The United States Biathlon Association (USBA) held three days of youth and junior biathlon trials racing in Jericho, Vermont, January 28-30. At the end of the series, USBA named this year’s team to Youth and Junior World Championships.
The competitions are slated for February. But the location is pending. The Championships were scheduled to be held in Ostrov, Russia, but the event was stripped from Russia due to allegations of state-sponsored doping and manipulation of anti-doping samples at other competitions previously held in the country.
Vasek Cervenka of Mount Itasca was the most successful athlete of the week. Cervenka, a youth competitor (under 19), nevertheless topped all men — including the junior racers (under 21). Cameron Christiansen of Nisswa NW finished 20 seconds back, besting the junior men’s field.
Cervenka then extended his lead in the next day’s pursuit. Cody Johnson of the Outdoor Sports Institute passed Christiansen to finish 31.1 seconds behind Johnson and take the junior win.
On day three it was back to sprint racing with Cervenka taking another vicotry, this time a 10.9-second win over Travis Cooper of National Guard Biathlon.
In the opening women’s sprint, Amanda Kautzer of Loppet Nordic Racing took the win. Like Cervenka, Kautzer is a youth but also topped the junior field. Hannah Streinz of the Outdoor Sports Institute placed second (+42.2) and the top junior.
But in the pursuit fellow youth Chloe Levins of Mountain Top Nordic raced to the front with only two penalties, besting Lexie Madigan of the Auburn Ski Club – who also had just two penalties – by 1:35.4. Nina Armstrong of Harvard College, the top junior, finished +4:54.2 with 11 penalties.
Then in the last day’s sprint, Madigan topped Levins by 15.5 seconds, with Armstrong again the top junior, +1:24.9.
USBA also named the athletes for the IBU Junior Cup (January 26-29 in Pokljuka, Slovenia) and the IBU Junior European Championships (February 1-5 in Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic). The women’s team will be Ellingson, Levins, and Kautzer, and Cervenka, Christiansen, Cooper, and Johnson will comprise the men’s team.
Youth and Junior World Championships team nominations
(from USBA press release)
Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt./Mountain Top Nordic Ski Club)
Amanda Kautzer (Plymouth, Minn./Loppet Nordic Racing/Michigan)
Lexie Madigan* (Truckee, Calif./Auburn Ski Club)
Grace Gilliland (Eagle River, Alaska/Alaska Biathlon)
Helen Wilson** (Eagle River, Alaska/Anchorage Biathlon Club)
*Lexie Madigan is below the age described in the IBU Rules and is awaiting confirmation for her participation.
**Helen Wilson is named as First Alternate to the team in the event that any member is not able to participate.
Vasek Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn./Mt. Itasca)
Jake Pearson (Casper, Wyo./Casper Mountain Biathlon Club)
Alex Kilby (Anchorage, Alaska/Alaska Winter Stars)
Eli Nielsen (Stehekin, Wash./Methow Valley Biathlon)
Siena Ellingson (Minnetonka, Minn./Loppet Nordic Racing)
Hannah Streinz (Hersey, Maine/Outdoor Sports Institute)
Nina Armstrong (Lake Placid, N.Y./Harvard College)
Cameron Christiansen (Pequot Lake, Minn./NNW)
Travis Cooper (Kenai, Alaska/National Guard Biathlon)
Cody Johnson (Fort Kent, Maine/Outdoor Sports Institute)
Peter Carroll (Truckee, Calif./Auburn Ski Club Biathlon Team)