Audrey Vaillancourt celebrated back-to-back victories on Sunday (March 17) as she raced to the women's pursuit title at the North American/Canadian Biathlon Championships at Whistler Olympic Park.
Vaillancourt had already earned the sprint title when the event opened on Saturday (March 16), with those results used to seed starts in Sunday's pursuits.
The Quebecker won her 7.5-km sprint on Saturday in 21:35 while shooting perfectly at the range. Prince George's Megan Heinicke (23:07) and American Corrine Malcolm rounded out the podium.
In the 10km pursuit, Vaillancourt was in a tight battle again with Heinicke but pulled away on the third of four stops at the range when Heinicke missed all five of her shots from the standing position. Vaillancourt took the win with a time of 31:43. Heinicke (33:24) wound up third behind Julia Ransom (32:27).
"I didn't know she missed five — I just heard a couple misses and got out as quick as I could," said Vaillancourt, recalling when she opened up a lead over Heinicke. "It was really exciting, the beginning of the race, and that's what I love about pursuit — you're with people all the time.
"Our wax techs were pretty incredible today. I had really good skis today and yesterday — I don't know how they did it."
Nathan Smith completed Saturday's sprint (10 kilometres) in 25 minutes, 53 seconds to win by a full minute over Calgary's Kurtis Wentzel, while American athlete Bill Bowler placed third.
"It was wet out there. I was soaked when I crossed the finish, but the race organizers did a great job on the course," Smith said after the sprint win. "Even though a few of our World Cup guys are not here, I think it's good for guys like me and Kurtis to be here racing around the younger athletes that look up to us."
Smith appeared to hold off Wentzel for the pursuit title on Sunday, but was handed a 30-second penalty for jumping the start gun and was pushed back to the runner-up spot. Wentzel shot clean on the day to take the victory by seven seconds over Smith, while U.S. competitor Raleigh Goessling earned third spot.
Junior and youth races have been ongoing at Olympic Park through the weekend as well, with full results available at www.zone4.ca. Racers have a training day Monday (March 18) but will resume competition on Tuesday (March 19) with mass start/individual races.