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Annual summer biathlon held at Altoona Rifle and Pistol Club

On Saturday, June 23, the Altoona Rifle and Pistol Club hosted the seventh annual Summer Biathlon.
Participants traveled from all over Pennsylvania, as well as several other states.
This year’s race included 48 competitors. There were numerous outstanding performances and personal victories.
The biathlon combines the stamina of cross country running with the accuracy of rifle marksmanship.
The shooting range can accommodate up to ten people. Runners may choose to use range rifles or their own personal rifles. The targets are 25 meters away and runners must shoot in the prone and standing positions.
The race begins with participants running a mile before they enter the firing range for their first attempt at the targets. Runners have five shots in the prone position, followed by another mile run. Their second attempt at the targets is made from the standing position, which is then followed by one last mile to the finish line.
Final times are then calculated based upon the runners finishing time and the number of targets hit. Each target hit in the prone position earns runners a 15 second credit toward their final time. Targets hit in the standing position earn 30 seconds off of the final time. Awards are given to the top ten runners in several age categories for both men and women.
Also, honors are given to the top three men and the top three women finishers overall.
After three consecutive runner-up finishes, Stephanie Blackstone of Everett produced her best performance in five tries to finally capture the overall title in the women’s race. In the process she moved into second place on the all-time performance list, passing Lucie Bergeyova. With a run time of 21.26, Blackstone hit one target prone and two targets standing for an adjusted time of 20.11. She also broke the 20-29 age group record previously held by Sonja Hinish.
While finishing second overall, Ann Sick of Millville bettered her own masters record and improved to fifth place on the all-time performance list. With an original time of 24.21, Sick hit all five targets in the prone position and knocked down two standing for a final time of 22.06.
Katie Sick of Millville finished her run with a time of 24.02. She hit all five targets prone but knocked down only one in the standing position for an adjusted time of 22.17, placing her third overall. She also improved on her previous best and is currently ranked seventh on the all-time performance list.
Patricia Zerfas of Kensington, Md. finished fourth overall with a time that makes her the second fastest master competitor ever on the Altoona course and the eighth ranked competitor on the all-time performance list.
The greatest record shattering of the day came from Jeanice Naulty of Birdsboro. She finished fifth overall with a time the broke the 50-59 age group record by over three minutes, which ranks her as the eleventh competitor on the all-time performance list. The previous age group record was held by Debi Page.
Four other women produced times that rank them among the top-50 all time on this course including: Hannah Sick (23rd), Pamela Scott (28th), Kate Ryan (39th) and Mary Morgan (44th).
On the men’s side, Christopher Fischer of Altoona showed a huge improvement over his previous performances to capture his first overall title and break the junior men\’s age group record by 47 seconds. In doing so, he became just the third man to break seventeen minutes on the course and is currently ranked third on the all-time performance list. With a run time of 19.39, Fischer shot five for five in the prone position and hit four more targets standing for an adjusted time of 16.24.
Second place went to Douglas Hoover who ran the course in 20.12. Hitting four targets in both the prone and standing positions moved him into second place with an adjusted time of 17.12.
Kyle Bowman of Kent, Oh. improved on his previous best as well to capture third overall and move up to sixth on the all-time performance list. After hitting three targets prone and two targets while standing, Bowman’s time of 19.11 was adjusted to 17.26. Bowman is also now ranked second all-time in the 20-29 age group.
Running the course in 21.43 and with an adjusted time of 17.58, Challen Ingraham of Tabernacle, NJ finished fourth overall and shattered the previous masters record by 51 seconds to become the first master under 18 minutes on the course. The previous age group record was held by Scott Sick. Ingraham is one of just nine men ever to break 18 minutes on the course and was the only competitor to shoot clean, hitting five of five targets in both the prone and standing positions.
Alden Sims of Venus, Pa. improved on his previous best as well, finishing fifth overall with an adjusted time of 18.16, making him the third fastest junior ever on the course and the eleventh ranked man on the all-time performance list. Sims ran the course in 20.31 and hit three targets, both prone and standing.
Other notable performances included John Sims of Venus, Pa., who cracked the top three all-time in the 50-59 age group with his race and Frank Gaval of Sugarloaf came within ten seconds of breaking the 60+ age group record in his first year in that age group.
Three other men produced times that rank them among the top-50 all-time on this course: Jim Beveridge (25th), Don Hoffman (31st) and Ben Ingle (31st).
Ingle, a student at Tyrone Area High School, tied for eighth place after running the course in 21.18. He knocked down two targets prone and hit one standing for an adjusted time of 20.18, splitting eighth with Hoffman.
The Pennsylvania Biathlon Club Triple Crown Series will continue with the final two races of the series at Black Creek Twp. on July 21 and Oil Creek State Park on August 18.