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Notes, Quotes and Photos: Pursuit Day at IBU World Youth & Junior Championships

Photo: Jake Ellingson.

In a busy day outside of Minsk, Belarus, Sean Doherty finished 11th for the U.S. in the junior men’s pursuit, followed by Canada’s Aidan Millar in 14th; Millar’s teammate Pearce Hanna placed 13th in the youth men’s race. We caught up with nine different North American competitors, plus have a gallery of photos by Jake Ellingson and Jane Robertson to share.

Doherty Makes The Jump, Earns World Juniors Bronze in Belarus

The podium for the 10 k sprint at biathlon World Junior Championships: Aleksandr Dediukhin of Russia (center) took the win, followed by Fabien Claude of France (left). Sean Doherty (USA) earned bronze, his first international medal at the junior level. (Photo: IBU/Evgeny Tumashov)

Conway, New Hampshire, might not be surprised that yet again, Sean Doherty is bringing home a medal in his luggage from a major international competition. But after two years of winning at the youth level, making the podium as a junior is still a big accomplishment. Doherty starts Sunday’s pursuit ten seconds out of first place.

Aidan Millar Posts Career-Best with Eighth in World Juniors Sprint; First Canadian Top-10

Canada's Aidan Millar racing in the individual competition earlier this week at World Junior Championships. (Photo: Jane Robertson)

Stepping up from youth to junior racing is supposed to be hard – but in doing so, Canmore’s Aidan Millar turned in his best result ever in international championship racing. “I’m finding it hard to believe that I was actually able to get that result,” he wrote of finishing 8th in the 10 k sprint in Belarus.

Vermont’s Levins 18th in World Youth Champs Sprint, In Second International Race of Career

Chloe Levins of Rutland, Vermont, used clean shooting to skate her way to 18th place in the 6 k sprint at World Youth Championships in Raubichi, Belarus, on Friday. (Photo: U.S. Biathlon)

When Chloe Levins arrived in Belarus, she had been sick and missed a training block. She wasn’t thrilled with her first race, but by the time round two rolled around she was ready: Levins cleaned all ten targets to place 18th. Pearce Hanna led the Canadian team by finishing 34th in the men’s 7.5 k sprint.

Photo Gallery: Tam Von Burg, Churchill Take Wins on First Day of Canada Games

Photo: Daniel Guay.

Benjamin Churchill of Alberta took a “wildly unexpected” win in the 15 k individual, while Leilani Tam Von Burg of Ontario won the 12.5 k in the first day of biathlon competition in Prince George, British Columbia.

Canada Notches Best-Ever Fifth in Men’s Biathlon Relay, Team ‘Pushing For Even Better Result’

The Canadian men's relay team of Christian Gow and Brendan Green (left) and Nathan Smith and Scott Gow (right) poses with head coach Matthias Ahrens in Oslo after placing fifth in the 4 x 7.5 k competition. (Photo: Rosanna Crawford)

The Canadian men have a new relay team this year, but that isn’t stopping them from achieving new heights: Christian Gow, Nathan Smith, Scott Gow, and Brendan Green finished fifth in Oslo today, a minute and a half behind the winning Russian team.

Shipulin’s Strategic Wiles Help Him Outsprint Schempp for Russia’s Relay Win

Anton Shipulin of Russia leading Simon Schempp of Germany on the final loop of the relay.

Two men left the range for the final time within half a second’s time, and they played a cat-and-mouse game over the final kilometers of Sunday’s biathlon World Cup relay in Oslo, Norway. Russia’s Anton Shipulin proved the smarter racer, gaining his team a 0.2-second win.

Czech Women Assert Relay Dominance, Take Third Win of Season; Canada Eighth in Oslo

Sarah Beaudry anchoring the Canadian women's relay to eighth place in Oslo, Norway, on Sunday. (Photo: Biathlon Canada/NordicFocus.com)

Gabriela Soukalova and Veronika Vitkova are stars on the biathlon circuit. But their younger teammates Eva Puskarcikova and Jitka Landova are proving just as essential in building a relay behemoth: with their third win this eason, the Czechs are favorites going into World Championships. Canada finished eighth with a brand-new relay lineup.

Peiffer Pulls Upset in Holmenkollen Sprint; Smith 22nd, Nordgren 29th

Germany's Arnd Peiffer surprised himself in winning Saturday's 10 k sprint at the IBU World Cup in Oslo, Norway, by 3.3 seconds over France's Martin Fourcade. (Photo: IBU/Christian Manzoni) http://www3.biathlonworld.com/en/press_releases.html/do/detail?presse=2449

Germany’s Arnd Peiffer started late and finished faster than anyone else to win the men’s 10 k sprint on the second day of IBU World Cup racing at Holmenkollen, and Nathan Smith and Leif Nordgren hit 95 percent of their targets to finish in the top 30 on Saturday.

Crawford 13th for Canada; Dreissigacker Cleans for Career-Best 16th in Holmenkollen Sprint

Hannah Dreissigacker (US Biathlon) racing to 33rd in the IBU World Cup 15 k individual on Thursday in Oslo, Norway. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

Belarusian Darya Domracheva took the overall IBU World Cup leader’s bib from Finland’s Kaisa Mäkäräinen with a 14.3-second win in Saturday’s sprint, and Rosanna Crawford finished 1.6 seconds out of 10th in 13th for Canada. American Hannah Dreissigacker had her best result of the season in 16th with perfect shooting.

Another First for Smith: 12th with 19-for-20 Shooting in Holmenkollen 20 k; Nordgren Notches 20th

Leif Nordgren (US Biathlon) racing to 20th in Thursday's IBU World Cup 20 k individual at Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway, for his best 20 k result. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

Nathan Smith shot 19-for-20 for the first time in a 20 k individual race to place 12th on Thursday, and Leif Nordgren did the same to finish 20th, which stood as career-best 20 k results for both. France’s Martin Fourcade won the race with perfect shooting, and the top-three men all cleaned.

Mäkäräinen Wins Holmenkollen Individual by More Than a Minute; Dunklee 11th, Heinicke 12th

Susan Dunklee (US Biathlon) racing to 11th in Thursday's 15 k individual at the IBU World Cup in Oslo, Norway. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

Finland’s Kaisa Mäkäräinen shot 20-for-20 for the first time to win a 15 k, and Canada’s Megan Heinicke and Audrey Vaillancourt cleaned as well to place 12th and 30th, respectively. It was Heinicke’s fourth top-15 of the season and Vaillancourt’s career best, and American Susan Dunklee raced to 11th overall.

Smith Hits New Career High, Fifth in Nove Mesto Pursuit with Perfect Shooting

Canada's Nathan Smith at his first-ever awards ceremony after placing a career-best fifth on Sunday in the IBU World Cup 12.5 k pursuit in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. (Photo: Biathlon Canada/NordicFocus)

Canada’s Nathan Smith made headlines for the second-straight day with his second-straight clean race, hitting all 20 targets to place fifth in Sunday’s IBU World Cup pursuit. Leif Nordgren led the U.S. in 20th, and Slovenia’s Jakov Fak remained untouchable in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

Domracheva Hangs Tough, Holds Off Mäkäräinen in Snowy Pursuit; Dunklee 18th

Darya Domracheva (Belarus) celebrates her 6.8-second pursuit win over Finland's Kaisa Makarainen on Sunday at the IBU World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. (Photo: BU/ Květoslav Frgal)

Darya Domracheva literally weathered the storm better than anybody in Nove Mesto, including Finland’s Kaisa Mäkäräinen, to win Sunday’s 10 k pursuit by 6.8 seconds. Susan Dunklee started ninth and led the U.S. in 18th with five penalties on an especially challenging Sunday.

Smith Sees the Light with Best-Ever Seventh; Fak Fastest Sharpshooter in Nove Mesto Sprint

Slovenia's Jakov Fak shot 10-for-10 and skied faster than anyone else to win Saturday's 10 k sprint at the IBU World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. (Photo: IBU/Květoslav Frgal)

Canada’s Nathan Smith improved 71 places since his last World Cup sprint for a career-best seventh with perfect shooting in the Saturday’s IBU World Cup sprint in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. Three Canadian men qualified for Sunday’s pursuit, with Brendan Green in 22nd and Macx Davies in 54th.

Nordgren ‘Almost Perfect’ with All-Time Best 16th in Nove Mesto Sprint

Leif Nordgren (US Biathlon) racing to a career-best World Cup result of 16th on Saturday in the men's IBU World Cup 10 k sprint in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

Canada’s Nathan Smith wasn’t the only North American who tallied a career best in the men’s IBU World Cup sprint on Saturday; Leif Nordgren of the U.S. finished 16th with 9-for-10 shooting and all three American men qualified for Sunday’s pursuit.

21-Year-Old Dahlmeier Wins First IBU World Cup; Dunklee Ninth, Cook 28th for U.S.

Anneiles Cook took 28th in the IBU World Cup 7.5 k sprint, earning her third-best World Cup sprint result ever (Photo: U.S. Biathlon/Nordic Focus)

Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier squeaked ahead of teammate Franziska Hildebrand on the final loop to earn her first-ever IBU World Cup victory. American Susan Dunklee took ninth to capture her third-straight top-10 result, while American Annelies Cook had one of her best World Cup results ever in taking 28th.

Nordgren’s Solid Shooting Lifts U.S. in Mixed Relay; Doherty Anchors Team to Seventh

Leif Nordgren (US Biathlon) raced the third leg of Friday's IBU World Cup mixed relay to put his team in fourth heading into the final exchange in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. The U.S. ended up seventh. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

Since building his confidence back at Open European Championships last week, Leif Nordgren is still on the rise, using just one spare on Friday to bring his team up to fourth in the IBU World Cup mixed relay. The Americans finished seventh and just 0.2 seconds from sixth.

Cook, Burke Rally for Ninth in Debut Single Mixed Relay in Nove Mesto

Annelies Cook (6) heads out of the mass start in Friday's single mixed relay at the IBU World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. Cook and teammate Tim Burke went on to place ninth for the U.S. in the first of two mixed relays on Friday. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

He felt a little weird saying it, but Bernd Eisenbichler viewed Friday’s single mixed relay — a brand-new event which was first tested in Oslo last season — as a “good training opportunity” for US Biathlon’s Annelies Cook and Tim Burke. The two teamed up for ninth on the first day of the IBU World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

Nordgren Battles from 51st to 19th in Open European Champs Pursuit, Ready to Rejoin World Cup

Leif Nordgren racing to 19th place in the 12.5 k pursuit at Open European Championships. (Photo: US Biathlon)

Leif Nordgren missed two weeks of training and the first weekend of World Cup racing after coming down sick over his holiday break. After a less-than-satisfying return to elite competition, he hatched a plan to use Open European Championships to get revved back up. In today’s pursuit, he did just that.