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Minnesota National Guard
National Guard Biathlon hosts friendly competition

Biathlon CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Despite unseasonably warmer temperatures, the National Guard Biathlon Championships in Minnesota are running successfully as they reach the midway point in the competition.

"Ideally, due to the weather, it's not the best of conditions," said Maj. Chris Ruggerio, coordinator for the National Guard Biathlon Program. "The team here in Minnesota has taken extraordinary steps to ensure the course is ready for our athletes."

Since the early '70s, the Biathlon Program has encouraged competitors within the Army and Air National Guard to take part in the sport that develops their professional career and personal growth. As an understanding between the adjutant generals of Vermont and Minnesota, the construction of two facilities and the mutual responsibility of the biathlon program would go forward to exemplify the fundamental skills this sport brings out in a service member.

"It requires both mental and physical resiliency, endurance and disciplines," continued Ruggerio.

With nearly 400 truckloads of snow hauled in from across Camp Ripley and countless hours of labored engineering as well as the grooming of the trails, the National Guard "Champs" kicked off at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning.

The first race consisted of the Men's 10K Sprint with preliminary results leading with Wynn Roberts of the Vermont National Guard 23:55.0, Civilian entry, Cam Christiansen 24:03.0, Jacob Delberg of the Minnesota National Guard 24:25.0, Duncan Douglas of the Rhode Island National Guard 25:50.0 and Blake Hillerson of the North Dakota National Guard 25:54.0.

The Women's 7.5K results included Civilian entry, Siena Ellingson 22:18.0, Barbara Blanke of the Utah National Guard 25:44.0, Jen MacGillivary of the Maine National Guard 30:58.0, Lauren Weber of the Ohio National Guard 31:00.0 and Shawna Thieschafer of the Minnesota National Guard 33:27.0.

The men's 12.5K and women's 10K pursuit races took place Monday at Camp Ripley. Preliminary results of the races include: Vermont's Robert Wynn 32:15.0, Jacob Dalberg of Minnesota 32:28.0, Jordan Mcelroy of Vermont 33:34.0, and Alaskan pair, Travis Cooper 34:58.0 and Tadhg Nakada 36:40.0.

Women's results Civilian Entry Siena Ellingson 33:23.0, Utah's Barbara Blanke 42:41.0 and Trish Rich 46:18.0, Jen MacGillivary of Maine 46:51.0, and Minnesota's Shawna Thieschafer 48:06.0.

119 participants took part in the first of four biathlon races held on Camp Ripley throughout the week. Following Tuesday break, the competitors will take part in the 10K Military Patrol Race, which includes four skiers competing together for a combined score. The race will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and is open to the public. The race on Thursday will also begin at 10 a.m. and consist of a four-part relay each skiing 7.5K.

The public as well as media are welcome to attend the races which are held on Camp Ripley. For directions to the event speak with the security personnel at the entry gate.

March 2, 2016
by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs

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