An Olympic Buzz Permeates the Gunstock Nordic Trails—GNA’s Annual Paintball Biathlon
Gilford, NH – January 27, 2018 – Gunstock Nordic Association – With the Winter Olympics right around the corner, 73 Nordic skiers of all ages took their shot, albeit at a local grass-roots level, at one of the premier events of the 2018 games—Biathlon. The ages of the biathletes ranged from NENSA Bill Koch League skiers (youngest at age 4) to seasoned master skiers (oldest at age 69). GNA’s Biathlon adds a fun twist to this mainstay Olympic event—instead of the 22mm target rifles, skiers use Tippmann paintball guns on a modified shooting range. Competitors from the ages of 14 and older skied an individual-start, time-trial race starting at 15-second intervals and raced 3 laps on a 1.64 km course. Younger skiers in the Bill Koch age categories skied shorter courses in a mass-start race. Both the Bill Koch and the older skiers had 2 opportunities in the shooting range to improve their ski times. After laps 1 and 2, each competitor would enter the shooting range for 5 opportunities to earn 10-second time deductions for each target hit.
The first races off were the J1/U18 and older categories. In the women’s race, Kathy Maddock of Dublin XC, fresh off her Masters World Cup victory in Minnesota continued her good form and cruised to the overall women’s title. The Men’s race featured a rematch from the GNA’s Zak Cup (held earlier this month) between GNA’s John Henry Paluszek and Concord Nordic’s Sam Evans-Brown. While Paluszek had the edge on the range, Evans-Brown’s used his fast track time to edge out Paluszek for the win.
In the U16 race, GNA’s Catherine Stow relied on her ski speed to top Mathea Graham, who had the best shooting score of the day by hitting a total of 6 targets. GNA’s Mitch Townsend won boy’s U16 title with a time of 16:18 – his fast ski time would have placed him in 6th place overall in the men’s event!
In the Bill Koch league races, the Agamenticus Ski Club (ASC) from York Maine brought a full contingent of skiers and had success in nearly every age category. In the 7–8 grade races, ASC’s Elise Creagan used solid skiing and accurate shooting to put her in the top spot overall. On the Boy’s side, GNA’s Matthew Paluszek took top honors.
The 5–6 grade group featured some spirited skiing and several head-to-head sprints to the finish. Megan Legro of the GMS club took the girl’s race while GNA’s Henry Stow won the boys.
Grades 3–4 was won by Lucy Fullerton of ASC and Dean Ayotte of Concord Nordic. Grades 1–2 was won by GNA’s Alexis Kulscar and ASC’s Daniel Fullerton.
The day’s youngest skier Felix Maxwell (at age 4) skied 2 laps around the stadium and earned his own Lindt Hello Caramel Brownie bar!
Winners of the other age categories:
U18 Women – Brenna McNamara, Concord High School
U18 Men – Nathaniel Nichols
U20 Women – Grace Stott, UNH Nordic Ski Club
U20 Men – John Henry Paluszek, GNA
U23 Women – Ellen Ross, UNH Nordic Ski Club
U23 Men – Eric Guba, UNH Nordic Ski Club
Senior Women – Maureen McAuliffe
Master’s Women M2 – Lindsey Masterson, Dublin XC
Master’s Women M3 – Melissa Lombard
Master’s Women M4 – Laura Hayes, Concord Nordic
Master’s Men M2 – Kevin Johnson
Master’s Men M4 – Jeff Palleiko, GNA
Master’s Men M5 – Bill Donahue, GNA
Master’s M8 – Thomas Smart, GNA
GNA would like to thank all participants and volunteers who helped to make the event happen.
And a Big Thank You to our Race Sponsors!
- On a very fickle weather and snow year, Gunstock Mountain Resort did spectacular job snow farming and setting up a fast ski track for all racers.
- Overall and individual prizes were generously provided by Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc.
- Rock House BBQ treated hungry races and spectators to the best barbecue east of the Mississippi!
All images are courtesy of Eileen Paluszek.
Click here to view a full gallery of the event »
Women’s Overall Podium: 1st Kathy Maddock, 2d Maureen McAuliffe, 3rd Jessica Nelson
Women’s Category Winners
Men’s Overall Podium: 1st Sam Evans-Brown, 2d John Henry Paluszek, 3rd Nathaniel Nichols
Men’s Category Winners
U16 Boys and Girls Podium: 1st Mitch Townsend, 1st Catherine Stow, 2nd Mathea Graham, 3rd Collette Brochu (on the podium is her brother Cameron, who graciously accepted her prize)
Grades 7–8 Boys and Girls Podium: 1st Matthew Paluszek, 2nd Owen Spaulding, 3rd Saul Johnson
1st Elise Creagan, 2nd Vanessa Genakos, 3rd Ava Gardner
Grades 5–6 Boys and Girls Podium: 1st Henry Stow, 2nd Noah Gardner, 3rd Alden Townsend
1st Megan Legro, 2nd Veda Kiper Phelps, 3rd Adeliaide Schreck
Grades 3–4 Boys and Girls Podium: 1st Dean Ayotte, 2nd Fitz Courtney, 3rd Sebastian Christie
1st Lucy Fullerton, 2nd Alexis Kulscar, 3rd Phebe Schroeck
Grades 1–2 Boys and Girls Podium: 1st Daniel Fullerton, 2nd Desmond Marnihue, 3rd Rigney Fifield
1st Alexis Kulscar, 2nd Audrey Clendeaning, 3rd Nell McAllister
All the BKL skiers went home with a Lindt prize!