Northern Maine to host first national collegiate championship in biathlon
Northern Maine will host the first Collegiate National Championships in biathlon early next year. The winter sport — a combination of cross-country skiing and target shooting —originated in Scandanavia, but a handful of American colleges and universities have since developed their own biathlon programs.
"We started to realize we've got upwards of 30 athletes and 13 colleges and universities already supporting biathlon development," said John Farra, the director of Sport Development for U.S. Biathlon, the event's main organizers. "[We thought we should] celebrate that with a national championship event at the end of the winter. And we've only received really positive feedback so far."
The competition will take place March 22to the March 24 at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center. Judges will use a team-scoring system, tallying the two best scores per team regardless of gender. The event will run the same weekend and use the same sprint course as the U.S. Biathlon National Championships.
Beyond showcasing the nation's top collegiate talent, Farra says he hopes the event will inspire other schools with strong ski programs to consider the sport.
"We [want to] do a really nice job of celebrating their successes and their commitment to the sport," Farra said. "Also [we're focused on] getting the word out on social media and showing that there's this energy out there for collegiate biathlon in a way we haven't really thought about it in the past."