Guard biathletes complete races in Casper, Wyo.

Sgt. Ashley Smith, 197th Public Affairs Detachment

Despite the fierce terrain, high altitude and wind gusts of up to 54 mph, approximately 75 Guard members from nine western states skied and shot their way through the National Guard’s Western Regional Biathlon at the Casper Mountain Biathlon Center in Casper, Wyoming, Jan 10-14.

“This course compared to any other course in the United States is by far the hardest,” said Tech Sgt. Travis Voyer, National Guard Biathlon Trainer. “Not only is the terrain very difficult but we are also at 7,500 feet. Both of those together easily make for the hardest course in North America.”

Biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross country skiing and precision rifle marksmanship. Participants alternate between skiing loops intended to get their heart rate up, and then transitioning to shooting small targets at 50 meters while attempting to control their breathing.

“It’s a very complex sport of moving and shooting with a high, high heart rate,” Voyer. “Most of the soldier athletes will be shooting at approximately 180 beats when they hit the mat.”

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Competitors and volunteers were recognized during an awards ceremony held Saturday evening at the Ramkota Hotel. A special thanks was given to the Casper Mountain Biathlon Club for the use of their facilities.

The top four males and the top four females from each state will advance to the National Guard Biathlon Championship in Jericho, Vermont.

Through this program, members have gone on to represent the nation in various international competitions, including the Biathlon World Cup and the Winter Olympics.

This is the first year that the Wyoming National Guard has hosted the Western Regionals, as well as include adaptive athletes in the sit ski competition.

Overall results are as follows:
Master Men’s Sprint Race:
1st- Omar Bermejo

Open Men’s Novice Sprint Race:
1st- Tyler Patik

Senior Men’s Sprint Race:
1st- Pfc. Travis Cooper, Alaska National Guard
2nd- Tadhg Nakada, Alaska National Guard
3rd- Daniel Morken, Utah National Guard

Youth Men’s Sprint Race:
1st- Tyler Jacobs, Craftsbury

Open Women’s Novice Sprint Race:
1st- Rachel Scoresby, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club
2nd- Jaime Turner, Utah National Guard
3rd- Brenda Frelsi, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club

Senior Women’s Sprint Race:
1st- Capt. Barb Blanke, Utah National Guard
2nd- Sgt. Samantha Miller, Utah National Guard
3rd- Staff Sgt. Trish Rich, Utah National Guard

Sit Ski Sprint Race:
1st- Bryan Price, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club
2nd- Peter Way, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club
3rd- Christ Rasmussen, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club

Open Men’s Pursuit Race:
1st- Neal Neumiller, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club

Senior Men’s Pursuit Race:
1st- Pfc. Travis Cooper, Alaska National Guard
2nd- Jeremy Teela, Utah National Guard
3rd- Tadhg Nakada, Alaska National Guard

Youth Men’s Pursuit Race:
1st- Tyler Jacobs, Craftsbury

Open Women’s Novice Pursuit Race:
1st- Jamie Turner, Utah National Guard
2nd- Rachel Scoresby, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club
3rd- Brenda Frelsi, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club

Senior Women’s Pursuit Race:
1st- Barb Blanke, Utah National Guard
2nd- Samantha Miller, Utah National Guard
3rd- Trish Rich, Utah National Guard

Youth Women Pursuit Race:
1st- Rylie Garner, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club

Sit Ski Pursuit Race:
1st- Bryan Price, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club
2nd- Peter Way, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club
3rd- Christ Rasmussen, Casper Mountain Biathlon Club

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