Coleraine, MN, December 28. Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake, MN) left his nearest competitor over one minute behind today as he won the Junior Men’s 10K Sprint in the first day of competition at Youth/Junior World Championships Trials.
Roberts, a pre-qualifier for the 2008 Youth and Junior Biathlon World Championships, next month today reconfirmed his status as the top US junior biathlete. He and second place finisher Mark Johnson (Grand Rapids, MN) each had a single prone penalty, but Roberts’ 29:29 time left Johnson 1:04 behind. National Junior Coach Vladimir Cervenka summed up Roberts’ performance, “No one can touch Wynn right now. He is skiing much faster than all of the other boys.”
Third went to Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) of the Maine Winter Sports Center, 1:22 back with four penalties. MWSC Coach Gary Colliander commented, “Russell is coming back from some sickness earlier in the month and is just getting back some of his ski speed.” Fourth in the junior division went to another MWSC athlete, Newt Rogers (Fort Kent, ME) 2:30 back with five penalties.
MWSC athlete Meagan Toussaint (Madawaska, ME) topped local favorite Brynden Manbeck (Grand Rapids, MN) of Mount Itasca Biathlon in a close battle for the Junior Women’s Sprint title. Both had three penalties, with Toussaint winning in 27:11, 24 seconds ahead of Manbeck.
Like Roberts, Leif Nordgren (Marine-on-St. Croix, MN), and a pre-qualifier for the Junior World Championships won today’s Youth Sprint. Nordgren, who had four penalties, covered the 7.5K in 23:23, just 11 seconds ahead of 15-year-old Raleigh Goessling (Duluth, MN), who had three misses on the shooting range. Grabbing third place was another 15-year-old, Nick Michaud (Fort Kent, ME), who shot clean in prone and had just two standing penalties in his first official biathlon competition, according to Colliander. He finished 2:09 behind Nordgren. Fourth went to Preston Butler, with five penalties, 20 seconds behind Michaud.
The Youth Women’s 6K was one of the closest competitions of the day, with the top three all recording three penalties and just 44 seconds separating second from fourth places. MWSC’s Hilary McNamee (Fort Fairfield, ME) won the division in 23:03 over Addie Byrne (Bovey, MN), 58 seconds back. Grace Boutot (Fort Kent, ME) finished just 31 seconds behind Byrne while fourth went to Sarah Tegeler (Alaska), with four penalties, another 13 seconds back.
Coach Cervenka was pleased with the first day of competition. “The conditions today were fair for everyone, with no wind and about 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The courses here are tough, but everyone did a good job. I thought the shooting overall was very good, so that is encouraging.”