BREZNO-OSRBLIE, Slovakia (February 24, 2017) – Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt./Mountain Top Nordic Ski Club) scored her second top-15 finish of the week on Friday with an 11th-place finish in the youth women's 6-kilometer sprint at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships. Friday's performance comes on the heels of her 14th-place finish in Wednesday's 10km individual race.
Levins hit nine of 10 targets and finished 1 minute, 39.7 seconds behind winner Irene Lardschneider of Italy who posted the winning time of 19:48.3 and also had one penalty.
"Today's race was seconds from being great," Levins said. "Our wax guys produced really fast skis that I'm pleased handled better through the technicalities and transitions on course. There were windy shooting conditions all day, so it feels great to have executed my plan without letting uncontrollable factors distract me from my process."
The weather started to change Friday morning, with strong winds cutting directly across the shooting range from left to right. The gusts made the competition a bit of a lottery on the range as some athletes got a 10-15 second respite from the strong wind while everyone else had to battle as best they could.
Silver medalist Anna Gandler of Austria, with one penalty, finished 1:06.5 behind Lardschneider, while Lardschneider's Italian teammate Samuela Comola took the bronze medal, 1:18.1 behind with clean shooting. Other Americans in the 92-woman field were Grace Gilliland (Eagle River, Alaska/Alaska Biathlon) in 55th place, Amanda Kautzer (Plymouth, Minn./Loppet Nordic Racing Michigan) in 59th, and Helen Wilson (Eagle River, Alaska/Anchorage Biathlon Club) in 67th.
Levins, Gilliland and Kautzer qualified for Sunday's 7.5km pursuit competition by finishing in the top 60 of the sprint.
"A good group of athletes and myself are within ten seconds on the results list, so the pursuit will be fast and fun," added Levins. "I'm looking forward to it."
In the youth men's 7.5km sprint also held on Friday, Vaclav Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn./Mt, Itasca) was the top American in 49th place. He finished with six penalties, 3:37.1 back of France's Emilien Claude who captured the gold medal with two penalties and a time of 20:18.3. Claude was 25.2 seconds ahead of silver medalist Serhiy Telen of Ukraine who had one penalty. The bronze medal went to Norway's Sivert Guttorm Bakken, also with two penalties, 44.6 seconds behind.
Other members of Team USA competing in the youth men's sprint were Alexander Kilby (Anchorage, Alaska/Alaska Winter Stars) who placed 69th, Jacob Pearson (Casper, Wyo./Casper Mountain Biathlon Club) who finished 76th, and Eli Nielsen (Stehekin, Wash./Methow Valley Biathlon) who was 82nd. Cervenka was the only American to qualify for Sunday's 10km pursuit competition.
The IBU Youth/Junior World Championships continue on Saturday with the junior men's 10km and junior women's 7.5km sprint races.
Youth Women's 6km sprint results
|1.||Irene Lardschneider (ITA)||19:48.3/+1|
|2.||Anna Gandler (AUT)||+1:06.5/+1|
|3.||Samuela Comola (ITA)||+1:18.1/+0|
||Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt./Mountain Top Nordic Ski Club)
|55.||Grace Gilliland (Eagle River, Alaska/Alaska Biathlon)||+4:35.2/+4|
|59.||Amanda Kautzer (Plymouth, Minn./Loppet Nordic Racing Michigan)||+4:42.7/+6|
|67.||Helen Wilson (Eagle River, Alaska/Anchorage Biathlon Club)||+5:10.0/+4
Youth Men's 7.5km sprint results
|1.||Emilien Claude (FRA)||20:18.3/+2|
|2.||Serhiy Telen (UKR)||+25.2/+1|
|3.||Sivert Guttorm Bakken (NOR)||+44.6/+2|
||Vaclav Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn./Mt. Itasca)
||Alexander Kilby (Anchorage, Alaska/Alaska Winter Stars)
|76.||Jacob Pearson (Casper, Wyo./Casper Mountain Biathlon Club)||+5:07.1/+5|
|82.||Eli Nielsen (Stehekin, Wash./Methow Valley Biathlon)||+5:18.8/+5