Biathletes train in Utah

15 years ago

    SOLDIER HOLLOW, UTAH – The Maine Winter Sports Center Biathlon Team recently finished a three-week stretch of training in Utah.
    Throughout most of the month of October, the team, made up of Russell Currier of Stockholm, Megan Toussaint of Madawaska, BethAnn Chamberlain of Caribou, Hilary McNamee of Fort Fairfield  and Grace Boutot of Fort Kent, lived and trained around the 2002 Winter Olympics venue, along with members from the various national teams.

    Training during the first week, which featured heavy snowfall in and around the venue, focused more on easier volume so the athletes could acclimate to the high altitudes of over 6,000 feet.
    The coaches coordinated their plans so that everyone is at the range together creating a competitive atmosphere, while still being able to take care of each athletes individual needs. 
    The middle week included three separate time trials on Oct. 16, 18 and 19. They acted as a measurement for both the athletes and staff to assess each athletes progression.
    For the women, these races helped select the final two spots for the December World Cup Team. New this year was the use of matched skis. Each athlete raced on the same brand of skis that had been run through a speed trap to make sure they were all within a similar speed.
    On the first day, Chamberlain led the MWSC team by finishing a strong seventh with four penalties, two each in her shooting bouts. “BethAnn skied very well and her misses were close,” said coach Gary Colliander.
    McNamee was 10th with one penalty, Boutot 11th with four penalties and Toussaint 12th with four penalties.
    Currier, like Chamberlain, also placed seventh. He had two penalties while “showing really good composure in the range and looking very good in the skiing,” Colliander said, noting Currier had been fighting a cold and his goal was to “work on his technique and rythym in the range.”
    Day two of racing brought perfect fall conditions similar to the first day of time trials. Chamberlain had much better results on the shooting range, cleaning her prone stage and missing just one target on the second trip to finish third overall in 24:41. Tracy Barnes-Colliander and Laura Spector took the top two positions.
    Boutot placed 10th, Toussaint 11th and McNamee 12th, all with one penalty.
    “It was good to see the four girls hit 90 percent,” coach Colliander said. “They have all trained hard over the past week.”
    In the men’s race, Currier was 12th with six penalties. “Russell’s strength is the uphills, so today he was trying to go faster on the flats and rolling parts of the course,” Colliander said.
    “He has looked very good all week and is constantly improving his technique. His misses in standing were so close and such a tight group.”
    The final time trial saw Boutot lead the women’s contingent by placing sixth with four penalties. Chamberlain finished seventh and McNamee ninth, each with eight misses. Lanny Barnes, Denise Teela and Haley Johnston made up the top three.
    Currier struggled on the range in the men’s event, missing 10 to place 11th overall. Lowell Bailey won with six penalties and a time of 41:09 ahead of Jeremy Teela and Kevin Patzoldt.  


ImageContributed photo 

    GRACE BOUTOT of Fort Kent is all smiles after completing a training session at Soldier Valley, Utah earlier this fall. Boutot was one of five MWSC athletes who ventured out west for this event.