OBERTILLIACH, Austria - The Youth and Junior World Biathlon Championships were held Jan. 25 – Feb. 1 in Obertilliach, Austria. Two National Guard soldiers joined eight American participants representing the men and women’s United States National Team.
Minn. National Guard Spc. Jacob Dalberg competed in the 19-20 year old junior division and Vermont National Guard Pv2. Jordan McElroy competed in the 17-18 year old youth division. Both soldiers train full-time with the National Guard Biathlon program at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Ver.
Spc. Dalberg grew up skiing in Minnesota and during high school excelled in cross-country skiing. “I had done biathlon a few times during high school but found out about the sport by contacting Sgt. Jeremy Teela,” said Spc. Dalberg. Teela is a Vermont National Guardsman and three-time Olympian in biathlon.
Four biathletes currently train in the state-of-the-art training facility in Jericho that includes 2010 Olympian Biathlete Wynn Roberts. National Guard Biathlon coaches Staff Sgt. Sarah Leto and Staff Sgt. Travis Voyer oversee the training of all biathletes in the program.
“Jake and Jordan are our two newest recruits to the team, but in the short period they have been here they have grown leaps and bounds in their abilities and consistency,” said Staff Sgt. Voyer. “We are always looking for more athletes with a passion for skiing and the drive to pursue it professionally.”
This year the team will train and attend races for half the year, the rest of the year the “Soldiers Athletes” as the program defines them, is spent back in their home National Guard states training with their unit.
Dalberg competed in the 10 km sprint and 15 km individual at the Junior World Championship finishing 71st in the Sprint and 52nd in the individual.
“For their first race at this level their competitiveness is incredible considering they both have been doing biathlon for a relatively short period of time,” said Staff Sgt. Voyer. “With their potential and drive, both Jake and Jordan have a great future as Soldier Athletes.”
People interested in watching Dalberg ski will have the opportunity to do so at the National Biathlon Competition held this year at Camp Ripley. The public is invited to attend the final races of the event February 27-28.