From the Vt. Guard to Team USA
Four members of the Vermont Army National Guard are heading to Europe as part of the U.S. Biathlon World Cup team.
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) -U-S Biathlon has named the 12-member team that will head to Europe in preparations for the start of World Cup competition, which gets underway in a month.
The team, six men and six women, includes two Vermont natives, two-time Olympian and reigning World Championship silver medalist Susan Dunklee of Barton, and 22-year-old Chole Levins from Rutland.
The team also includes four current members of the Vermont Army National Guard, Leif Nordgren, Sean Doherty, Vaclav Cervenka and Deedra Irwin. Nordgren, who resides in Hinesburg, and Doherty, a New Hampshire native, are two-time Olympians. Cervenka and Irwin are newcomers to the U-S senior team. Being part of the Guard gives the athletes the opportunity to train consistently at the Ethan Allen Firing Range.
The U-S team was set to begin pre-World Cup training camp in Austria November 1st, but following an uptick in COVID cases in that country, the camp has been moved to Finland, site of the first Cup event, which begins November 28th.
Representing the U-S is a dream of every top athlete, and Nordgren and Irwin say getting to do so while also representing the Vermont Guard means even more.
“I’ve been representing the US for a long time now.”, says Nordgren.
“When you throw in the Vermont National Huard on top of that, it’s just a little extra. A lot of the people that I’ve met here in Vermont in the Guard, it’s just extra special to be able to represent them and carry on the ideals of what it means to be a soldier, and carry that over to the athletes side of things as well.”
“It’s really cool to represent more than just yourself, to be an inspiration for people in the Guard who maybe want to try biathlon, or anybody who wants to look at the next step of their career.”, says Irwin.
“I never pictured myself as someone joining the Army, but once I got here it’s a whole new type of family and type of organization and it’s really cool to be a part of.”
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