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    Thursday, November 13, 1997

    Minnesota gets U.S. trials

     BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- The 1998 U.S. Biathlon Olympic trials, bumped out of two other possible sites, will be staged Dec. 29-Jan. 3 at a Minnesota National Guard base, U.S. Biathlon Association officials said Wednesday.
     Originally, the USBA had expected to hold the tryouts on the Olympic course at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, N.Y., but that plan didn't work out becauses of scheduling difficulties. The trials then were to be held on a Canadian Forces base at Val Cartier, Quebec, only to be wiped out again by schedule conflicts.
     The new site is Camp Ripley, near Brainerd, Minn., according to Max Cobb, USBA program director. The federation has offices in downtown Burlington and trains at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in suburban Jericho.
     "We're particularly pleased with Camp Ripley stepping up for us. We'll hold four races for men and women, and we'll pick both our Olympic Team and our team for the World Biathlon Junior Championships," which will be Feb. 23-March 1 in Jericho, Vt., he said.
     Cobb said USBA would be applying to the U.S. Olympic Committee for a special contingency grant to help cover additional costs involved in the shuffling of sites and transportation plans.
     "We were locked into that New Year's time frame," Cobb said, "because we'll be competing in World Cup races in Europe later in January. Fortunately, Camp Ripley will be just right for us."