This past weekend, Jericho was abuzz with the USBA Summer Biathlon Championships. Serving as one of the first stops on the route to an Olympic team this winter, all of the country’s (and many of Canada’s) best biathletes were in attendance.
Most of the athletes end up staying in the barracks facilities at the Range, which are notoriously cramped, dull, and bland. In a nice twist of convenience, however, Coach Adam and Coach Liam are renting a house right outside the back gate to the Range. What’s more, this house feature a basement ski workshop abutting a bunk bed, futon, carpeting, and shelf storage. Obviously it doesn’t take a few ski coaches long to identify this as the “MNC Athlete Housing” and open it up to guests.
This option started off with some high-profile candidates, beginning with soon-to-be-SLU skier and friend-of-the-Pugs Tim Cunningham. Later in the week, we stepped it up to the National level, hosting US Biathlon Team members Paul Schommer and Jake Brown. The biathletes were eager to get out of the barracks in prep for their races, and of course it helps that Liam knew them both from his days in the Midwest.
It was great to sit back and chat with the guys between races back at the house. Despite World Cup and Olympic selection criteria on the line, both Jake and Paul were really friendly and if they were tense, they did a good job not showing it. Liam and I were both a little paranoid that something would go wrong like a fire alarm getting set off or a noisy neighbor ruining someones Olympic chances, but luckily all was well in the house. We analyzed race video, talked about the state of US skiing and Biathlon, and of course had an impromptu roundtable discussion of who the most “savage” nordic skiers are out there. Wouldn’t you know, the biathletes are all about analyzing hip position and engagement right now too, go figure!
Although Jake didn’t have quite the weekend he was hoping for, he still stayed positive and it sounds like he’s made a ton of progress in a sport he’s relatively new in. Paul had an outstanding weekend, especially in Saturday’s mass start where he raced to 4th overall behind World Silver Medalist Nathan Smith (Canada), World Champion Lowell Bailey, and World Silver Medalist Tim Burke. When the only guys that beat you are World Champs medalists it’s a pretty great result I’d say: plus, since they scored an American podium Paul got to be up there with only Lowell and Tim ahead of him.
Not to be outdone, Tim Cunningham laid down the heat in the Youth races. He’s been doing biathlon for about a week, and was third on the first day despite many more penalties than the two ahead of him. On Sunday, he didn’t even give the competition a chance as he shot consistently and smoked the field by almost a minute and a half!
MNC was also out in force with Eliza, Marika, and Tim Cobb. Eliza skied really well Saturday, and Marika had a great pursuit on Sunday highlighted by cleaning the final standing stage to much fanfare from the crowd. Timmy struggled with his shooting so despite skiing smoother than I have ever seen, a bit too much of that skiing was around the penalty loop for his liking on Sunday. He still showed that he is training well and is a threat for the World Junior team this winter by being the 3rd American on Saturday!
A big thanks to EABC for putting on such fun and well-run races. Many MNC skiers came out to watch on Saturday (having practice scheduled at the Range right after didn’t hurt) and we’ve got lots of video to look at and compare to our own recent timetrial on similar courses…you can check some of the footage out below. Thanks again to Tim, Jake, and Paul for spending time with us, and best of luck this season!
To learn more about Paul and Jake, I highly recommend listening to their interviews with Kizkzone Media which you can find on THIS PAGE below is a bit of race footage from the past weekend! Jake and Paul are slightly “featured” since we were trying to capture a few key sections to review as a group.