Soule leads overall IPC Biathlon World Cup rankings

Feb. 01, 2010, 4:58 p.m. (ET)

BESSANS, France - American Andy Soule (Pearland, Texas) used two top-5 finishes this weekend to propel himself into first place in the overall IPC Biathlon World Cup standings.  Soule, who is racing on the World Cup circuit for just his third season, leads Japan's Kozo Kubo by 19 points. 

Soule landed on the podium, in third place, in the 12.5km biathlon and narrowly missed a second podium with a fourth place finish in the 7.5km biathlon.  He also grabbed two top-10 finishes in the cross country events, taking eighth place in the 10k and 10th place in the sprint.  Soule lost his legs while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and he competes in the men's LW10-12 classification.

Soule wasn't the only American making a strong showing with just a little more than one month to go before the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.  Chris Klebl (Heber City, Utah) collected fourth and fifth place finishes in the 10k and sprint events, while Sean Halsted (Ephrata, Wash.) picked up sixth and fourth place finishes in the 10k and sprint.

These strong results from the LW10-12 men have all three athletes sitting in the top-10 in the overall IPC Cross Country World Cup standings.  Klebl leads the group in fourth; Soule sits in seventh; and Halsted is tied for 10th.

The two U.S. women have also positioned themselves well heading into Vancouver.  Kelly Underkofler (St. Paul, Minn.) competed in all four events with her best finish a sixth place in the 12.5km biathlon.  She earned a second top-10 in the cross country 10k and two 11th place finishes in the 7.5km biathlon and cross country sprint.  Underkofler currently sits seventh overall in the women's LW2-9 IPC Biathlon World Cup standings.

Monica Bascio (Evergreen, Colo.) took on the two cross country events during this World Cup stop and picked up two top-10 finishes in the sprint and 10k in the women's LW10-12 classification.

The final IPC Biathlon & Cross Country World Cup competition will take place in Oberried, Germany from Feb. 4-7.