In an effort to showcase the North Americans competing at this week’s International Biathlon Union (IBU) 2018 Youth and Junior World Championships in Otepää, Estonia, we asked those qualifying athletes several questions about themselves — actually, we had them fill in the blanks. Here we have 17-year-old Emma Stertz, of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, who is representing the United States at her first World Youth Championships.
“My full name is Emma Stertz but you can call me Stertzy.
I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MN, and I learned to ski at Mt Itasca Winter Sports Center.
I spent the time between World Youth/Junior trials and Worlds racing for my high school ski team.
The hardest workout I did in the last training year to prepare for this was a bike ride up Mt. Evans in Colorado with Minnesota Biathlon.
One thing I’m working on this season to improve my biathlon is staying focused while shooting.
This is my first time in Estonia and first time racing internationally, and so far it’s been full of learning experiences.
One difference I’ve noticed between Estonia and the United States is the buildings are triangular.
One of the things I’m most excited about for World Youth/Junior Championships in Otepää is meeting and competing with people from all over the world.
One race I’m especially targeting there is the sprint.
Watching the Olympics in the leadup to my own races was inspiring. One of my favorite moments of the Games was watching Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins win gold. I want to be like Jessie Diggins, because she brings so much excitement and positive energy to a team.
At Worlds, I really hope I can chat/make friends with someone from Denmark and ask them to trade clothes.
My favorite thing at the breakfast where we are staying is the Muesli.
Before this trip, if you said “Estonia”, the first thing I’d think of would have been it’s by Finland and Russia.
Now that I’m here, I’m pretty sure something I’ll always remember will be the people I’ve met.
If I had a totally free day here and didn’t have to worry about race fitness or training, I’d spend it exploring the town and trying all sorts of Estonian foods.
The best way to follow me on social media is on Instagram@emma_stertz.”