Fort Kent ME, July 12. The Summer Biathlon National Championships/ World Team Trials open this evening at the 10th Mountain Ski Center.
Three days of competition and fun conducted by the 10th Mountain Ski club and the Maine Winter Sports Center starts with Sprint competitions for men and women at 6 PM today. Entrants include former members of the US Summer Biathlon World Championship Team members Doug Hoover (Williamsburg, PA) and Keith Woodward (Stowe, VT) as well as local competitors Nate Rogers (Fort Kent, ME) and Hilary McNamee (Fort Fairfield, ME), both of whom have competed in the World Youth and Junior Biathlon World Championships. Woodward is one of the most experienced summer Biathlon competitors in the US, having competed in the first US Championships in 1987 as well as winning National Titles numerous times. Competitors from five states and Ontario have traveled here for the running and rifle marksmanship competitions.
After tonight’s Sprints, the competitors will have a training and rest day as well as an opportunity to enjoy summer in Aroostook County on Friday. Competition resumes with Pursuit competitions on Saturday, followed by the Mass Start competitions on Sunday.In addition to the main competitions, there are two additional opportunities for anyone wanting to get a taste of biathlon competitions. .On Saturday, a Paintball Biathlon will involve short running distances followed by a chance for the competitors to test their skills with a paintball gun. Sunday’s second event will be a Golf Cart Biathlon, with teams of two covering 1.5K in the golf cart followed by a shooting bout.
This weekend’s Summer Biathlon National Championships will be the second of the year for Fort Kent, which hosted the North American and US National Championships last March. Athletes who meet the qualifying standards for the US Team will be offered the opportunity to compete in the Summer Biathlon World Championships in Otepaa,, Estonia in September.