Mt Itasca to Host the US Biathlon World Team Trials
Mt Itasca will be the host for 2010 US Biathlon World Team Trials in December. Mt Itasca has hosted numerous Jr and Senior World Team Trials as well as the North American Championships and US National Championship events since it opened in 2000. The 3.3km snowmaking loop, 30 point biathlon range, tough terrain, spectator friendly stadium and waxing facilities have made it a superb venue for major biathlon and cross country events.
This years event will start with Senior Team Trials on Dec 12-22, and will include 5 races. These races will be used to select a team of 3 men and 3 women to compete at the IBU Cup in Altenberg, Germany in early January. The IBU Cup will be used as the final qualification series for selection of the US Biathlon Olympic Team. The athletes qualifying in the Mt Itasca races will compete against the US athletes who had been competing at the December World Cup. The final Olympic team size will be 5 men and 5 women.
A number of Minnesota athletes are looking to take advantage of the home course. These athletes include Carolyn Bramante (Duluth) who was a 2006 Olympian, and also a member of the 2007 and 2008 World Championship teams. On the men’s side, Wynn Roberts (Battle Lake) and Leif Nordgren (Marine on St Croix) both competed in their first World Cups last season and are training hard in preparation for the Trials. Kevin Patzoldt (Grand Rapids) was on the verge of qualification for international teams last year and looks to take advantage of his home course knowledge. Kevin’s father Ken Patzoldt is the head groomer and snow maker at Mt Itasca, and Kevin himself has a plenty of sweat equity invested at Mt Itasca. 2002 Olympian Dan Campbell of Hastings, MN made a return to high level competition last season, missing Europa Cup qualification by one position.
The Junior/Youth World Team Trials will run Dec 19, 20, 22. The three races will be used to select the Junior (age 19-20) and Youth (18 and under) teams to the World Junior Championships which will be held in Solleftea, Sweden in late January. At last years World Junior Championship in Canmore, Alberta, Grace Boutot (Presque Isle, Maine) and Addie Byrne (Grand Rapids, MN) placed 2nd and 6th respectively in the 10km Individual. They are both looking to improve on those results this year.
Junior National Team Coach Vladimir Cervenka lives in Grand Rapids and bases his training at Mt Itasca. “Its really exciting to have the World Team trials for both seniors and juniors at Mt Itasca. In an Olympic year, the quality of the racing field is very high. There are a number of local athletes like Wynn, Leif, Addie and Kevin who have grown up racing at Mt Itasca. This will be their chance to really shine at their home course. Mt Itasca has some very tough climbs and technical descents. It will definitely break up the field.”
Snowmaking will commence at Mt Itasca as soon as the temperature get cold enough in mid- November. Plans are to have 1.5km loop open for the season opening race, Minnesota Cup # 1, on the weekend of Dec 5, 6. For more information regarding the World Team Trials and Minnesota Cup events, go to www.biathlon.teamusa.org, or download the information below.
2010 Senior Team and Junior Team Trials Invitation (updated Dec 2, 2009)
2010 World Trials Mt Itasca -(pdf version)