Two-time Olympian Margaux Isaksen (Fayetteville, Ark.) used her experience to run away with the UIPM Junior World Championships gold medal on Friday in Drzonkow, Poland. It was her first junior world title in this, her last year of eligibility as a junior.
Isaksen, 20, who also won the women’s relay gold on Monday, started the combined event in second position, four seconds behind leader Rena Shimazu of Japan and just three seconds ahead of Australia's Chloe Esposito. But Isaksen rose to the challenge of the shoot and run to earn herself a well-deserved gold, finishing 12 seconds ahead of Anastaysia Spas (UKR) and 18 seconds better than Esposito.
The Junior World Championship title will help heal the bittersweet fourth-place finish by Isaksen at the London Olympic Games last month.
On Friday, Isaksen started the day on a mission, demolishing the fencing field with 26 victories to open up an early lead. A good swim time of 2:20.57 solidified her lead heading into the ride, but two knockdowns opened the door for Isaksen's rivals, especially Esposito. Isaksen would turn in the fourth-fastest time in the combined (11:57.84) to win comfortably by the 12-second margin over Spas.
Isaksen’s gold, combined with a seventh-place finish by her younger sister Isabella Isaksen (Fayetteville, Ark.) and an 18th-place finish by Samantha Achterberg (Littleton, Colo.) gave the U.S. the women's team gold medal as well. She now has a shot to win a fourth gold medal at the Junior World Championships during Sunday's mixed relay.
Competition continues on Saturday with the men's individual final. Nathan Schrimsher (Roswell, N.M.) will represent the U.S. in the men's field.