The Canadian National Biathlon Championships of 2014 opened with a little snow and a lot of wind. However, the three athletes representing Augustana and their home provinces/territories were looking forward to the competition kick off.
Reid Creasy from Camrose, Keely MacCulloch of Calgary, and Ryan Burlingame from Whitehorse are representing Augustana in Charlo, New Brunswick this year. Joining them is Augustana’s biathlon coach Lowell Niven, who was selected to coach for Team Alberta. 166 competitors descended upon the small New Brunswick venue, to race four out of the six days. The races started today with the challenging and fast paced Sprint event; a staggered-start race in which the athletes race the clock. The results of the Sprint race determine the starting positions for the Pursuit event on Thursday. During the Pursuit race everyone chases the leader and who ever crosses the finish line first takes the gold. On Saturday the races will resume with the Mixed Team-Relay. Finally on Sunday, the Championships close with a Mass-Start Race, where everyone in their category starts at the same time and the first competitor to cross the finish line wins. Aspirations for these nationals are high with Reid hoping to be near the top, Keely going for the podium and Ryan hoping to place top ten.
After the first day of races our athletes have come out strong, competing against Olympians and National team members. They held their own in the Sprint with Keely MacCulloch placing 4th behind two Olypians, Ryan Burlingame placing 7th behind the Sochi Olympians and Canadian National team, and Reid Creasy placing 16th out of 23 athletes. The biathletes are pleased with their placings and tomorrow during the Pursuit the starts will be staggered by five seconds for each athlete. That means Reid will be starting 1:20 behind the leader, Ryan will start 35 seconds behind the leader, and Keely will start only 20 seconds behind today’s first place finisher. This will give our athletes a chance to move up in the standings as they chase the leader to claim the gold.
Keely MacCulloch – Placed 4th in Pursuit, Sprint and Mass Start
Reid Creasy – Placed 12th in Mass Start, 13th in Sprint, 16th in Pursuit
Ryan Burlingame – Placed 7th in Sprint, 8th in Pursuit, 9th in Mass Start
Congratulations to our Vikings Athletes!