NESCOPECK, PA--Saturday, July 24, was hot and humid, but a record number of participants turned out for the Summer Biathlon, which includes running and rifle marksmanship. The Nescopeck Biathlon, now in its fifth year (and 10th race), has a 5K run with two shooting stops (one prone; one standing) at 25-meter targets. This event, held twice each year at the Nescopeck Hunting and Rifle Club, is well suited for beginners in the sport of summer biathlon. However, the veterans dominated the winning of awards.
Doug Hoover (Tyrone, PA) won the event for the third time. Doug, a member of the national summer biathlon team, had little trouble shooting 10 out of 10 targets with a finish time of 17:01. He also holds the age-group record for 20-year-old men, (15:57), set last year. Paul Leestma, the 40 age-group record holder, placed second with 9 of 10 targets in 17:49. Paul Hails from Titusville, NJ. His wife Jill also competed, placing first in the women's division 40-49. Third place went to Georgia resident Gary Stiner, (36), shooting 9 of 10 in 18:38. Ray Stiner, Gary's father took second in the 60+ age division.
On the female side, Cassy Byrne, (33), of Pottstown took first place. She shot 4 and 1 with a time of 18:39. Cassy is a former winner and holder of the women's age-group record for 30-39. The second place female, a former Czech Republic Biathlete, Lucie Bergeyova finished in 19:59 shooting 9 of 10. Lucie, 25 years of age, now living in Bechtelsville, PA, has won this event twice before. Third place went to Masters record holder Ann Sick, (40), of Millville, PA. She ran 22:06 and shot 4 and 0.
The 69 competitors in this summer biathlon, took part in one of many such events staged in the United States. Under the sanction of the United States Biathlon Association, and held in conjunction with the Kinetic Energy Running Club and Insta Results, the Nescopeck Summer Biathlon has grown in size and reputation because of its friendliness and organizational quality. Participants receive instruction at the pre-race familarization clinic in which safety is always stressed. With the current gun control climate, it's not often people using guns properly are given any recognition. This sport can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages, and showcases the use of guns in a non-controversial atmosphere.
Several participants traveled from surrounding states to take part; NJ, MD, OH, and GA were represented. Beside the Leestma couple mentioned above, there were a number of other married folks running together. They included Ed and Susan Myers of Obelsik, PA; Debbie and Andy Keegan of Birdsboro, PA; Scott and Ann Sick of Millville; as well as some parent-child competitors. The summer biathlon is open to men and women 14 years and older. No experience is required and more information can be obtained from the USBA, 29 Ethan Allen Ave., Colchester, VT 05446.
The Nescopeck Summer Biathlons are held the last Saturday in April and July.
Of special note were the shooting performances of John Heycock, (York Haven, PA), who shot 10 of 10 and Deb Keegan who won the shoot-off. Frank Gaval, the meet director, was edged out for top honors in the male 50-59 category by Walt Klingerman. Although Frank shot 5 targets, the same as Klingerman, Walt's run time gave him a one-minute victory. Friendly competition in a safe environment is what makes the Summer Biathlon unique. Give it a try. You'll like it.
1. Doug Hoover (5, 5) 17:01
1. Scott Sick (4, 2) 19:55
Francis Lambert (3, 2) 19:35
1. Eric Easton (5, 1) 18:50
1. David Hinkel (3, 2) 20:00
1. Ed Myers (5, 3) 20:10
1. Walt Klingerman (5, 3) 22:12
1. Don Teague (4, 0) 29:39
1. Cassy Byrne (4, 1) 18:39
1. Carmella DiPippa (2, 1) 27:24
1. Cassie Skinner (5, 2) 25:52
1. Erin Kilker (1, 0) 24:02
1. Karen Dudley (3, 2) 23:51
1. Jill Case-Leestma (3, 1) 28:51
1. Freddi Carlip (2, 1) 30:44