3 Local Biathlon athletes give it their all in Anchorage competition

Three Casper Athletes, Katherine (Kit Kat) Gruner, Rylie Garner and Jake Pearson completed races in Anchorage Alaska Dec 27-30th. US Biathlon uses a 3 day trial as the team selection process for Youth/Junior World Championships which are Jan. 25-Feb 2, in Chele Gradistei, Romania. Team selection is determined by calculating the percentage back in the best 2 of 3 races for each athlete. Only the top 4 in the Youth category are chosen to represent Team USA at the Youth World Championships and top 2 are chosen to represent at the Youth Olympic Games. After 3 days of racing, 2 sprints and 1 pursuit, Casper Mountain Biathlon Athletes proved themselves to be contenders but came up shy on making the teams. Finals calculations ranked Katherine Gruner in 5th, and Rylie Garner 6th among the Youth Women and Jake Pearson 6th among the Youth Men. [image: _mg_0547.jpeg (1).jpg] *h/t Cathy Rosse / Pitchengine Communites* Conditions in Anchorage Alaska made this a very challenging team trial. Warm temps had race organizers questioning whether there would be enough snow and 20 – 35 mph winds forced wind delays and the possibility of a cancellation. Coach Rob Rosser from CMBC (Casper Mountain Biathlon Club) is extremely proud of Garner, Gruner and Pearson. “While they didn’t make the team, over the last year at training camps and other races they have proven they have what it takes. It just didn’t happen for them at the Team Trials under the extreme conditions. Another significant circumstance is that CMBC athletes have not had the ability to train in a home biathlon facility. That is about to change. The Casper Mountain Biathlon Center at McMurry Park is almost finished with Phase 1 construction. This means in the next couple of weeks, the facility will be open for regular training and racing. It really shows how talented they (Gruner, Garner and Pearson) are to have made it this far without a home training facility. The next twelve months will provide the environment for some major improvement now that they will have a range where they can ski and shoot. “All three athletes have 1 or 2 more years of eligibility to try out for the World Championship Team.” Results for Casper Athletes Dec 28th, 10 km Sprint (2 shooting stages) Gruner – 5th place – Youth Women Pearson – 7th place – Youth Men Garner – 10th place – Youth Women Dec 29th, 10 km Pursuit (4 shooting stages) Garner – 3rd place – Youth Women Pearson – 5th place – Youth Men Gruner – 8th place – Youth Women Dec 30th, 6km sprint (2 shooting stages) Garner 7th place Youth Women Jake 9th place Youth Men Gruner 12th place Youth Women Overall Youth Points Ranking (based on percentage back) Katherine Gruner 5th place Youth Women Rylie Garner 6th place Youth Women Jake Pearson 6th place Youth Men US Biathlon Team Selection Junior Women (Under 21) Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y./U.S. Biathlon X-Team) Siena Ellingson (Minnetonka, Minn./Loppet Nordic Racing) *Feature Photo: Cathy Rosser / Pitchengine Communities*