CONWAY — Racing on home snow in a World Cup in the United States for the first time in three years was made all the more special for Sean Doherty as the Center Conway resident cracked the Top 10 for the first time with a 10th place result in the 12.5K pursuit at Soldier Hollow in Utah on Saturday.
“Top Ten! A big thanks to all who helped me get here,” Doherty posted on Twitter later Saturday.
“’I am very happy to crack that top-10 barrier today," Doherty said on U.S. Biathlon website. "Conditions were tough but we had great skis, which was huge."
Doherty was 14th in the 10K sprint on Friday, an starting 14th on Saturday in the pursuit worked his way up to a 10th place finish overall.
Conditions were tricky with the win on Friday, but Doherty, who was 13th just three weeks ago in the mass start at the Ruhpolding World Cup in Germany, found things to his liking. After missing his first shot from the prone position (laying on his stomach), he cleaned the remaining four from that position and then hit all five targets in standing.
"I am very happy with this race today," Doherty said on the U.S. Biathlon website. "The wind conditions were highly variable, but we had a good handle on the wind in the zero and then I just tried to be smooth."
Doherty finished 1:03 behind Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen of Norway, who won the sprint in 23:39 without a miss on the range.
On Saturday, according to U.S. Biathlon, “Doherty posted the fifth-fastest shooting time and sixth-best range time. After a clean opening prone stage, Doherty missed three targets in the second prone stage. Instead of collapsing, the seasoned 23-year-old regrouped and cleaned all 10 targets in standing to secure his first top-10 World Cup finish.”
"After that little mishap in prone, I remembered one of my favorite sayings...'all the greats have short memory'...and refocused for standing. A big thanks to the home crowd for the big push on the last lap,” Doherty said.
Quentin Fillon Maillet of France who was sixth after the sprint won the pursuit, in 30:55, erasing a 42-second deficit behind Christiansen, who wound up second, 25 seconds behind Maillet.
Doherty was 2:28 behind Maillet.
Being able to race at home, and race so well was pleasing to Doherty.
"To see all these people out here, loving biathlon is really special for me."