The “icing on the cake” at the camp was a final set of shooting tests on Saturday morning, followed by the first biathlon races of the new season. “We told the team to try to get personal bests today in the shooting tests and several did, so that is encouraging,” Nilsson added. In the 30 prone/30 standing competition, Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) prevailed over Kevin Patzoldt (Grand Rapids, MN) with a PB of 512 to Patzoldt’s 502. Teela’s near perfect standing shooting in one bout with four of five center shots in the same hole put big smiles on the faces of both coaches. Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO) topped her sister Lanny with a score of 493 to 480. Tracy also held the edge over her sister in both the 4 X 5-shot (10 prone/10 standing) and the 20 times 1 shot tests. The twins topped all of the men in the 20 times 1 shot test, as Tracy shot clean in 7:02 while Lanny had one penalty, finishing in an adjusted 7:09. Lowell Bailey Lake Placid, NY) was the top man with one penalty in 8:04, followed by Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) with one penalty in 8:04. Patzoldt and Burke each had one penalty in the 4 X 5 shot test, but Patzoldt edged Burke by 3 seconds on time, 1:59 to 2;02.
A steady rain made for slippery conditions during the Women’s 12.5K and Men’s 15K Individual competitions Saturday evening. Despite the soggy weather, all of the athletes were eager for the “first race” of the new season. Eleven men and seven women from the national and Development Teams as well as the National Guard Team competed over the hilly Ethan Allen rollerski tracks.
In the men’s competition, Tim Burke edged Lowell Bailey 46:29 to 46:34, with both recording four penalties. Kevin Patzoldt finished third, with five penalties in 51:16. National Junior Team athlete Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME), with nine penalties in 54: 30 tied for fourth with Jesse Downs of the National Guard. Asked how he felt at the finished, Burke had a one-word answer, “Tired!”
The top three women in the 12.5K outshot all of the men, further fueling on ongoing rivalry for team supremacy on the shooting range. Tracy Barnes was near perfect on the shooting range with but a single penalty coming in the first prone stage. She won in 38:14, despite crashing to the pavement less than two feet before the finish. Barnes came away unscathed, but a bit embarrassed by her fall. Lanny Barnes and Denise Teela (Anchorage, AK), both finished with three penalties, but Barnes finished second in 40:22 to Teela’s 42:42. Beth Ann Chamberlain (Duluth, MN) finished fourth with nine penalties in 49:40. Caitlin Compton (Warren, VT) in her first biathlon competition, finished sixth, with nine penalties in 50:30. She enthusiastically endorsed here new sport with a comment of, “I am hooked!” at the finish.
As the athletes and coaches prepared to head home, Nilsson commented on the camp and competitions. “Mikael and I were very pleased with the whole camp. We continue to be impressed with both the enthusiasm and the hard work of all of the athletes. Since we took over the team just one year ago, they have made good progress in both shooting and physical conditioning. Based on our shooting tests one year ago and then this weekend, we have seen improvements of 10-15% for everyone. At the same time, they have all trained more hours this spring than ever before and handled the extra work very well.”
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