Biathlon Team Trials Underway
Alaskans secure top spots
After two training days at Kincaid Park biathletes are eager to start the competition. Today’s focus was on the sprint.
Their mantra is simple.” Have some fun, hit some targets, ski fast,” said Abe Meyerhofer from Wasilla.
For the handful of competitors from South Central Alaska Wednesday's race is a chance to show off their skills for the hometown crowd.
“It's really awesome, we're used traveling around, spending eight hour flights getting down there, so it's cool to have all these people in my home venue, to have that home advantage and just feel comfortable, come from home after sleeping and have a good nights rest,” said Anchorage biathlete Jake Prince.
The races started at noon Wednesday, with racers staggering their each starts every 30 seconds. It's a two-stage race and they only shoot twice.
Prince says he excels at the sprint, “I really like to get out there and ski hard. On the pursuit you have to slow yourself down a little bit. I prefer the sprints, so today is my race.”
Thirty-one competitors from around the country are hoping for a spot on the U.S. team, which will compete in the World Championships in Finland next year.
“It's the best of the best they have in the juniors so it should be exciting. It's a lot warmer than it was in '08. How those kids stay warm in spandex is beyond me, “ said Michael Milhoffin, the Chief of Range for the Trials.
Biathletes say this is what they’ve been training for, and try to stay in the moment.
“When you're skiing you don't want to think about shooting and when you're shooting, you don't want to think about skiing, you want to focus on what you're doing at each moment in the race. Try to stay focused on the technique of the race and not the outcome of the race,” said Prince. Every shooting error means penalty meters they have to ski, so who takes the lead is really hit or miss.
“It's about 20 seconds on your time and it's something you really don't want to have. One more target, which can be the difference between 1st and 5th place,” Prince explains.
Racers sprint to the finish and are happy to have the first day of competition out of the way.
Prince says after the race he felt, “tired obviously. I feel good, I feel comfortable. I don't feel super great or super bad, it was kind of a medium day. You got to have those. Not every day can be perfect.”
He ended up taking second in the Men’s Youth division.
For those who missed their shot during the sprint, they’ll have another chance to pursue perfection on Thursday when the pursuit competition kicks off.
For a complete list of today’s winners you can find a link here http://www.anchoragenordicski.com/Racing/Biathlon/index.htm .