Familiar Faces Claim Titles at North American and Canadian Biathlon Championships

biathalon canada

March 17, 2013, Whistler, BC (ISN) – It was a day of familiar faces making their way to the podium at the North American and Canadian Biathlon Championships on Sunday in Whistler, B.C.

Quebec’s Audrey Vaillancourt backed up her sprint victory with another win in the women’s 10-kilometre pursuit. Calgary’s Kurtis Wenzel took advantage of a 30 second penalty by Nathan Smith to win the men’s 12.5-kilometre pursuit.

Vaillancourt, who won three junior titles at the 2012 National Championships, fired to her second straight senior title on Sunday with the victory in the women’s 10-kilometre pursuit. The 21 year old missed four shots in as many rounds of shooting to post a winning time of 31:43.4.

“It was really exciting at the beginning of the race, and that’s what I love about the pursuit is you are with people all the time,” said Vaillancourt. “Our wax techs were pretty incredible today. I had really good skis today and yesterday. I don’t know how they did it.”

Julia Ransom, of Kelowna, B.C., finished well back in second +1:18.8 (0+0+2+1), while Megan Heinicke, of Prince George, B.C., held on for third place at +1:45.9 behind after a difficult day of shooting where she missed seven targets (1+0+5+1).

Quebec’s Rose-Marie Cote also won for the second straight day in the junior women’s category. Cote clocked a golden time of 34:18.5 (0+0+3+0) in the women’s 7.5-kilometre pursuit.

Sarah Beaudry, of Prince George, B.C., also wrapped up her second straight title in the youth women’s 7.5-kilometre pursuit race with a time of 28:23.5 (0+1+3+1).

Meanwhile, Kurtis Wenzel capitalized on a starting error by frontrunner, Nathan Smith of Calgary, to win the men’s 12.5-kilometre pursuit. The 22-year-old Wenzel had a stellar day on the range, shooting clean to post a winnig time of 32:16.1.

Starting with the lead based on Saturday’s sprint results, the 27-year-old Smith could not overcome a 30 second penalty for jumping the start gun, but maintained second position.

“I don’t think I have ever started a pursuit in first so it was a little different today,” said Smith. “I skied conservative the whole race, but after I missed my second shot in standing, I realized I had a 30 second penalty for starting to early and I upped the pace for the final lap.”

Raleigh Goessling, of the United States, missed one shot to finish 1:22.5 seconds behind Smith to grab the bronze medal.

Macx Davies, of Canmore, Alta., also won his second straight junior men’s title after posting a golden time of 33:32.5 in the junior men’s 12.5-kilometre event. Brett Davie won the youth men’s 10-kilometre pursuit after stopping the clock at 30:32.3 (1+0+2+1).

The North American and Canadian Biathlon Championships is the first event in the inaugural Sea to Sky Nordic Festival being held at Whistler Olympic Park. For the first time in Canadian history, the four Nordic disciplines’ championships will be carried out together at one venue. The spectacular winter season finale will brings together more than 800 athletes for two weeks of competition at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic venue.

Biathlon Canada is the governing body for biathlon in the country, and oversees the Canadian Championships, Eastern and Western Canadian Championships, and North American Cups held in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Millennium Geomatics Ltd., Apogée Sports, Kama, Roeckl Gloves, Lapua, USANA, and Adidas Eyewear – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Biathlon Canada’s mandate is to provide national level programs for the continuous development of biathlon athletes from the grassroots to the elite level. For more information on Biathlon Canada, please visit us at www.biathloncanada.ca on the Internet.

Complete Canadian Championship Results: www.zone4.ca