Liberty Bell High School junior biathlete and newly-minted Washington National Guard private Elise Putnam gets some time in on a biathlon practice range in Alaska in preparation for the National Guard Biathlon Championships in Jericho, Vt., later this week. Putnam won the Junior Women’s Pursuit and Sprint races at the National Guard’s Western Region finals last January to qualify for the championships. Photo courtesy Washington National Guard

Liberty Bell High School junior biathlete and newly-minted Washington National Guard private Elise Putnam gets some time in on a biathlon practice range in Alaska in preparation for the National Guard Biathlon Championships in Jericho, Vt., later this week. Putnam won the Junior Women’s Pursuit and Sprint races at the National Guard’s Western Region finals last January to qualify for the championships. Photo courtesy Washington National Guard

Liberty Bell High School junior Elise Putnam, who will be competing in the National Guard Biathlon Championships in Jericho, Vt., later this week, recently enlisted in the Washington National Guard.

Following enlistment, Private Putnam joined the Washington National Guard Biathlon Team in Alaska for the Western Region Finals, where she placed first in both the Junior Women’s Pursuit Race and Junior Women’s Sprint Race. The wins earned Putnam a spot in the upcoming National Guard Championships, where she will be competing against other guardsmen from across the country.

Putnam joined the National Guard as a small arms repair specialist and is scheduled to enter basic training in June of this year. Her potential as a junior athlete led her to the National Guard World Class Athlete Program, where she is currently in the Split Training Option that allowed her to join the National Guard while still in high school.

Upon completion of basic training and advanced infantry training, Putnam will continue to represent the National Guard as an athlete, and may join a state unit in the future as well.

Putnam also stepped up and assisted new biathletes from the Washington National Guard by demonstrating shooting and cross country techniques, according to Capt. Joseph Siemandel, state public affairs officer for the Washington National Guard.

“She maintains a positive attitude and continues to excel in this demanding sport,” Siemandel said. “She, like many from the region, has the goal of making the U.S. Olympic team in the future.”

Putnam stepped up to help new biathletes. Photo courtesy Washington National Guard

Putnam stepped up to help new biathletes from the Washington National Guard. Photo courtesy Washington National Guard