FORT KENT, Maine — If Thursday’s sprint race at the U.S. and North American Biathlon Championships belonged to the shooters, Saturday’s pursuit race was all about the skiers.
Strong skiing put two of Thursday’s winners back on top of the podium.
Tracey Barnes-Colliander of the U.S. Biathlon Association took women’s gold after four rounds of shooting while Fort Kent’s Grace Boutot claimed first place for the junior women.
Both women won their age divisions at Thursday’s race.
On the men’s side it was USBA’s Wynn Roberts of Battle Creek, Minnesota, making a breakaway from Yarmouth’s Walt Shepard skiing for the Maine Winter Sports Center after the final round of shooting to claim men’s pursuit gold.
Maine Winter Sports Center alumna Barnes-Colliander, who shot clean in two rounds of shooting on Thursday, was 0-2-1-1 on the day at the pursuit. The numbers represent missed targets.
“I was a little disappointed with my shooting today,” Barnes-Colliander said. “I got a little lucky at the end of the race.”
Fellow U.S. Biathlon skier Annelies Cook was leading Barnes-Colliander going into the final round of shooting but missed two shots to Barnes-Colliander’s single penalty, giving her the edge needed to pull away on the course, finishing in 0:41:49.47, more than four seconds ahead of second-place finisher Claude Godbout of Quebec and Cook who took third in 0:41:54.80.
Roberts ended with three misses out of 20 shots and in a time of 0:43:45.27, more than 12 seconds ahead of Shepard who shot 0-2-1-0.
“I was halfway through the penalty loop after the final round of shooting and heard over the announcement that Walt [Shepard] had shot clean,” Roberts said. “I knew I had to pour it on.”
Shepard was back on course seconds ahead of Roberts who ended up catching him on the hill known as Mike’s Mountain.
“I just tried to hold on and ski smart,” Roberts said. “I did not want to waste too much energy worrying about anyone but myself.”
Boutot took the junior gold in a time of 0:44:23.06 ahead of Addie Byrne who finished with a time of 0:44:34.22.
Action resumes Sunday morning at the 10th Mountain Lodge at 10 a.m. with the mass start race.