Soldier Hollow Welcomes World's Best Youth & Junior Biathletes

by US Biathlon

A picture of the Soldier Hollow venue
The Soldier Hollow venue plays host to the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships this week.

SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah (Feb. 22, 2022) – The biathlon venue at Soldier Hollow, home to the competition at the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Games, is set to host the 2022 IBU Youth/Junior World Championships beginning Feb. 22 and running through March 2. More than 330 athletes from 33 nations will be competing for 16 sets of medals during the seven days of competitions.

US Biathlon will be represented by 16 athletes at the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships set to open Saturday in Obertilliach, Austria. The eight-day annual championships will run from Feb. 27-March 6.

“We are looking forward to the start of the 2022 Youth and Junior World Championships in Soldier Hollow,” said U.S. Biathlon Director of Athlete Development Tim Burke. “This event has been a focal point for many of our junior athletes for a few years. The team had a great week of training here at the venue, and everyone is ready to give their best.” 

Several local Utah athletes will be competing close to home as members of the U.S. team, including 18-year-old Wes Campbell of Park City and Team Soldier Hollow.

“Competing at my hometown venue is nice because I do feel like I have the advantage of knowing the course by heart,” said Campbell who was a member of last year’s Youth/Junior World Championship team that competed in Obertilliach, Austria. “Soldier Hollow is also known for its challenging courses that I really like. Also, being in the U.S. is nice because I am not jet-lagged like almost all the other teams and it will be fun to have the local supporters here.”

Campbell will race for the U.S. Youth Team alongside Thor Shepard (West Yellowstone, Mont./Altius Biathlon), Cale Woods (Bozeman, Mont./Team Crosscut) and Matej Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn./Mt. Itasca Biathlon) and together represent the future of U.S. Biathlon…a future that may include racing for Team USA at the 2030 Olympic Games which could quite possibly land in Utah.

“Competing here is also nice because if the 2030 Olympics are held in Salt Lake, then I will be able to practice a highly competitive race at Soldier Hollow,” added Campbell. 

The U.S. women’s youth team is made up of Aurora Cramer (Boise, Idaho/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation), Sidney Bennion (Midway, Utah/Team Soldier Hollow), Molly Maybach (Boise, Idaho/Bogus Basin Nordic Team) and Alexandra Rud (Jar, Norway/Duluth Biathlon).

On the junior side, the eight athletes representing the U.S. include six veterans of the event. The junior men’s team is made up of Vincent Bonacci (Salt Lake City, Utah/Team Crosscut), Maxime Germain (Anchorage, Alaska/National Guard Biathlon), Bjorn Westervelt (Stowe, Vt./University of Vermont) and Nikolas Burkhart (Olympic Valley, Calif./Team Crosscut).

"I am super excited to be able to compete at a venue I am familiar with and have been competing and training at my whole life," said Salt Lake City native Bonacci. "It makes everything seem a little less intimidating and a little bit more fun. If the Olympics are awarded to here for 2030, and I am able to qualify for those, it will be amazing to be able to look back at this experience and think about how far I have progressed and how this venue has helped with that."

The junior women’s squad features Lexie Madigan (Truckee, Calif./Team Crosscut), Emma Stertz (Grand Rapids, Minn./St. Scholastica/Team Crosscut), Cheresa Bouley (Zimmerman, Minn./Minnesota Biathlon) and Helen Wilson (Eagle River, Alaska/Team Crosscut).

“The Youth and Junior World Championships are always a special event, but it feels even more so being the host nation,” Burke added. “The U.S. team is proud to show the world one of our best biathlon venues in a beautiful part of the country. We are all excited for a great week of racing.”

Junior Women
Lexie Madigan (Truckee, Calif./Team Crosscut)
Emma Stertz (Grand Rapids, Minn./St. Scholastica/Team Crosscut)
Cheresa Bouley (Zimmerman, Minn./Minnesota Biathlon)
Helen Wilson (Eagle River, Alaska/Team Crosscut)

Junior Men
Vincent Bonacci (Salt Lake City, Utah/Team Crosscut)
Maxime Germain (Anchorage, Alaska/National Guard Biathlon)
Bjorn Westervelt (Stowe, Vt./University of Vermont
Nikolas Burkhart (Olympic Valley, Calif./Team Crosscut)

Youth Women
Aurora Cramer (Boise, Idaho/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Sidney Bennion (Midway, Utah/Team Soldier Hollow)
Molly Maybach (Boise, Idaho/Bogus Basin Nordic Team)
Alexandra Rud (Jar, Norway; Duluth Biathlon)

Youth Men
Thor Shepard (West Yellowstone, Mont./Altius Biathlon)
Wes Campbell (Park City, Utah/Team Soldier Hollow)
Cale Woods (Bozeman, Mont./Team Crosscut)
Matej Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn./Mt. Itasca Biathlon)

2022 IBU Youth/Junior World Championships Schedule (all times Mountain):

Wednesday, Feb. 23
11:00 a.m. – Youth Men’s 12.5km Individual
2:00 p.m. – Youth Women’s 10km Individual

Thursday, Feb. 24
11:00 a.m. – Junior Men’s 15km Individual
2:30 p.m. – Junior Women’s 12.5km Individual

Friday, Feb. 25
11:00 a.m. – Youth Men’s 7.5km Sprint
2:00 p.m. – Youth Women’s 6km Sprint

Saturday, Feb. 26
11:00 a.m. – Junior Men’s 10km Sprint
2:00 p.m. – Junior Women’s 7.5km Sprint

Sunday, Feb. 27
11:00 a.m. – Youth Women’s 7.5km Pursuit
12:00 p.m. – Youth Men’s 10km Pursuit
2:15 p.m. – Junior Men’s 12.5km Pursuit
3:20 p.m. – Junior Women’s 10km Pursuit

Tuesday, March 1
11:00 a.m. – Youth Men’s 3x7.5km Relay
2:00 p.m. – Youth Women’s 3x6km Relay

Wednesday, March 2
11:00 a.m. – Junior Men’s 4x7.5km Relay
2:00 p.m. – Junior Women’s 4x6km Relay

You can also follow all the action on the IBU app - download it today!


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