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By DAVID CARKHUFF, LACONIA DAILY SUN
OTEPAA, Estonia — At the International Biathlon Union Cup finale last weekend, Alex Howe of Gilford and wife, Emily, accomplished a first — they were the first husband-and-wife team to compete in the single mixed relay for the U.S. team.
"Emily and I placed 11th after a rough start where she got caught up in a crash on the first lap with most of the field," Howe reported by email. "We made a good comeback, though, and had the best ever IBU single mixed relay finish."
Howe competes in biathlon, a winter Olympic sport combining cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship.
The single mixed relay team finished 11th with a total of two penalties and eight spares, according to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont, where the couple trains.
The final IBU Cup of the season took place in Otepaa, a city in the Baltics.
"Emily traveled to all of the same races I did this year. She often does better then I do, as well," Howe reported. "She and I had never done that type of relay race before so that was pretty exciting. It was the first time a husband and wife had raced that event for the U.S. team."
The races included a relay, sprint, sprint, relay. In the first relay, Howe was the third leg in the mixed relay, and the team placed 11th. In the second sprint, he charted a personal best, placing 31st with one miss.
Crowning the weekend was the single mixed relay, which Howe described as "a fast and furious race that is one of the best spectating races on the circuit."
Howe raced the previous weekend in Kontiolahti, Finland, where he charted a personal best in the individual race, a 20K race with four shootings. Howe reported that he missed four targets and skied well enough to place 33rd. Howe failed to qualify in the sprint race.
"It was very nice to get home again," Howe reported. "We have one more weekend of racing for the season."
U.S. biathlon national championships will be held in Jericho, Vermont, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
To follow Howe's progress, visit his team's website at http://greenracingproject.com.
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