Hansen competes at North American Rollerski Biathlon Championships

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Justin Hansen, a 2022 graduate of River City Academy, said competing at the North American Rollerski Biathlon Championships in Jericho, Vermont, from Aug. 6 to 7 was a tremendous learning experience.

“I learned so many things and I was learning them so quickly,” Hansen said. “Sometimes you have to learn hard things and God was giving me a lot of hard things to learn.”

Hansen arrived in Vermont on Aug. 3 with the aim of dialing in everything before the competition, but was given no such luxury.

His rifle case did not arrive with his flight.

“It had my rifle, roller skis and poles,” Hansen said. “It had pretty much all of the equipment needed except for my helmet, sneakers and clothes.”

Aug. 4, in the process of trying to track down where his rifle case went, Hansen lost his wallet while chasing down a bus.

Hansen said the good news is there were a number of people at the competition who were very helpful to him. He even said Max Cobb, president and CEO of the United States Biathlon Association, sent Hansen home with some homemade maple syrup.

In the sprint Aug. 6, Hansen was using all borrowed equipment when he finished ninth of nine racers in the youth men category. Hansen finished at 36 minutes, 56.9 seconds, while Lucas Daly won at 21:50.7.

“It wasn’t a familiar rifle, but it was a good rifle,” Hansen said of his borrowed rifle.

At the first shooting station, where competitors shoot in the prone position, Hansen missed all five shots. He made an adjustment and his 3 of 5 standing, but the damage was already done.

“It was 90 degrees,” he said. “It was not a good situation to be doing penalty loops.”

Hansen’s rifle bag arrived in time for the Aug. 7 pursuit. He was ninth of nine racers at 53:40.8, while Jean-nicolas De Broeck won at 30:29.3. Hansen had 12 misses in the four five-round shooting sessions.

Hansen said the 90-degree heat was tough and it flipped Alaska toughness on its head.

“You think you can ski well at negative 4 or negative 8 or 20 degrees, but 96 degrees, that’s what puts you to the test,” he said.

Hansen plans on doing several more rollerski races in Canada before the snow flies. In the meantime, he also will do tutoring, help his father with a Lego-building company and work through Kenai Biathlon to get the biathlon range at Tsalteshi Trails functional again.

2015 Kenai Central graduate Jordan Theisen, now skiing for National Guard Biathlon, also competed in Vermont. In the open men sprint Aug. 6, Theisen was 11th of 29 racers in 29:13.0, with Sean Doherty winning at 25:10.7. Theisen hurt himself with five prone misses and a standing miss.

In the open men mass start Aug. 7, Theisen was 13th of 16 at 45:33.7, while Maxime Germain won at 39:55.7. Theisen had eight misses on a total of 20 targets.

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