Taking advantage of the summer daylight -- with the sun appearing as a sunset just below the horizon in the North over Russia at 1:30 am in Fairbanks and still light enough to read -- the Fairbanks and Anchorage Biathlon Clubs hosted MNBiathlon Coach Bill Meyer for consecutive training camps in each community.
In Fairbanks, Coaches Kathy Bue and Bert Boyer rounded up 8 athletes to participate in the 2 and 1/2 day camp. With classroom work at the Birch Hill ski area facilities, and shooting at the adjacent military range, participants quickly gained skills in basic biathlon shooting, range procedure, and the strategies of competing head to head in a variety of games, drills and races. In addition, most participants got a chance to spend some quality time on the CURT shooting simulator with Bill.
Coaches Boyer and Bue with Hannah Boyer in Fairbanks
Joe Bue approaches the firing line in Fairbanks
On Friday, arriving in Anchorage in time to attend an organization meeting with the US Youth and Junior World Team Trials race committee, work progressed on housing, food, transportation, course layouts, stadium layouts and final construction details on the new 30 point range facility in Kincaid Park adjacent to the international airport.
Range area adjacent to the airport in Kincaid Park as plane landed
On Saturday morning 24 shooters and additional assorted parents, plus Coaches Joel Hubbard, Rick McClure and Chris Tomsen gathered with Meyer in the post WWII concrete Nike missile bunker at Kincaid Park for classroom work and dryfiring. Progressing in the afternoon to the old 22 pt range, athletes young and more elderly applied their newfound or refreshed skills with drills and games incorporating the elements of biathlon shooting.
Kelsey Boyer in proneOn Saturday evening a Level One Officials clinic was held with 10 participants going over race organizations, rules, problems to be anticipated, and finally building a flow chart of activities needed before the early Dec races to be held in Anchorage prior to the Trials races between Christmas and New Years.
All day Sunday and Monday morning saw more shooting drills and the introduction of roller ski drills with rifles on the paved firing line and loops. Sunday evening and Tues afternoon were dedicated to those who wanted to try out the CURT simulator.
Additional meetings were held on Monday pm looking at the new range and the likely competition trails for the Trials races that are being selected from the many alternatives of hilly trails - both lighted and unlighted adjacent to the new range facility which will have a lighted arena and targets. Ultimately snowmaking and a paved roller ski training loop will be installed there as well.
Monday evening was race night with a roller ski or run biathlon event. Don Haering of Anchorage stayed in front for most of the race, with several strong contenders breaking a pole or tip off a pole and falling back. Sarah Cresap won the womens event and narrowly edged Jasmine Neeno who cleaned both a prone and standing stage in the 4 shooting stage race event.
Wayne McClure picking up bibOn Tues additional intense training was done with the older junior athletes, most of whom will participate in the Trials races in Anchorage in December. A number of the AK athletes will be flying this next week to Jericho VT to partake in the Summer Festival there.