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Doherty second among US biathletes in 20K event

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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

SEAN DOHERTY talks to reporters after finishing the 20K individual event at Alpensia Biathlon Center last Thursday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 21, 2018
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — While it was a better performance than his Olympic opener, Conway's Sean Doherty knows there is still room for improvement after his second event, the 20K individual biathlon on Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Alpensia Biathlon Center in PyeongChang.

The 20K race features four different shooting stops, two standing and two prone and like on the opening night of competition, prone shooting was Doherty's downfall. He missed two targets on his first prone attempt and one on his second prone attempt, resulting in three penalties. He didn't miss a single target while standing.

When all was said and done, Doherty was second among the US athletes, finishing in 44th place overall in a time of 52:25.6, 4:21 behind winner Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway.

"Prone has continued to have a few problems for me," Doherty stated. "I worked on it the last few days. There was less wind (than the first race) but I still have things to work on."

The former Kennett star was pleased with the other two aspects of his race, as the skiing and the standing shooting both went well and he came away feeling better than he did after his first competition of the PyeongChang Games.

"I do feel better," he said. "I feel I skied well and I think it was a solid day for me. But my prone is not on the Olympic level."

Doherty did point out that the 20K is one of his favorite races no matter where he is competing.

"I like the long race, it gives you a chance to get in rhythm and there's more terrain to cover," he pointed out. "And usually the 4K loop skis the best of all the loops at most courses."

He admitted to having a "funny little stumble" on his first loop but said he felt he recovered from it well.

With his individual events behind him, Doherty was focusing on the relay events that were coming up in the second week of the Olympics.

"I'll get focused for the relays," he said. "I've got a few days to go back to the drawing board on the prone, a few days to wrap my head around it."

Doherty's time was second among US skiers, with Tim Burke just in front of him in 41st place and Lowell Bailey right behind in 51st place. Both Burke and Bailey skied faster than Doherty but both had one additional penalty. Leif Nordgren finished 66th overall to round out the US field.

The mixed relay took place after deadline Tuesday and the men's relay is the final biathlon event on the schedule, set for Friday, Feb. 23, 8:15 p.m. KT, 6:15 a.m. Eastern time.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or josh@salmonpress.news.

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