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Irwin and Levins Shine in Women’s Individual

by Sara Donatello

Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, WI/Army World Class Athlete Program) and Chloe Levins (Rutland, VT/Team Crosscut) led the U.S. Biathlon women with top performances in the women’s 15km individual, kicking off the second week of the 2024 IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. 

Starting in bib 23, Irwin took to the course with the top ski speed she has shown throughout the season, able to stay within 10 seconds of the fastest skiers. In the individual races, missed targets result in a one minute time penalty, as opposed to the typical penalty loops seen in sprint races. Irwin missed one target early in her first prone shoot, releasing the added pressure of shooting 20 for 20, and was able to clean the remaining three shooting stages. She crossed the line in ninth and ultimately landed in 11th place, just 38 seconds back from a top-10 result and +2.54 back from the individual World Champion, Lisa Vittozzi of Italy who shot clean. This is Irwin’s second best result of the season, after her eighth place in Lenzerheide, and third best career result. 

The added time penalty in place of penalty loops also played to Levins’ advantage. As someone who is known for her solid shooting performances, Levins held true to her title and shot a near-perfect 19 for 20. Her 42nd place finish was a World Cup and World Championships personal best, as well as a season-best result. 

“It was awesome out there,” said Levins. “We enjoyed a little bit firmer track than the previous days which was good for me personally. The range was pretty simple because there was no wind today. I had a lot of fun and was totally in flow today, which was awesome. I’m really happy to get a PR.” 

Jackie Garso (Lake Clear, NY/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, VT/National Guard Biathlon) both struggled on the range in a race where ski speed can only help so much. With the added time penalties, Garso landed in 84th and Geraghty-Moats finished in 91st. 
Focus now turns to the women’s 4x6km relay slated for Saturday, February 17 at 7:45 ET/1:45 CET, when the U.S. Biathlon women’s team will take to the course hoping to top their season best 11th from Oberhof, Germany earlier in the season. For information on how to watch, visit usbiathlon.org/how-to-watch. Spectator resources can be found at usbiathlon.org/spectator-resources.

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