This year’s World Junior/Youth Championships are off to a start this week in Torsby, Sweden.
The first races were in the individual start format: 12.5/15 kilometer Junior and Youth Men’s races were held yesterday and 10/12.5 km Junior and Youth Women’s races were held today. There will be three more races in both divisions in the next five days including sprint, pursuit, and relay races.
After last year’s World Junior Championships in Canmore, Leif Nordgren took home three top-30 results, but said that he had “left feeling disappointed”.
Nordgren, a member of the U.S. Biathlon Team, showed on Wednesday that he was capable of much better results at this year’s competition. Despite difficulties shooting (2,0,2,0) Nordgren still landed just 11.5 seconds out of the top ten in 11th place.
Nordgren ended up 3:46 behind first place Yann Guigonnet of France, who had just one penalty. Italy’s Michael Galassi came in second (1,0,1,1) and Germany’s Tom Barth, shooting clean, finished third.
Nordgren was the only U.S. racer in the Junior category. The next top American was Canada’s David Gregoire, who placed 30th with two penalties.
In the women’s Junior race Yolaine Oddou of Canada was the first American, in 23rd. U.S. biathlete Grace Boutot came in 34th with 5 penalties and teammate Addie Byrne was 48th with 6 penalties. Reka Farencz of Romania was the race winner, with zero penalties.
Martin Maier (AUT) won the Men’s Youth races. Canada’s Christian Gow took 23rd (0,1,1,1) as the top American finisher while U.S. racers Eathan Dreissigacher placed 43rd, Raileigh Gossling placed 45th, Casey Smith placed 47th and Conrad Roberts placed 78th.
In the Women’s Youth races Canada’s Rose-Marie Cote shot clean in all four stages to place herself on the podium behind Russia’s Olga Galich and Elena Badanina, both with 2 penalties. Cote was 21 seconds down to second place and 1:46 off the winning pace. Canadian teammate Julia Ransom also had a good result, placing 11th with 3 penalities.
The U.S. had three finishers in the Youth division: Andrea Mayo (6 penalties, 57th), Kelly Kjorlien (5 penalties, 62nd), and Silke Hynes (6 penalties, 73rd).