Eagle River rugby player Alev Kelter places 6th and UAF shooter Sagen Maddalena finishes 5th at Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics ended overnight Friday for Eagle River rugby player Alev Kelter and former University of Alaska Fairbanks shooting star Sagen Maddalena.

Kelter placed sixth on the pitch and Maddalena finished fifth on the range.

Kelter and the U.S. women’s rugby sevens team lost their final match, 17-7 to Australia, in the fifth-place game at Tokyo Stadium.

The Americans finished 4-2 in the 12-team tournament, a run that included a quarterfinal loss to Great Britain that eliminated them from medal contention.

Kelter, 30, is a two-time Olympian who was a member of the U.S. team that placed fifth at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Maddalena, 27, earned a chance to fight for a medal in the women’s 50-meter three-position rifle competition by placing second in the qualifying round at the Asaka Shooting Range. She shot 1178-70x to rank one spot behind qualifying leader Yulia Zykova, who shot an Olympic qualifying record of 1182-78x.

In the eight-woman finals, she ranked fourth after the kneeling and prone stages and survived three elimination rounds from the standing position before being knocked out to finish fifth with a score of 427.8.


Nina Christen of Switzerland, who was fifth in the finals after the first two stages, rallied to claim the gold medal with an Olympic record 463.9. She was .8 of a point off the world record.

Zykova took silver with a score of 461.1 and Yulia Karimova took bronze with a 450.3. Both are Russians.

Maddalena, who is from Groveland, California, is an Olympic rookie and a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Georgia.

She came to UAF as a walk-on and went on to become an eight-time NCAA All-American. She competed for the Nanooks from 2014-18 and left with a degree in natural resources.

Kelter, a Chugiak High graduate, helped the Americans go undefeated in three pool games in the rugby tournament.

Their medal hopes ended with a 21-12 quarterfinal lost to Great Britain on Thursday. U.S. coach Chris Brown attributed the loss to poor tackling and a poor game plan that helped Great Britain score two tries in the opening 2.5 minutes.

“And that guts me because we played nine quarterfinals over the last year and it’s the first one we lost,” he said.

The Americans bounced back in the consolation round with a 33-14 romp over China. That put them in the fifth-place match against Australia, a team they defeated 14-12 in pool play.

The match was scoreless for nearly five minutes before Australia broke through with two tries for a 10-0 halftime lead. Kristi Kirshe scored midway through the second half to help the Americans cut the gap to 10-7, but the Aussies added an insurance goal two minutes later.

New Zealand claimed the gold medal with a 26-12 victory over France, and Fiji took the bronze by beating Great Britain 21-12.

Beth Bragg

Beth Bragg wrote about sports and other topics for the ADN for more than 35 years, much of it as sports editor. She retired in October 2021. She's contributing coverage of Alaskans involved in the 2022 Winter Olympics.