WISA Team Alaska Member Bios

Arctic Winter Games 2018

March 18 – 24, 2018

Fort Smith and Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada

WISA has qualified athletes to be part of Team Alaska and compete at Arctic Winter Games.

Mallory Conger

Mallory's Bio Pic

Mallory Conger was skiing around the snowbanks of Nome soon after she learned to walk. She is an accomplished all-around adventure athlete, and enjoys leading her teammates around the tundra with her four skijor dogs. Mallory, a high school sophomore, is representing Nome Ski and Biathlon and the Western Interior Ski Association (WISA) on the 2018 Team Alaska Ski Biathlon squad. She qualified for the Arctic Winter Games with a first-place finish in a field of 20 girls from 8 rural Alaskan villages at the 2017 WISA Championships in White Mountain. That win helped earn a third consecutive WISA Skimeister Award, which ties her for the most ever for female WISA athletes. Mallory has participated in the United States Team Biathlon Trials and attended a United States Biathlon Association camp at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. Mallory is coached by Lanny Barnes.

Ben Cross


Nome Ski and Biathlon member Ben Cross is a high school junior. He is representing the Western Interior Ski Association (WISA) on the 2018 Team Alaska Ski Biathlon Squad. Ben, who is in his third year in biathlon, qualified for the Arctic Winter Games by posting the top biathlon result at the 2017 WISA Championships in White Mountain. He beat out 30 boys from 8 rural villages in the process. For the past two years Ben has participated in the Gold Cup race series, and took 10th in the 2017 Tour of Anchorage’s 25K race. Ben is a multi-sport athlete who earned a bronze medal at the 2017 ASAA State Wrestling Championships by placing third in his weight class. During the summer you can find him in Anchorage attending ANSEP (the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program) or commercial fishing on the Bering Sea. Ben is coached by Keith Conger.

Carlee Merriner

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Carlee Merriner is a sophomore in Galena, AK where she splits her time between Sidney C. Huntington School and homeschooling, and carries a 4.0 GPA. Carlee is a natural athlete in her second full year of biathlon competition. Carlee’s work ethic, motivation, and natural ability helped her find early success in regional competitions. Carlee took second place in the 2017 WISA Championships. She is excited to have qualified to represent Team Alaska in AWG 2018 and is looking forward to meeting and competing with other Snowshoe Biathletes from Arctic communities. Carlee is active in volleyball, cross country running, and swimming. She has also participated in Musical Theater productions in the community, and done volunteer work during the Iditarod and for her local church. Carlee is coached by Jon Korta.

Hugo Apatiki

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Hugo Apatiki is a freshman from Gambell, Alaska and is a member of the “Westernmost Ski Biathlon Team in the World.” He lives so far west on the globe that he can literally see Russia from his village. Hugo will be representing the Western Interior Ski Association as a snowshoe biathlete at the 2018 Arctic Winter Games in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Hugo has been participating in competitive Team Alaska biathlon qualification events since 2014. He is a former Western Region gold medalist in Marksmanship and has also earned a bronze medal in biathlon. He attended his first biathlon race in Anchorage in 2015. Hugo was taught to shoot rifles by his father. He enjoys hunting birds and seals around St. Lawrence Island. Hugo is coached by Courtland Pannebaker.

Tobin Hobbs

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Tobin Hobbs is a freshman skier from Nome, Alaska. This is his fourth year with Nome Nordic, his club team. Tobin captured his first Western Interior Ski Association Skimeister Award by winning both the junior high division skate ski race as well as the biathlon race at the 2017 WISA Championships. His ski race victory helped him earn a spot on the 2018 Arctic Winter Games Cross Country Ski Team. He has been working hard to improve his classic technique, and raced his first classic race at the Lynx Loppet in Anchorage in December. Tobin is an avid runner and qualified for the 2017 ASAA State Cross Country Running Championships last fall. He enjoys getting out in the backcountry and spending time with his family. Tobin is coached by Keith Conger.