Studebaker leads US Team with 25th at IBU Cup in NoveMesto
Studebaker 25th in Sprint
Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic – Site of last season’s European Biathlon Championships and already this season’s Tour de Ski the venue of Nove Mesto na Morave has been putting on high level competitions for some years now. This weekend is no different as the IBU Cup rolled into town. With over 3km of manmade snow along with some recently new fallen snow the tracks were in perfect condition. Coach James Upham commented, “I’ve been here three years in a row now and this is the best I’ve seen it. This course is one of the toughest around, so we’ll get a good look at who has good fitness right now.”
In the Women’s race Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID) hit 8 of 10 targets to lead the US women with a 25th placing in a time of 25:02. Studebaker rapids cleaned her prone stage after take a correction for the wind. Suffering her two misses in standing, Studebaker quickly skied her penalty loops and charged back on course trying to gain every second for a better placing in tomorrow’s Pursuit race. 12 seconds back of Studebaker was teammate Laura Spector (Lenox, MA) who hit 7 of 10 to gain 29th place in a time of 25:14. Tracy Barnes (Durango, CO) was one hit shy of cleaning her race today. After a clean prone stage, Barnes just missed the edge of her 3rd shot giving her 1 penalty on the day to place 31st with a time of 25:22. Carolyn Bramante (Duluth, MN) finished 36th with 4 penalties in a time of 25:56 and Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT) hit 6 of 10 to finish 40th. All five women qualified for Saturday’s Pursuit race. “This was a solid day for our ladies,” commented Coach Gary Colliander. “They all showed great poise on the range with the varying wind conditions and over the radio I could hear that they were attacking the uphills.” Austria’s Iris Vladhuber won with clean shooting in a time of 22:25, 2nd place went to Germany’s Romy Beer with 1 penalty and 2 seconds back, 3rd went to Natalia Sokolova or Russia with 3 penalties and 22 seconds back.
In the Men’s race Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) led the US Men with a 34th place. Currier turned in the 24th fastest ski time in a field of 120 racers. Missing two targets in prone, Currier went back to work on the course attacking the very difficult Men’s course. The Men’s course is one of the toughest on the biathlon and cross-country circuit; just a couple weeks ago two races for the Tour de Ski were held here. During his standing stage, Currier rapidly fired down 4 shots before missing just wide on his final shot. With 3 penalties on the day Currier finished in a time of 28:58. Mark Johnson (Grand Rapids, MN) hit 8 of 10 targets to finish 54th and Zach Hall (Nikiska, AK) like Johnson hit 8 of 10 to finish 61st. Currier and Johnson will race in the Pursuit race on Saturday; Hall just missed out as the top 60 qualify for the Pursuit. “Again the Men performed well, but we all agree we can get better and eventually a lot closer to the top,” Colliander commented. This is one of the toughest fields the IBU Cup circuit has seen in a long time. Our guys are showing they’ve made good progress this year, but we still have more work to do. I’m excited to see their enthusiasm already to take on this challenge.” Hans Martain Gjerdrem of Norway won in a time of 26:04 with 1 penalty followed by the German duo of Christoph Knie and Daniel Graf. Knie hit all 10 targets and Graf suffered 1 penalty in the standing stage leaving them 14.5 and 14.9 seconds off of Gjerdrem.