Here’s Who to Watch at the U.S. Biathlon National Championships This Weekend

This weekend, the best biathletes in the country will descend on Jericho for the biggest competition of the year on U.S. soil: the U.S. Biathlon National Championships.

Athletes from all over the country will compete fiercely for national titles on the National Guard Biathlon Team’s home course at the Ethan Allen Firing Range. Members of the National Guard team will compete alongside the entire U.S. Biathlon Team roster which boasts several Vermonters.

Olympians Susan Dunklee (33, Barton, Vt.) and Emily Dreissigacker (30, Morrisville, Vt.) will be competing this weekend, as will U.S. Biathlon team member Chloe Levins (20, Rutland, Vt.). Though he hails from Gilford, N.H., U.S. Biathlon Team member Alex Howe is a member of the University of Vermont’s class of 2012 and trains with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project.

Dunklee will be an athlete to watch this weekend. The Barton-born two-time Olympian made her debut at Sochi in 2014 and competed in PyeongChang in 2018. In between, she made history as the first American woman to ever win an individual medal at Biathlon Worlds in 2017, an accomplishment which guaranteed her place on the 2018 U.S. Olympic team.

Dunklee also took first place in the sprint category, first in the mass start and first in pursuit in the 2018 U.S. Biathlon National Championships in Park City, Utah last winter. In 2017, the last time the National Championships were held in Jericho, she took silver.

She took 3rd in the single mixed relay (with then-teammate and University of Vermont graduate Lowell Bailey) at the 2018 European Championships in Ridaun-Val Ridanna, Italy. She’s also a second-generation Olympian. Her dad, Stan Dunklee, competed in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics as a cross country skier. For more about Dunklee, see this story.

At the beginning of March, Dreissigacker, who trains with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, competed in the 2019 World Biathlon Championships in Ostersund, Sweden, where she took 9th in relay. She’s a Dartmouth graduate and all-American collegiate rower who came to the Craftsbury Green Racing project as a member of their rowing team. She’s been a member of the U.S. National Biathlon Team since 2017.

Last winter, Dreissigacker, who comes from a family of Olympians, made her Olympic debut at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

At 20, Levins is the youngest member of the U.S. National Team. She is a Middlebury graduate and rising star on the international circuit who took 10th in pursuit at the 2019 Junior World Championships in Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia in late January.

Dreisigacker, Egan, Dunklee and U.S. National teammate Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, C.O.) raced to the best women’s team relay result in history for the U.S. at a World Championships event in Ostersund, Sweden earlier this month. The crew took 9th place.

Other big names to watch this weekend include Clare Egan (31, Cape Elizabeth, M.E.), who podiumed last weekend at the final Biathlon World Cup event in Oslo, Norway.

“Clare Egan is one of the fastest skiers in the World Cup circuit right now,” says Danika Frisbie, sports program coordinator for U.S. Biathlon. “She had her best season ever this year, finishing in the top 20 overall internationally. I’d epect her to be dominant on the women’s side,” said Frisbie.

Egan finished 2nd in sprint, 2nd in pursuit and 2nd in mass start at the 2018 U.S. Biathlon National Championships in Park City, Utah. Egan also competed in the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang last winter. She also trains with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project.

World Championship team members Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, C.O.), Sean Doherty (North Conway, N.H.) and Jake Brown (Saint Paul, Minn.) will also compete in Jericho this weekend, alongside the full U.S. Biathlon Team.

“Keep an eye out for up-and-coming stars Joanne Reid and Sean Doherty,” says Frisbie. “Dougherty is young and had a solid season with top 20 finishes in the World Cup. On the men’s side, he is our next Olympic hopeful.”

Frisbie encouraged local and non-U.S. Biathlon team biathletes to compete. “Aside from being a celebration of the sport of biathlon in the United States, this event is a great opportunity for athletes who are just outside the U.S. National Team level to show up and perform well and get exposure.”

Citizens’ Race and Clinics

Looking to try biathlon? This is a great weekend to get out and learn. The Ethan Allen Biathlon Club will be hosting a 5K race for novice skiers. No experience is required and the event is open to anyone 14 and older. Bring your own skis and be sure to attend the mandatory safety clinic at 1 p.m. prior to the race’s 2 p.m. start.

New this year is the Girls with Guns clinic. From 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, girls ages 10 to 18 can learn to shoot and ski with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Registration for this event starts at 2:30 p.m.

The Race Schedule

The full event is free and open to the public. Just be prepared to show your I.D. at the gate to the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho and follow directions to the course from there.

The competition will include official training on Thursday morning, a Sprint race on Friday, Pursuit race on Saturday, and Mass Start race on Sunday (Seniors will do a Super Sprint Final).

Sprint Competition (Friday): 

Men (22-29): 10 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Women (22-29): 7.5 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Junior Men (19-21): 10 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Junior Women (19-21): 7.5 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Youth Men (17/18): 7.5 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Youth Women (17/18): 6 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop U17 (15/16)

Girls: 4.5 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop U17 (15/16)

Boys: 6 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop U15 (13/14)

Girls: 4.5 km, pp, 75 m penalty loop U15 (13/14)

Boys: 4.5 km, pp, 75 m penalty loop

Master Men (30-39): 7.5 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Master Men (40-49): 7.5 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Veteran Men (50-59): 7.5 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Men (60-69): 7.5 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Men II (70+): 6 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Master Women (30-39): 6 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Master Women (40-49): 6 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Veteran Women (50-59): 6 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Women (60-69): 6 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Women II (70+): 6 km, ps, 150 m penalty loop

 

Pursuit Competition (Saturday):

Men (22-29): 12.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Women (22-29): 10 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Junior Men (19-21): 12.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Junior Women (19-21): 10 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Youth Men (17/18): 10 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Youth Women (17/18): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

U17 (15/16) Girls: 5 km, ppss, 75 m penalty loop U17 (15/16)

Boys: 7.5 km, ppss, 75 m penalty loop

U15 (13/14) Girls: 5 km, pppp, 75 m penalty loop

U15 (13/14) Boys: 5 km, pppp, 75 m penalty loop

Master Men (30-39): 10 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Master Men (40-49): 10 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Veteran Men (50-59): 10 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Men (60-69): 10 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Men II (70+): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Master Women (30-39): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Master Women (40-49): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Veteran Women (50-59): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Women (60-69): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Women II (70+): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

 

Mass Start/Super Sprint Competition (Sunday):

Men (22-29): 5 km, ppss, 75 m penalty loop

Women (22-29): 5 km, ppss, 75 m penalty loop

Junior Men (19-21): 12.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Junior Women (19-21): 10 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Youth Men (17/18): 10 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Youth Women (17/18): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

U17 (15/16) Girls: 5 km, ppss, 75 m penalty loop

U17 (15/16) Boys: 7.5 km, ppss, 75 m penalty loop

U15 (13/14) Girls: 5 km, pppp, 75 m penalty loop

U15 (13/14) Boys: 5 km, pppp, 75 m penalty loop

Master Men (30-39): 12.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Master Men (40-49): 12.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Veteran Men (50-59): 12.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Men (60-69): 12.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Men II (70+): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Master Women (30-39): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Master Women (40-49): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Veteran Women (50-59): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Women (60-69): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

Sr. Veteran Women II (70+): 7.5 km, ppss, 150 m penalty loop

 

Schedule:

Friday, March 29, 2019 – Sprint

8:45-10 a.m.: Equipment Control open

9-9:45 a.m.: Zero (all classes)

10 a.m.: Sprint Competition 30 second interval, Men first Awards immediately following Final Results

Saturday, March 30, 2019 – Pursuit Competition

8:45-10a.m.: Equipment Control open

9-9:45 a.m.: Zero (all classes)

10 a.m.: Pursuit Competition 5 second interval, Women first Awards immediately following Final Results

6 p.m.: Banquet in the Walker Building

Sunday, March 31, 2019 – Mass Start/Super Sprint

8:45-10 a.m.: Equipment Control open

9-9:45 a.m.: Zero (all classes)

10 a.m.: Mass Start/Super Sprint Competition, Awards immediately following Final Results

Featured Photo Caption: The U.S. Biathlon National Championships come to Vermont this weekend, bringing Vermonter and Olympian Susan Dunklee back to her home state for competition. Photo courtesy U.S. Biathlon.

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