Maddie Phaneuf poses with her bouquet of flowers after finishing fourth in the women's sprint at the IBU Cup in Arber, Germany, on Jan. 22, 2021 (photo by Mike Gibson)
Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.) and Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt.) both raced to career-best senior-competition finishes this week at the IBU Cup in Arber, Germany.
In Friday’s women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint, Phaneuf, 25, shot clean to place fourth in the field of 124, just 3.4 seconds from the bronze medal. She had the top time among the first 24 athletes to cross the line.
“Today was amazing,” said Phaneuf. “This was the first race in my career where I crossed the finish line in first place, ultimately dropping to fourth, so that was very special for me. A career-best on the IBU Cup, I’m extremely happy with that. I knew I could perform well this season, I’ve just been patiently waiting for my ski speed to get there.
Phaneuf, along with Levins who also shot clean to place 31st, were just two of 15 competitors to hit all 10 targets in Friday’s sprint.
“Today I felt good on the skis, and the shooting went perfectly, I couldn’t be happier,” added Phaneuf. “Huge thank you to our sponsors, coaching staff, wax technicians, and teammates for all of the support. And I’m so grateful the IBU and organizing committee is doing such a great job handling COVID testing and protocols in order to host these events this season.”
Levins, 22, is in her first year of senior competition and she made her presence known in Wednesday’s women’s 12.5km short individual with a top-20 finish in the field of 121. Levins went 20-for-20 on the shooting range to place 19th, one of just four athletes to shoot clean.
“In addition to it being my first year as a senior, it’s also my first year training full-time,” Levins said. “Managing the training load has been a big adjustment, but I’m extremely fortunate to have (U.S. Biathlon Director of Athlete Development) Tim Burke by my side through it all. I’m extremely proud of the progress I’ve made this training year. A clean individual and top-20 on the IBU Cup is just one incremental step on the path toward bigger and better things to come.”
The IBU competition in Arber wraps up Saturday with the mixed relay and single mixed relay.