By Raleigh Goessling
It has been a busy summer for the GRP biathlon team. Three people joined the team, preparations for the season where undertaken in earnest, and athletes put their summer form to the test at the US Summer National Championships.
Jake Brown is originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota where he grew up skiing for Minnehaha High School and the Loppet Nordic Racing team. He went on to ski for both St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and Northern Michigan University. The highlight of his collegiate career was an All-American finish in the 10k freestyle at 2016 NCAA’s. After graduation, Brown began competing in the sport of biathlon. He raced on the 2017-2018 IBU Cup Team and is currently a member of the USBA Senior Men’s Development Team. Jake has a BA in Biology and credits towards a MA in Exercise Science.
Kelsey Dickinson is a native of Washington State and spent her early years in Winthrop, WA racing for the Methow Valley Ski Education Foundation. She took post-grad years with Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and Maine Winter Sports Center before attending college at St. Scholastica. She graduated this spring with a dual major in Philosophy and Natural Sciences. Dickinson qualified for NCAA’s three years while skiing at Scholastica, finishing 25th in the 15k freestyle in 2017. She has also competed many times at World Junior Championships for biathlon and on the IBU Cup
Raleigh Goessling is also a Minnesota native, growing up in Esko, MN. He raced for Minnesota Biathlon and then the Maine Winter Sports Center as a biathlete before attending University of New Hampshire (UNH). As a junior biathlete, he represented the US at World Junior Championships five times and was a member of the Junior European Championship team. While at UNH, Goessling qualified for NCAA’s twice and had four top 5 finishes in EISA races. His biathlon career highlights include five US Biathlon National Championship titles and a 2nd place in the sprint at 2017 IBU Cup Trials in Mt. Itasca.
With the full team at the Outdoor Center, summer training began in earnest. The cross country, biathlon and U23 summer athletes trained together throughout the summer, taking advantage of the strong training group in Craftsbury. Summer shooting training focuses on accuracy, range procedure and the first phase of shooting and skiing training. The biathlete’s ski training closely mirrors that of the cross-country team.
The highlight of the summer, for the biathlon team, is the annual US Summer National Championships. This year, the event was held in Jericho, Vermont on August 11th and 12th. The competitions are used as part of US Biathlon’s selection process for European Racing.
Summer Nationals kicked off on August 11th with a sprint race. In the Senior Women’s event, Susan Dunklee was the top GRP finisher placing 2nd. She was joined on the podium by Kelsey Dickinson in 3rd. Emily Dreissigacker placed 5th with only one standing miss. She was followed by Clare Egan in 7th, Hallie Grossman in 9th, and Kaitlynn Miller in 10th. In the Senior Men’s race, Jake Brown finished 8th with Raleigh Goessling close behind in 9th. Akeo Maifield-Carucci placed 11th and Alex Howe finished 14th, despite two broken rollerskis.
On Sunday, the biathletes competed in the mass start race. Susan moved up a step on the podium winning the race with 85% shooting. She was joined on the podium by Clare who placed 3rd also shooting 85%. Clare was followed by Kelsey in 4th, Emily in 8th, and Hallie in 11th. In the men’s mass start, Alex had a strong race making his way onto the podium in 3rd. He was followed by Raleigh in 8th, Jake in 9th, and Akeo in 14th.
After these races, the US Women’s National Biathlon Team visited Craftsbury for a weeklong training camp. The GRP women’s team participated in the camp.
For now, the GRP Biathlon Team is back in Craftsbury, preparing for the fall.
In early September the team will travel to Lake Placid, New York to train with the US Biathlon National Team over the course of a 12-day camp.
October will see the team head to Heber City, Utah for a 3-week training camp. The highlight of this camp will be the final round of rollerski selection races, which will determine which athletes will travel to Europe to compete on the IBU Cup and World Cup for the first period of winter competition.
In addition to training, GRP biathletes are involved in planning and promoting the Outdoor Center’s Fall Festival, which will feature (among MANY other events) a mass start running and mountain bike biathlon race on October 6th. Also, on offer at this event is a novice race, which gives people with no biathlon experience an opportunity to try out the sport. Learn more about this event here.