Mainer Russell Currier took a huge step Saturday toward a berth on the U.S. biathlon team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, finishing 23rd in an IBU Cup event at Ridnuan, Italy.
Currier, a Stockholm native and 2006 graduate of Caribou High, was again the first U.S. finisher in a 20-kilometer race, with a time of 57 minutes, 54.8 seconds and four misses out of 20 targets. Sean Doherty of Center Conway, N.H., was the next American in 51st past.
It was the second time in three IBU Cup races that Currier was the top American finisher. In the other race, he was second.
Currier, 26, is one of four U.S. athletes competing for two remaining berths on the Olympic team. Each biathlete is allowed to count the three best results out of four IBU Cup races.
One race, a 10-kilometer sprint, remains and will be held Sunday. The Olympic team will be announced Monday. Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke and Leif Nordgren have already earned berths.
IN SNOWBOARD CROSS, the U.S. had its best finishes yet in Olympic qualifying events, but neither Seth Wescott nor Alex Tuttle, Maine’s hopefuls to make the team, were among the top finishers.
American Trevor Jacob won the World Cup race at Vallnord-Arcalis in Andorra, and three other U.S. racers finished in the top 10.
Tuttle, 23, from Stratton, finished 21st, his best finish in three Olympic qualifying events. Wescott, 37, from Carrabassett Valley, did not get out of the qualifying round in his first event of the season. The two-time defending Olympic gold medalist, Wescott missed the first two events while recovering from left knee surgery last April.
Olympic qualifying continues Sunday with another race at Vallnord-Arcalis.