Well, Trials are behind us! It was a pretty brutal experience between the altitude, heavy snow and a lot—a whole lot of wind on some days! The Midwest group had 14 athletes including Emily Broderson racing in the Masters class. Of those with MN connections, we placed 4 of the 17 now named to the US Teams!! In order of success:
Emma Stertz—top Junior woman
Cheresa Bouley—2nd Junior woman
Matej Cervenka– 4th Youth man
Alexandria Rud– 4th Youth woman—Alexandria is a dual citizen from Norway with family connections in MN! She has raced with our group twice now.
Unfortunately, it takes a number of weeks at high altitude for the bodies to adjust, produce more red blood cells, and to allow full performances! As student/athletes, that is pretty much an impossibility for those of us living around 1200 feet above sea level when we have to race at 5900 feet!! Most of our athletes did improve as the race series progressed..and all certainly felt better! However, the Youth and Junior World Championships will be held this year at the same venue in Utah, so picking a team that can have success there was both important and an early opportunity to see and experience the same venue as those races in February!!
So while our skiing suffered, especially the first days, we again did very well on the shooting side. There were a total of 59 Youth and Juniors doing the 3 races—or a total of 3 x 59= 177 “individual races”. Of all those, 32 had ‘races’ shooting 80% or better—13 of them were our athletes. Only 14 shot a race 90% or better—and we had 6 of those. And only 3 had clean races, and we had 2 of those: Kaisa and Saylor both shot a clean race!!!!
To give you an idea of the conditions during the long 10km pursuit race—only 2 of the 59 shot 80% or better. It was nasty windy!!!
I think we can all thank Jeff Bosek for passing on his expertise on the ranges over the past 3 yrs—Kaisa has now cleaned 3 races in Soldier Hollow alone… still looking for that clean 4 stage race yet!!
So of the above three MN athletes and plus Amanda Kautzer, who is headed for the IBU events in Europe, with an eye on the last spots on the Olympic team—only Emma Stertz qualified for any financial help and that is for Worlds in the US, the European trip is self pay. Matej qualified just for the Utah events on a self pay basis. Cheresa and Amanda are totally on a self pay basis. With that in mind, if anyone wants to donate to help fund their expenses, Minnesota Biathlon is a 501c3 corporation and your donation is tax deductable. If you prefer to designate a recipient, the donation can go directly to that athlete, if not, then it will be divided equally between Emma, Cheresa, Matej and Amanda.
For this coming week—most have races next weekend—so should concentrate on easy distance skiing. Coming up on the 15th/16th weekend are the next Regional races –down in Middleton [Madison] WI. Mark Torresani indicates conditions should be good and the invitation will be forthcoming early this week!! And the 29th/30th will be Regionals in Elk River!
So enjoy the snow, keep racing, and for sure, enjoy the Journey!
Bill Meyer, Coach