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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Skiing: Biathlete wins two national titles

By Paige Fieldsted

Although the ski team’s season ended a couple of weeks ago, cross-country skier Annelies Cook has been hard at work.

Last weekend at the North American/U.S. National Championships in Coleraine, Minn., her hard work paid off as Cook won two national biathlon titles.

Cook came in first place in the senior women’s division in the 7.5 km sprint race and the 12.5 km mass start race. Cook was the only competitor to shoot clean in the sprint.

“It is really hard to shoot clean, so for me to do it in the first race I’ve competed in in along time was really funny,” Cook said.

Cook grew up as a skier near Lake Placid, N.Y., and got her start in biathlon there.

The uniqueness of biathlon is part of what drew Cook to the sport.

“It combines cross-country skiing, which is really hard physically, and shooting, which requires a lot of mental toughness,” Cook said, “The combination makes it really exciting.”

Cook has been racing biathlon since she was 15 but has taken the past two years off to cross-country ski for the U because she felt she needed a change.

“I wanted to experience a new part of the country, and the U was a place I could work on biathlon and my education,” Cook said.

Cook has done little biathlon-specific training since she came to Utah two years ago.

“She is a good skier and one of our top girls,” said Eli Brown, women’s ski coach.

Cook said the competitive nature of the ski team really helped her improve her time because the women pushed each other to get faster.

Cook intends to return to biathlon racing next year after she graduates and is hoping to qualify for a spot on the 2010 Olympic team.

“She is definitely in a position to qualify for the Olympics,” Brown said. “She is getting a pretty good preparation for Vancouver here in Utah.”

Cook said even though she isn’t training heavily for biathlon, she’s going to keep competing when she has the chance.

“I want to show that I am still interested in biathlon and capable of skiing with some of the best biathletes in the country,” she said.

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