Biathlete Sean Doherty sets personal best at Soldier Hollow World Cup
Men’s 12.5K Pursuit Results
1. Quentin Fillon Maillet, France, 30:55.8
2. Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, Norway, +25.9
3. Simon Desthieux, France, +47.3
4. Johannes Thingnes Boe, Norway, +1:37.7
5. Erik Lesser, Germany, +1:55.1
6. Benjamin Weger, Switzerland, +2:11.4
7. Alexander Loginov, Russia, +2:16.5
8. Christian Gow, Canada, 2:21.2
9. Benedikt Doll, Germany, +2:22.7.
10. Sean Doherty, USA, 2:22.8
Women’s 10K Pursuit Results
1. Denise Herrmann, Germany, 28:03.4
2. Franziska Hildebrand, Germany, +4.2
3. Kaisa Makarainen, Finland, +16.5
4. Marte Olsbu Roiseland, Norway, +27
5. Anastasiya Kumina, Slovakia, +27
6. Lisa Vittozzi, Italy, +55.6
8. Monika Hojnisz, Poland, +59.9
9. Kamila Zuk, Poland, +1:16
10. Celia Aymonier, France, +1:27.9
At the end of last season, the two senior-most members of the men’s U.S. Biathlon Team, Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey, called it quits.
That left Sean Doherty, 23, with some big shoes to fill.
Doherty is the youngest, and also the fastest member of the team, following in the footsteps of the U.S.’s trailblazers.
Bailey was the first American to win a World Championships, and Burke was the second and American men to medal in the Biathlon World Championship, and both had several World Cup medals.
But on Saturday, Doherty said he isn’t losing any sleep over his leading position, even if he was still competing in Junior World Championships in 2016. Back then, he earned his third consecutive medal at the event, becoming the first biathlete to three-peat on the podium.
“I just have to do my job,” he said Saturday at the IBU BMW Biathlon World Cup at Soldier Hollow after the 12.5K pursuit race. “The chips will fall as they may.”
And lately, the chips fell favorably for Doherty.
He took 14th in Friday’s sprint competition, then raced to a career best of 10th during Saturday’s pursuit race. His previous best at the World Cup level was a 13th-place finish in Ruhpolding, Germany, in January.
“This is awesome,” Doherty said of racing at Soldier Hollow. “The last lap; it was huge to have that home crowd, and I can’t thank them enough for giving me that extra push just to hang on.”
Doherty started in 14th place in the stagger-start race, setting out of the gate 1 minute, 4 seconds after the leader, Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen of Norway.
Doherty shot cleanly in the first prone shooting bout, but missed three in his second round, and dropped 10 positions to 24th by the time he had completed his two penalty laps.
He shot cleanly again from the next lap’s standing position, and cleanly in the fourth shooting bout to start his final lap around the 2.5K course in ninth.
“I was stoked, but I also knew I was running for my life,” Doherty said of his last lap. “There’s a lot of good guys right on your heels at any time in a pursuit like this, so I was motivated. … It was like ‘Now it’s really time to work.’”
He ended up racing Benedikt Doll of Germany down the final stretch, drawing a clamor of cheers and cowbell clanks from the crowd, though the German beat Doherty to the line by .1 seconds.
He said the track had softened throughout the day despite officials’ efforts to keep it firm with salt. Gusts of wind had also created tricky shooting conditions.
“When you race, you race yourself but you also race the elements too, and that was tough,” he said. “But (I was) really happy I was able to refocus, come back with a strong standing there, and finish off on a good note.”
After two strong performances at Soldier Hollow, Doherty said his goal for the season was to keep his momentum going.
“I’ve been progressing incrementally throughout the season, and I’m really psyched with this strong back-to-back (performance) here,” he said. “I just want to keep this momentum going for the World Champs and finish out strong. That would be huge.”
The World Championships are scheduled for March 7-17 in Östersund, Sweden.
Vetle Christiansen was the frontrunner going into the 12.5K pursuit on Saturday, having finished first in Friday’s sprint.
Christiansen was caught by Quentin Fillon Maillet of France in the third lap after Maillet hit all his targets, and jumped from fifth-place to second. The Frenchman ran away with the race in the final 2.5K lap, over which he gained the entirety of his 25.9-second lead over the Norwegian.
Maillet’s teammate, Simon Desthieux, finished third.
The Park City High School girls golf team took second in the Class 4A state championship tournament on Thursday. It was the team’s fifth consecutive time as runner-up.