Athletes and Coaches Recognized at U.S. Biathlon Annual Awards
by Sara Donatello
Midway, UT (Oct. 14, 2023) - Olympians Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, WI/National Guard Biathlon) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, NH/National Guard Biathlon) were named 2022-2023 Athletes of the Year, highlighting U.S. Biathlon’s annual awards ceremony. The ceremony took place during the National Team’s final pre-season camp at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, 2002 Olympic venue and home to the U.S. Biathlon Association headquarters.
Athletes of the Year
Irwin and Doherty were the top U.S. female and male athletes in the 2022-23 IBU World Cup overall rankings. Irwin finished 58th on the overall World Cup points list, having an individual season best, finishing 20th at the 2023 World Championships in Oberhof (GER). Doherty hit an individual season best, finishing 14th in Oestersund (SWE) and ending the season 32nd on the overall World Cup points list.
Junior Athletes of the Year
For the second year in a row, Maxime Germain (Chamonix-Mont Blanc, FRA/National Guard Biathlon) has been named as the male Junior Athlete of the Year. Grace Castonguay (Jackson, NH/Ethan Allen Biathlon Club) took home the Junior award for the women. Germain and Gastonguay both had impressive showings at the 2023 Junior World Championships; Germain claimed bronze in the sprint and finished fourth in the men’s relay, and Castonguay had an individual best, finishing 33rd in the junior women’s pursuit in her first YJWCH appearance.
Youth Athletes of the Year
Virginia Cobb (Westford, Vt./Ethan Allen Biathlon Club) and Thor Sheppard (West Yellowstone, MT/Team Altius) took home this year’s Youth awards. At the 2023 Youth World Championships, Cobb finished 16th in the sprint, the top result among U.S. youth athletes, where Sheppard placed 20th in the individual. Both Cobb and Sheppard are on the U.S. Biathlon Junior National Team, announced at the beginning of the summer.
Coach of the Year
Olympic biathlete for Team Canada and current Anchorage Biathlon Club head coach, Jean Paquet, is this year's Coach of the Year. Paquet raced for Team Canada on the World Cup circuit for over a decade and competed at the 1992 Albertville Olympic Winter Games. He coached the Biathlon Canada National Team as well as the U.S. Biathlon Development Team prior to his time with Anchorage Biathlon Club, where he is known for his whole-athlete approach, guiding athletes to their maximum performance. This is the first year that U.S. Biathlon took nominations for this award from membership; Paquet received multiple nominations.
Charlie Kellogg Awards
One of U.S. Biathlon’s most noted honors, the Charlie Kellogg Awards recognize developing athletes who distinguished themselves through outstanding progress. This year’s award recipients are Eli Nielsen and Margie Freed. Nielsen raced the 2022-2023 season on the IBU Cup, following two 7th place finishes at Fall Trials, and had the opportunity to race in the men’s relay at the IBU World Cup in Antholz (ITA), where the team finished 16th. Freed, a member of U.S. Biathlon’s Project X development program, found notable success in Obertilliach (AUT) where she placed top-20, the best finish for an American athlete on the IBU Cup last season.
The Charlie Kellogg Award is given annually to developing athletes who distinguish themselves through outstanding progress over the season. The award includes a training grant of $1000 made possible by Michael Martin and the Kellogg family to honor Charlie’s legacy as Biathlon's first US National Champion and his extraordinary leadership as a Board Member who cared deeply about developing athletes.