The 2017 North American and Canadian Biathlon Championships were held as a single event last week in Canmore, Alberta, with sprints, individual races, pursuits, and relays taking place March 8-12.
On Day 1, Matt Neumann of British Columbia took the victory in the men’s 10-kilometer sprint, beating American Max Durtschi of US Biathlon by 18.9 seconds in 29:28.5 minutes. American Bill Bowler finished third (+46.5), and all three of the podium finishers shot 9-for-10, with Neumann and Durtschi missing a standing shot and Bowler missing one in prone.
In the junior men’s 10 k sprint, Pearce Hanna (Alberta) shot clean to win in 29:22.9, while Trevor Kiers (Ontario) finished 1:20.6 back in second with one penalty (0+1). Also shooting clean, Teo Sanchez (Quebec) finished third (+3:36).
Four junior women raced 7.5 k, with Alberta’s Darya Sepandj taking the win by 1:23.2 minutes in 26:40.8. Sepandj won despite four penalties (1+3), Emily Dickson of British Columbia placed second with two misses (1+1), and Caitlin Campbell (Prince Edward Island) finished third (+3:59.7) with six penalties (4+2).
Twenty women contested the youth women’s 6 k sprint, which Shilo Rousseau (Ontario) won by 1:44.8 in 19:55.0 with one penalty (1+0). Benita Peiffer (British Columbia) finished second with four penalties (2+2), and Gillian Gowling was third (+2:36) with one miss (0+1).
Thomas Hulsman (Alberta) shot clean in the youth men’s 7.5 k sprint to win in 21:52.4, 1:16.4 minutes ahead of Adam Runnalls, also of Alberta, in second place with six penalties (3+3). Quebec’s Youth World Champion Leo Grandbois finished third (+1:18) with five misses (3+2).
In the individual races on Thursday, March 9, Kurtis Wenzel (Alberta) raced to a 40.2-second win in the men’s 15 k, shooting four penalties (0+2+1+1) and finishing in 44:20.2. Neumann reached the podium for the second-straight day despite six misses (2+1+2+1), as did Bowler in third (+1:45.9) with six penalties as well (1+2+2+1).
André Boudreau (Prince Edward Island) won the junior men’s 12.5 k individual with 19-for-20 shooting (0+1+0+0). He finished in 40:04.5, nearly two minutes faster than anyone else. Charles Pepin (Quebec) placed second (+1:55.4), with five misses (1+1+1+2), and Kiers returned to the podium in third (+2:43.2) despite seven misses (2+1+2+2).
Hulsman raced to his second-straight win in the youth men’s 10 k, finishing with three penalties (1+1+1+0) in 32:11.2. British Columbia’s Bobby Kreitz placed second (+38.2) with four misses (2+2+0+0), and Grandbois repeated in third (+45.9) with five penalties (0+1+3+1).
Sepandj won her second-straight race as well in the junior women’s 10 k in 41:16.6 with eight penalties (1+3+2+2). Campbell placed second (+2:22.4) with seven misses (4+1+2+0) and Alberta’s Ashley Runnalls was third (+10:57.6) with 11 penalties (3+0+5+3).
Peiffer took the win in the youth women’s 7.5 k in 30:08.7 with five penalties (1+1+0+3). Rousseau finished 1:04.1 back in second place with six penalties (2+4+0+0), and Australia’s Gabrielle Hawkins reached the podium in third (+2:43.4) despite seven misses (1+3+2+1).
After a rest day, racers competed in pursuits of varying distances on Saturday, March 11. Alexandre Dupuis (Ontario) won the men’s 12.5 k pursuit by 39.1 seconds in 37:43 minutes after shooting four penalties (1+0+2+1). Durtschi finished second with seven misses (2+3+0+2), and Wenzel was third (+1:00.1) with three misses (1+1+0+1).
Hanna pulled out his second victory of the championships in the junior men’s 12.5 k, finishing 23.6 seconds ahead of Kiers in second with a winning time of 38:42.1. Hanna had six penalties (1+3+2+0), Kiers accumulated eighth (2+1+2+3), and Lucas Boudreau (Prince Edward Island) reached the podium in third (+3:59.2) with three penalties (1+1+0+1).
Adam Runnalls won the youth men’s 10 k pursuit by 1:09.7 over Hulsman, finishing first in 30:54.9. Runnalls shot five penalties (1+1+2+1), Hulsman had three (1+0+2+0), and Alberta swept the podium with Sergey Bochkarnikov in third (+1:14) with four misses (0+1+0+3).
Dickson continued to ascend up the podium in the junior women’s category, winning the 10 k pursuit in 36:52.5 with four misses (1+0+2+1). Sepandj finished 1:12.4 back in second place with eight penalties (2+2+2+2), and Campbell was third (+6:02.2) with 10 misses (4+2+3+1).
Rousseau notched her second win of the week in the youth women’s 7.5 k pursuit, which she took by 43.3 seconds over Peiffer in 28:31.7. Rousseau had four misses (1+1+0+2), Peiffer missed five (0+0+3+2), and Alberta’s Anna Sellers finished 2:48.2 back in third with four penalties (1+0+1+2).
Sunday, the final day of the championships, was co-ed relay day. The men and women teamed up in the senior category for a 3 x 6 k mixed relay, which Alberta 2’s Wenzel, Zina Kocher and Tyson Smith won in 56:08.2. Both Wenzel and Smith shot clean, and Kocher had a miss in each stage (1+1). Ontario placed second (+42.1) with Kiers, Dupuis and Erin Yungblut. After Kiers had three prone misses, Dupuis and Yungblut shot clean. Alberta 1 finished third (+1:45.7) with Matt Strum, Jessica Paterson and Nate Gerwin tallying just two misses on Strum’s first leg.
In the junior 3 x 6 k relay, Alberta 1’s Hanna, Sepandj and Chad Berling won by 46.5 seconds in 57:34.8. Hanna and Berling cleaned while Sepandj missed three (2+1). British Columbia took second with Angus Tweedie, Dickson and Jarod Algra tallying just two misses on Dickson’s second leg, and PEI’s Team Spud was third (+1:06) with Lucas Boudreau, Campbell and Andre Boudreau all shooting clean.
British Columbia raced to the win in the youth 3 x 6 k with Logan Sherba, Peiffer and Kreitz, all of which cleaned, in 56:57.7. Ontario 1 was second (+30.5) with Olivier Gervais, Rousseau and Tobias Quinn shooting clean as well, and Alberta 1 bested three other Alberta teams for third place (+3:30.8) with Hulsman, Sellers and Adam Runnalls combining for six misses.