Schreiner, Nordyke Win Races, Berths
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) _ Three-time Olympic skier Curtis Schreiner of Day, N.Y., overcame near-zero cold and soft, new snow Thursday to win the men’s 10-kilometer title in the U.S. Biathlon Championships and earn a spot on the team heading to the biathlon World Championships.
Sub-zero cold forced officials to delay the start of the final championship races at Mount Van Hoevenberg for an hour. Despite a cloudless sky and bright sunshine, it was only 4 degrees when the men’s and women’s races were staged.
Six inches of new snow created a soft track for the skiers, who were competing for berths on the World Championships team Feb. 3-11 at Ruhpolding, Germany, and the World Junior Championships Feb. 26-March 3 at Kontiolahti, Finland.
Schreiner missed one shot from the standing position and finished in 33 minutes, 41.1 seconds. Duncan Douglas of Lake Placid, a medical student at Boston University and Schreiner’s teammate in the 1992 and ’94 Olympics, was second in 34:24.4 with two missed shots.
Chad Salmela of Duluth, Minn., was third with Robert Rosser of Jericho, Vt., fourth and Max Saenger of Lyme, N.H., fifth.
Debbie Nordyke of Bend, Ore., won the women’s 7.5K title, missing one shot and posting a time of 30:27.5. Cory Fritzel of Anchorage, Alaska, had two misses and was timed in 31:22.1 with Kara Hermanson-Salmela of Elk River, Minn., third.
``With the new snow, I’d estimate this 10K was about four minutes slower than our 10K last week (in the World Championships tryouts),″ said Schreiner, an Army National Guard lieutenant who won the tryout race, too. ``I was a little nervous because I figured there were still six or seven skiers who could make the team.
``But experience was important. I’d been here before, facing not just this bitter cold but this kind of pressure. I’m pleased to see the four guys who made the Worlds are all part of the National Guard’s World Class Athlete program; it shows the program is working.″
Douglas, who has juggled college studies with a new son, laughed, ``I’ve found the key: train only three or four hours during the tryouts.″
A skier’s three best results from the two tryouts and two U.S. championship races were used for team selections. Named to compete in the World Championships were Schreiner, Salmela, Robert Rosser of Jericho, Vt., and Dan Westover of Colchester, Vt., who won the 20K title Tuesday and one of the two tryout races. The women’s team is made up of Nordyke, Hermanson-Salmela, Kris Viljanen-Sebasteanski of Milford, N.H., who won a tryout race and the 15K championship event Tuesday, and 1994 Olympian Ntala Skinner of Sun Valley, Idaho.
Stacey Wooley of Lebanon, N.H., and Joan Smith of Honeoye Falls, N.Y., prequalified for the World Championships, based on World Cup results, and are training in Europe. Viljanen-Sebasteanski and Skinner skipped the 15K after clinching a spot with earlier results.
Named to the men’s World Junior championships team were Jay Hakkinen of Kasilof, Alaska; Jeremy Teela of Anchorage, Alaska; Brent Miller of Hackensack, Minn.; Andy Erickson of Hopkins, Minn.; and Grant Ernhart of Elk River, Minn. The women’s team includes Rachel Steer of Anchorage; Jenny Watkins of Warren, Vt.; Elise Hancock of Morrisville, Vt.; and Laura Anderson of Elk River.