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Alaskan biathletes podium at nationals

Alaska Biathlon Assocation
Alaska Biathlon Assocation(Austin Sjong)
Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 4:29 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Two Anchorage teens recently made it onto the podium in the U.S. Biathlon National Championships in West Yellowstone, Montana.

According to the Alaska Biathlon Association, Elias Soule, 14, and Elias Watson, 14, of Anchorage placed in the top three in their respective events during the championships held March 24-28.

Soule placed second in the 7.5-kilometer sprint, hitting seven out of ten targets. He also placed third in the 10K pursuit race. Watson earned three medals, placing second in the sprint race and first in both the pursuit and super sprint races. Watson also did not miss a single target in both Friday’s sprint race and Sunday’s super sprint race.

Soule’s performance was notable not only because of the high placing, but because he raced up a class, competing against youth 15 to 18 years old.

Besides earning three medals, Watson also had the highest shooting percent of all race participants, according to the association.

Both teens went to the championships as members of the Anchorage Biathlon Club’s team of nine competitors.

The West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation hosted this year’s U.S. Championships after canceling last year’s due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 140 biathletes from as far as Maine and Alaska converged on the Rendezvous Ski Trails nestled in the pine forests of Montana.

The Anchorage biathletes had to contend with the thin air, racing at over 6,600 feet of elevation, according to the association. The first day of races were on freshly groomed trails after four inches of new snow. On the last day of racing, temperatures jumped to 40 degrees with gusty winds, which made for soft snow conditions, slow skiing and difficult shooting.

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