Vermonter takes 6th in Jr. Worlds

OTEPAA, Estonia — Chloe Levins raced to a sixth-place finish Thursday in the junior women’s 12.5-kilometer individual event at the 2018 IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Otepaa, Estonia. With three penalties on the shooting range, the Rutland, Vermont resident crossed the line 3 minutes, 37.4 seconds off the winning time.

It was Levins’ second career top-10 finish at the event, having placed fourth in the youth pursuit last year.

“My skis were magic today, probably the fastest in the entire women’s field,” Levins said. “Since I’m the only American junior woman at these championships, I’m fortunate to have a lot of USA staff behind me on race day. I can’t thank them enough.”

Although she had a top-five finish in the pursuit last year, Levins’ best finish in the individual before Thursday was 14th.

“I’ve never been so close to the top in an individual competition, so today was a new experience for me,” she said. “The great thing about biathlon is that you’ll never run out of things to learn. So for now, I’ll keep learning.”

Kamila Zuk of Poland dominated the junior women’s individual competition with two penalties to claim the gold medal in 41:36.1. Her closest competition, Ukraine’s Anna Kryvonos, was 3:04.7 behind, also with two penalties to take the silver medal. The bronze medal went to Irina Kazakevich, of Russia, with three penalties, 3:20 behind Zuk.

In the junior men’s 15k race held later in the day, St. Lawrence University student Tim Cunningham was the top American in 53rd place. He was followed by Cody Johnson (Fort Kent, Maine) in 60th, Jake Pearson (Casper, Wyoming) in 83rd, and Cam Christiansen (Pequot Lake, Minnesota) in 84th.

The gold medal in the junior men’s individual went to Russia’s Igor Malinovskii with three penalties and a time of 41:48.5. Behind Malinovskii, the silver medal went to Sturla Holm Laegreid of Norway with three penalties, 19.4 seconds back. Malinovskii’s teammate, Said Karimulla Khalili took the bronze medal with two penalties, 23 seconds off the pace.