Doherty wins sprint bronze at Junior World Championships

Photos from the men's and women's junior sprint races at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Minsk-Raubichi, Belarus, on February 21, 2015

Feb. 21, 2015, 10:35 a.m. (ET)

MINSK-RAUBICHI, Belarus (February 21, 2015) - In his first year as a junior competitor, Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) won the bronze medal in the junior men's 10-kilometer sprint on Saturday at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Belarus. Doherty's time of 24:59.2, with one penalty, was just 10.2 seconds off the winning time of Russia's Aleksandr Dediukhin, who shot clean and posted the winning time of 24:49. Doherty shot clean until the last target in standing.

"I am very happy with the race today," Doherty said. "I felt good on the skis and I was able to keep that momentum all the way through the race. On the range, the last shot got me, but I am very excited for tomorrow."

Doherty, who was the youngest member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic biathlon team, won a gold and two silver medals in the youth divisions at the 2013 IBU Youth/Junior World Championships. He will start just 10 seconds behind Dediukhin in Sunday's 12.5k pursuit.

"That Sean was able to win the junior world championship bronze medal with one penalty as a first-year junior in Minsk speaks volumes for his dedication to excellence and the great support of the coaches and team around him," said U.S. Biathlon President & CEO Max Cobb. "It's a huge accomplishment to succeed like this as an American in Europe's favorite winter sport."

Doherty was in fourth place as he exited the shooting range with one lap to go but turned in a superb last lap to clinch the bronze medal. His coach, Jean Paquet, talked about the race strategy.

"Sean was to start the race at pace without holding anything back, considering the long uphill and the downhill before the range," Paquet said. "He was in control at the first shooting stage with five solid hits. He kept a good pace on the second loop and his standing shooting was sharp, but he missed the last target by a quarter of an inch. I am very proud."

Also feeling the pride of Doherty's accomplishment was the first coach of his biathlon career, Algis Shalna.

"Sean will be the next superstar in the biathlon world," Shalna predicted. "He's got everything many athletes and coaches wish for and it is just a matter of time before we see more medals from this athlete. I was one lucky coach running into him seven years ago and working with him for many years and seeing him develop to this level."

Taking second place in the junior men's sprint was France's Fabien Claude, 4.6 seconds behind Dediukhin, with one penalty. Other finishers in the junior men's race were Jakob Ellingson (Minnetonka, Minn.) in 65th (29:00.9/+5), and Brian Halligan (Gansevoort, N.Y.) in 67th (29:08.3/+3). Full junior men's sprint results are available here.

Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.) finished 33rd in the junior women's 7.5-kilometer sprint, stopping the clock with a time of 22:46.1, with two penalties. Lena Arnaud of France won the junior women's sprint, posting a time of 20:40.6, and no penalties. Also shooting clean and taking second place was Galina Vishnevskaya (KAZ) 2.4 seconds back, while Arnaud's teammate, Chloe Chevalier, was third with clean shooting, 13.1 seconds behind.

Also competing in Saturday's junior women's sprint event was Mikaela Paluszek (Saxtons River, Vt.) who placed 54th (24:51.2/+4). Full results from the junior women's sprint event are available here.

Competition continues Sunday with the youth and junior pursuits. Doherty will represent Team USA in the junior men's 12.5k race, while Paul Thomas Everett (Tacoma, Wash.) will start the youth men's 10k pursuit in 36th place, 2:24 minutes behind the leader. Six American athletes will compete in the women's pursuits. In the youth 7.5k race, Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt.) starts 18th (+1:35), Amanda Kautzer (Plymouth, Minn.) will be 39th (+2:42), Siena Ellingson (Minnetonka, Minn.) goes off the line 41st (+2:45), and Hannah Streinz (Hersay, Maine) starts in the 54th position (+3:48). The junior women's 10k pursuit will feature Phaneuf starting in 33rd (+2:06) and Paluszek going 54th (+4:11). 

Junior Men's 10km sprint

1. Aleksandr Dediukhin (RUS) 24:49.0/+0
2. Fabien Claude (FRA) 24:53.6/+1
3.  Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) 24:59.2/+1
65. Jakob Ellingson (Minnetonka, Minn.) 29:00.9/+5
67. Brian Halligan (Gansevoort, N.Y.) 29:08.3/+3

Junior Women's 7.5km sprint

1. Lena Arnaud (FRA) 20:40.6/+0
2. Galina Vishnevskaya (KAZ) 20:43.0/+0
3. Chloe Chevalier (FRA) 20:53.7/+0
33. Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.) 22:46.1/+2
54. Mikaela Paluszek (Saxtons River, Vt.) 24:51.2/+4