Vt. hosts U.S. Biathlon rollerski championships rollerski championships

JERICHO, Vermont — More than 80 athletes will compete today and Sunday in the U.S. Biathlon Summer Rollerski Championships at Camp Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho.

The national championships are the first in a series of competitions that will determine who gets a spot on this year’s 2018 U.S. Olympic Biathlon team and starts on the World Cup circuit.

“This is an especially exciting year to be at Summer Nationals,” said Bernd Eisenbichler, Chief of Sport with the U.S. Biathlon Association. “You can see the whole community of biathletes, volunteers and spectators are feeding off of this Olympic energy and the success of an historic past season.”

This past winter, Susan Dunklee, of Barton, Vermont, brought home the first women’s biathlon World Championship medal in U.S. history with a silver medal win. The Dartmouth grad is the only woman pre-qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Fellow teammate and UVM graduate Lowell Bailey, of Lake Placid, won a gold medal at Worlds, and is the only pre-qualified male. Both Dunklee and Bailey will be racing this weekend.

Two competitions will be held today and Sunday. The public is encouraged to attend and spectate along the paved rollerski trails and at the 30-point shooting range each day. US Biathlon Association especially recommends coming to Sunday’s mass start race, where athletes start all at once in an exciting head-to-head competition.

Start times for the races are as follows:

Today — Sprint race start at 9 a.m., consisting of two shooting stages and 30-second interval start.

Sunday — Mass start begins at 9 a.m. and contains four shooting stages.

The entire U.S. women and men’s biathlon teams will compete in both races, as well as high-level development and junior athletes. Rising Vermont biathletes to watch for include national crosscountry ski champion Jennie Bender  of Johnson, Vermont and Chloe Levins, of Rutland, Vermont, who is a two-time member of the U.S. World Junior Team and current student at Middlebury College.