Levins registers another sixth place in Estonia

OTEPAA, Estonia — Chloe Levins, of Rutland, Vermont, enjoyed her second flower ceremony of the week as she capped off the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships with a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s junior women’s 10-kilometer pursuit. It was Levins’ second sixth-place performance of the week and third top-10 finish. She crossed the line one minute, 51.4 seconds off the winning pace with two penalties on the shooting range.

“Every race at this level of competition is a learning experience, and every race you’re in contention is an even better learning experience,” Levins said. “In pursuit races in the past, I’ve come from behind. Today, it was a new learning experience for me to be in the mix for the duration of the race.”

Levins cleaned her first three shooting stages, with her only two misses coming on the final standing stage.

“Although my speed was not as sharp today as earlier in the week, the wax techs made really fast skis for me again today,” Levins said. “No one had more support than me on the tracks today. All of my teammates stayed to watch, friends and family from home watched online, every member of staff was cheering me on, and even athletes and coaches from other countries were shouting my name. I’m so grateful to have such a large support system. Racing will always be hard, but working with such a happy and dedicated staff makes the process that much more fun.”

Earlier in the week, Levins enjoyed a sixth-place finish in the individual, and a seventh-place finish in the sprint.

“The championships were not what I dreamed of, but there are a lot of positive things to take away. Additionally, and maybe more importantly, there are a lot of things to learn from as well. I can’t wait to start training again. It was really special and important for me to have this experience with my coach, Algis Shalna, behind the scope. We’ve worked together for a long time. I will cherish the competitions we get to share forever. I went for it today and have no regrets.”

Marketa Davidova of Czech Republic won the junior women’s pursuit gold medal with four penalties in a time of 32:52.6. Kamila Zuk of Poland won the silver medal despite six penalties, 28.1 seconds back. France’s Myrtille Begue took the bronze medal with three penalties, 53.8 seconds behind Davidova.

In the junior men’s 12.5k pursuit, Cody Johnson (Fort Kent, Maine), the lone American in the race, placed 48th with five penalties. Sverre Dahlen Aspenes of Norway won the gold medal in 34:16.7. He was the only athlete to shoot clean on the day. Behind Aspenes, the silver medal went to Martin Perrillat Bottonet of France with one penalty, 1:21.1 back. Another Norwegian, Johannes Dale, took the bronze medal with four penalties, 1:46.4 behind Aspenes.

Vasek Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minnesota) had a strong finish to his week placing 24th in the youth men’s 10k pursuit. Teammates Garrett Beckrich (Grand Rapids, Minnesota) and Eli Nielsen (Stehekin, Washington) finished 46th and 47th, respectively.

Andrei Viukhin of Russia won the youth men’s pursuit gold medal with four penalties in 29:31.2. The silver and bronze medals went to Viukhin’s teammates Mikhail Pervushin and Aleksei Ogorelkov.

In the youth women’s 7.5k pursuit, Emma Stertz (Grand Rapids, Minnesota) was the top American in 48th, while teammate Grace Gilliland (Eagle River, Alaska) placed 57th. Both had four penalties on the range.

Anastasiia Goreeva of Russia took the gold medal in 24:24.0 with three penalties. The silver medal went to Germany’s Franziska Pfnuer with one penalty, 17.5 seconds back, while Amy Baserga of Switzerland won the bronze medal with two penalties, 29.0 seconds behind Goreeva.