The Methow Valley was well represented at the recent U.S. Biathlon National Championships in West Yellowstone, Montana.
Coach Betsy Smith led the Methow Valley Biathlon team with athletes competing in several divisions at the March 26-28 competition.
The race format was Sprint in all categories on Friday, Pursuit in all categories on Saturday, and Super Sprint in all categories (except para-athletes) on Sunday.
Aidan Sands of Mazama, who is 12, “raced up” one age group in order to compete in the U15 category (the largest field at the event with 21 competitors) and held his own against the older biathletes. Sands finished 5th in Friday’s 4.5K Sprint, 5th in Saturday’s 5K Pursuit, along with a top shooter award, and wrapped up Sunday’s 3K Super Sprint with a strong 4th-place finish.
Scott Waichler and Sabina Arnold of Winthrop raced in the Veteran Men and Veteran Women categories, respectively. Waichler claimed 1st place in both the Friday and Saturday races, along with 4th place in Sunday’s Super Sprint. Arnold finished 3rd on Friday and Saturday, followed by 2nd-place finish on Sunday.
Kelsey Dickinson — a Liberty Bell High School graduate and member of Methow Valley Biathlon, and current U.S. National and U.S. World Cup team member — had a stellar weekend, taking 2nd place in all three races.
Liberty Bell senior Alex Tareski of Mazama, racing in the U19 category, finished 14th on Friday in the Sprint, and finished 16th on Saturday and 12th on Sunday.
Smith has been working with two para-athletes this fall and winter to help prepare them for the nationals. Erin Martin and Heather Glottalize both competed in a field of four in Friday’s Sprint and Saturday’s Pursuit races. Martin turned in back-to-back 2nd-place finishes, while Glottalize finished 3rd both days.