sec 1st standing 7th fastest, and 28 sec in 2nd standing 21st fastest. He shot 0,1,2,1. That is from laying down his poles to picking them back up at the end of the 5 shots.

Basically the US athletes have to support themselves, including the cost of travel to camps, regional events, Trials races and all training costs. They also need to buy their own equipment. A very few get some help from USBA for specific race series, but that only covers part of their expense. And there is again basically in this country no recognition for success . On the other hand, European athletes and even the Canadians often receive support from the governments of the countries they represent, get free equipment through their clubs, and if they make the international events, their expenses are covered along with a really high level of support. For the cost of one F35 fighter, [$300M] the US could support the all of the US biathlon teams for years.

At the Open European Championships the Czech team had a trailer with a stone grinder to adjust the grind on the athletes skis for the conditions. The US had a $25 hand structure tool..However, at the YJrW’s the athletes have reported having fast skis with the help of a couple of German wax techs that USBA hires [and most of the athletes pay for]. By that is meant they weren’t dragging…and were probably better than the average.

So while the US athletes struggle to raise funds, find coaches, find good competitions etc, the European teams are striving to advance to the next level where the support and life style is even better. In the US, our athletes ponder whether it is worth the effort to make the next race series and pay out more…A top senior German Woman is likely making 6 or 7 figures from various sources. She has her own waxing crew…and I’m sure she doesn’t pay for her skis….

ok..done venting.

In the Junior Mens’ 10 km Sprint yesterday:
Winner Malinovskii Russia, 0,0 24:32
46th Cody Johnson, ME, 2,1 +3:02
49th Travis Cooper, AK 0,3 + 3:10
80th Cam Christiansen, MN 3,4 + 5:32
82nd, Peter Carroll, CA 2,1 + 5:51

In the Junior Women’s 7.5km Sprint yesterday
Winner Carrara Italy, 0,0 20:58
in 18th Siena Ellingson, MN, 0,1 + 1:39 back
in 65th Nina Armstrongm NY 2,3 + 6:11

In the Pursuit races this morning—only the top 60 from the Sprint races will advance. And they will start with the time back from the Sprint, which is not credited back to them.
Youth Men’s 10km Pursuit
Winner Claude , France, 1,1,0,2 29:22
30th Vasek Cervenka, MN, 1,1,1,2 started in 49th 3:37 back and finished + 3:52

Junior Men’s 12.5km
Winner Malinovskii – Russia, 0,1,2,1 32:39
55th Cody Johnson, ME, 2,1,2,4 started in 46th 3:03 back +7:19
59th Travis Cooper, AK 5,0,1,2 started in 49th 3:11 back +8:46

In the Junior Womens 10 k
Winner Vasnetcova, Russia, 0,0,0,0 31:49
in 41st Siena Ellingson, MN 1,2,1,3 started in 18th 1:38 back + 5:24

In the Youth Women’s 7.5km
Winner Lardschneider, Italy, 0,0,2,2 26:57
in 4th Chloe Levins, USA , VT, 2,0,0,0 started in 11th 1:40 back + 1:55
in 42nd Amanda Kautzer, MN, 1,0,2,1 started in 59th 4:43 back + 6:16
in 53rd Grace Gilliland, AK, 2,3,1,0 started in 55th 4:35 back + 8:32

Next up at the YJrWCh will be the relays with the Youth tomorrow in the Men’s 3 x 7.5 km at 4:00 am CST, the Women’s 3 x 6 km at 6:45. On Tues the Juniors race with the Men’s 4 x 7.5 at 4:00 am and the Women’s 3 x 6 at 7:00. That will conclude the World Championships. These final events will not be televised on Eurovision, but might show up on UTube eventually.

More in a couple of days..
Bill Meyer

US Biathlon in Europe #14

Update #14 – Good Morning All,

Since my last report, the US Youth and Juniors have participate in 4 races at Osrblie, Slovakia. The Juniors raced the Individual format yesterday and the Youth did the Sprint format today. As you might recall, the Individual for the Juniors has a 1 minute add-on penalty for misses and the shooting is PSPS for a total of 20 shots. The Sprint race is PS with a 150 meter penalty loop that typically takes about 25-30 sec to ski per missed shot.

In the Junior Men’s 15 km Individual event, the start was delayed 30 min while they ‘salted’ the course. That typically involves putting on a nitrogen based fertilizer which causes some snow to melt, but takes up heat in the process and thus freezes the remaining snowpack and dries it up a bit. Where it was salted, the athletes reported good skiing.

Cody Johnson., ME, shot well, 0,0,0,2 and finished in 50th place, 5:08 behind the winner, Pettersen of Norway who also missed his last 2 shots, and finished in 40:17. Travis Cooper did not start. Cam Christiansen, MN, had problems in the range, shooting 1,1,2,2 and finishing 8:10 back in 72nd; and Peter Carroll, CA, is just getting over jet lag and while shooting good in prone, was off in the standing, going 0,3,0 1 and finishing 10:36 back in 79th.

In Cam’s case, while his total 4 stage shooting time was ranked  47th—0:57 behind the fastest, he was only 11 sec slower than the winner. The rest of the time back was evenly divided between 4 min of shooting penalty and 4 min of ski time over the 15 km. The Junior fields are really strong on skis!!

In the Women’s 12.5km event, Siena Ellingson, MN, shot 0,1,2,1 and finished in  50th, 7:11 behind the Canadian winner, Bankes, who shot clean and finished in 37:22. Nina Armstrong, NY, also struggled in the range shooting 4,1,2,1 finishing in 65th, 14:15 behind the winner.

In todays Sprint races the finish place is doubly important as only the top 60 will advance to the Pursuit event on Sunday. Apparently the wind was pretty strong today and affected both prone and standing for most. In prone—a 15 mph side wind will blow the bullet from a center shot to the rim of the prone plate. Usually the wind will not change a lot from zero, but if it does in the hour or hour and a half, the athlete needs to make a sight adjustment at the time of shooting to compensate for the change before he/she shoots. In standing, the wind tends to buffet the shooter, causing difficulty in holding a sight picture through the shot and into follow-through, thus creating a lot of misses even though the standing target is about 2.5 times the diameter of the prone target. [115 mm standing vs 45 mm prone.]

In the Men’s 7.5km event: 

Vasek Cervenka, MN, struggled in the range today, shooting 4,2 finishing in 49th 3:27 behind the winner Claude of France who shot 1,1 and finished in 20:18.3. Vasek will advance to the Pursuit. Alex Kilby, AK, shot 1,2 finishing in 69th, 4:47 back, Jake Pearson, WY, shot 2,3 finishing in 76th, 5:07 back and Eli Nielsen, WA, shot 3,2 finishing in 82nd, 5:18 back.

In the Women’s 6 km event:

Chloe Levins, VT, shot well going 0,1 and finishing in 11th place, 1:40 behind the Italian winner, Lardschnieder who also had 1 miss and finished in 19:48.3. She was followed for the US by Grace Gilliland, AK, who shot 1,3 and finished in 55th, 4:35 back; Amanda Kautzer,MN,  who shot 3,3 and finished in 59th, 4:42 back barely making the cutoff for the Pursuit; and Helen Wilson, AK, who shot 2,2 and finished in 67th, 5:10 behind the winner.

Tomorrow, Saturday, brings the first European TV to these races. They are schedule to stream the 4:00 am Junior Men’s 10km Sprint and presumably the Junior Women’s 7.5km Sprint at 7:00 am. As of this writing, the start lists are not yet posted. Check IBU Data Center in a few hours for a list.

More later,
Bill Meyer

US Biathlon in Europe #13

Good Morning Everyone—or for those in Europe—close to Good Evening…

Before I forget, I really recommend you watch the two Mass Start races from Sunday, the finales of the Senior World Championships in Austria!! We only had 3 participating [Claire Egan was the 30th Woman after someone dropped out along with Susan Dunkley for the US Women and Lowell Bailey for the US Men]. But exciting races and another podium for the US!!

So this morning in the Youth and Junior Worlds, the Youth Men and Youth Women opened the competitions with 32 and 30 nations, respectively, participating in the Individual events with a 45 sec time penalty per miss. Fields of around 100 each.

In the Youth Men’s 12.5km Mass Start

Vasek Cervenka, Mt Itasca Biathlon,  went out with bib #20. He cleaned his first prone shooting and left the range in 1st of the 20 at that point in the race. He came back in 1st for standing, but missed 2, leaving the range in 7th. He was back in 6th place for his second prone, missed 2 more, and left in 9th. Missing 1 in the last shooting, he left the range in 9th again of the 20 and finished in 9th place temporarily. Later finishers with better times pushed him down to a final result of 16th, 4:19.5 behind the winner from Canada, who finished the race in 32:56.6 with clean shooting. 

He was followed by Jake Pearson, WY, in 49th with 4 misses finishing 7:45 back; Alex Kilby, AK, in 75th with 5 misses 9:51 back and Eli Nielsen WA, in 91st with 11 misses 14:36 back.

In the Youth Women’s 10 km Mass Start

Chloe Levins, VT, was the US top finisher, shooting 1,1,1,0, and finishing in 14th, 3:06 behind the French winner who missed 1 shot and finished in 34:00. Grace Gilliland, AK finished 46th shooting 1,1,1,1 and finishing 6:29 back; Amanda Kautzer, Twin Cites Biathlon, finished 53rd shooting 2,1,4,1 and finishing 7:14 back. Amanda struggled with her prone today, and missed one shot each time in standing. Helen Wilson, AK, was in 62nd place, missing 6 and finishing 9:01 back.

Start list for tomorrow; [4:00 CST am for men, 7:00 am for women—live results scoreboard only]

Junior Men- 15 km
Cam Christiansen MN  #21
Travis Cooper AK          #39
Cody Johnson ME         # 55
Peter Carrroll  CA          #72
there are 29 Nations with 87 total starters

Junior Women—12.5 km
Siena Ellingson, MN   #12
Nina Armstrong, NY,  #28
There are 27 Nations with 70 total starters

Bold= been in Europe for several weeks
Good Luck to all!!
Bill Meyer

US Biathlon in Europe #12  

Good Morning!

This will be a fairly short update on the US Youth and Junior Team preparing for the YJrCh in Brezno-Orsblie, Slovakia. A picture of the venue compliments of Amanda Kautzer is enclosed. Weather is expected to be warm and rainy as the races get started. 32 Nations have Youth Men in the race tomorrow and  30 Nations have Youth Women entered. 

The Youth [15,16,17 & 18 yrs old]  Individual races will begin at 4:00 am CST with the Y Men. These will not be televised but likely available to watch later on UTube. The Women will race at 7:00 am CST. You can watch the score board at http://biathlonresults.com/ –go to the IBU webpage and tap Data Center. the Start lists are now posted for tomorrow – see below. You can set up to see splits, the range, and the finishes as they happen. Pretty amazing. Keep in mind the penalty for missed shots in the Individual is 1 min of add-on so the order of running is not indicative of the upcoming finish order. The add-on penalty for the Youth Men and Women in the Individual race is only 45 sec rather than one minute. It is a full minute for the Juniors on Thurs. The electronics will, however, add the penalties as they shoot and miss, so the splits online are accurate as to times. [for example: a bib number that is moving up from behind might have a lot of misses—but the splits and finish times will be accurate including the penalties]. When you watch an Individual race on the TV stream, you will see someone they are watching miss during the 5 shots, and his/her time will jump 1 min immediately even before they finish shooting.

Shooting order in the Individual is PSPS. Carryover as this is the historically first format they used.

The Juniors [19, 20 yrs old]  –men and women,  race on Thurs. Similar schedule. It appears that the first live TV streaming will be the Junior Sprint races on Saturday. And then likely the Junior Pursuits on Sunday. You can check for live streaming and/or replays at http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu/ Otherwise bring up UTube and enter the name of the race and see what you get.

Jakob Ellingson was named to the US team to compete in the last two IBU Cup races based on his results in Vermont and Lake Placid over the past two weekends. So he is headed back to Europe.

Roster for tomorrow- bold indicates they have been in Europe for several weeks:
YM
Vasek Cervenaka, MN—#20
Jake Pearson, WY #47
Alex Kilbey   AK     #75
Eli Nelson  WA     #98
YW
Amanda Kautzer, MN  #23
Chloe Levins, VT  #32
Grace Gilliland, AK  #70
Helen Wilson, AK #88