BREZNO-OSRBLIE, Slovakia (February 27, 2017) – The youth competitions wrapped up Monday at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships with the men's and women's relays. The American squads placed 13th in the youth women's 3x6-kilometer relay and 18th in the men's 3x7.5km race.
Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt./Mountain Top Nordic Ski Club) took the lead leg in the women's relay. She needed only one extra round in the prone shooting, but.used four spares in the standing stage, tagging off to Amanda Kautzer (Plymouth, Minn./Loppet Nordic Racing Michigan) in 14th place.
"At the first leg, I would have liked to tag Amanda closer to the lead, but a bad feeling on the track turned into a bad feeling during my standing shooting," Levins said.
Kautzer had a fantastic leg, cleaning from the clip in prone and using just two spare rounds in standing. She also turned in the fifth-fastest course time on her final loop to move the team up to eighth place as she made the final exchange with Grace Gilliland (Eagle River, Alaska/Alaska Biathlon).
"Amanda had a great leg using just two extra rounds," added Levins. "She ended the competition with one of her best races of the week, and I'm so happy for her."
Gilliland had one penalty and three spares in prone, and used another two spares in standing. She left the range for the final loop alongside the teams from Austria and Slovakia, but was edged out at the line, with Austria finishing 2.4 seconds ahead in 11th place and Slovakia coming in 1.7 seconds ahead in 12th.
"This was Grace's first big relay experience," said Levins. "Going up against the strength of a lot of the anchor leg skiers is not easy, but she handled it well."
The Russian team of Ekaterina Sannikova, Anastasia Goreeva and Kristina Egorova, despite a penalty and seven spare rounds, won the gold medal in 59 minutes, 43.2 seconds. Behind Russia, Norway won the silver medal with just four spares, 18.3 seconds back. Italy claimed the bronze medal with one penalty and four spare rounds, 1:04.8 behind.
"Team events are always exciting," Levins added. "Amanda, Grace and I really enjoyed today's competition. Yet again, our skis were rockets. At the end of the day, we ended up with a solid team performance that was just a few spare rounds outside the top 10. We'll be looking to grab those next few places the next time we get to compete as a team. Just like every other race, today was a good learning experience for all of us. Now, we are that much more prepared for next time."
In the men's youth relay held earlier in the day, Vaclav Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn./Mt, Itasca) had the fastest course time on the second loop of the lead leg, and the fourth-fastest final loop to put the U.S. team in eighth place at the first exchange. Cervenka used two spares in prone and one in standing.
Jacob Pearson (Casper, Wyo./Casper Mountain Biathlon Club) had a penalty and used three spare rounds in prone and another two spares in standing. He made the final exchange with Alexander Kilby (Anchorage, Alaska/Alaska Winter Stars) with the team sitting in 16th position. Kilby needed two spares in both prone and standing and crossed the line in 18th place, 8:06.7 off the pace.
Sivert Guttorm Bakken of Norway secured the gold medal for his team in the youth men's relay with a final 5-for-5 standing stage. He and teammates Joergen Brendengen Krogsaeter and Vebjoern Soerum had just six spares in their 55:05.4 victory. Russia, with two penalties and nine spares, won the silver medal, 54.2 seconds back. Belarus took the bronze medal with eight spares, 1:41.6 behind.
The IBU Youth/Junior World Championships conclude on Tuesday with junior men and junior women relays. The junior men's 4x7.5km relay, featuring Cody Johnson (Fort Kent, Maine/Outdoor Sports Institute), Cameron Christiansen (Pequot Lake, Minn./NNW), Travis Cooper (Kenai, Alaska/National Guard Biathlon) and Peter Carroll (Truckee, Calif./Auburn Ski Club Biathlon Team), begins at 5:00 a.m. EST. The junior women's 3x6km relay follows at 8:00 a.m. EST and will feature the American team of Siena Ellingson (Minnetonka, Minn./Loppet Nordic Racing), Helen Wilson (Eagle River, Alaska/Anchorage Biathlon Club) and Nina Armstrong (Lake Placid, N.Y./Harvard College).
Youth Women's 3x6km relay results
|1.||Russia (Sannikova, Goreeva, Egorova)||59:43.2/1+7|
|2.||Norway (Johansen, Skogan, Wetterhus)||+18.3/0+4|
|3.||Italy (Comola, Lardschneider, Vigna)||+1:04.8/1+4|
||USA(Levins, Kautzer, Gilliland)
Youth Men's 3x7.5km relay results
|1.||Norway (Krogsaeter, Soerum, Bakken)||55:05.4/0+6|
|2.||Russia (Miakonkii, Novopashin, Khalili)||+54.2/2+9|
|3.||Belarus (Tsiuryn, Auseyenka, Lazouski)||+1:41.6/0+8|
||USA(Cervenka, Pearson, Kilby)