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U.S. Team Prepares For 2024 Youth and Junior World Championships

by Sara Donatello

With the 2024 Youth and Junior World Championships fast approaching, the 16 youth and junior athletes that make up Team USA have arrived in Otepää, Estonia to get acclimated before racing begins tomorrow, February 23. Over the course of eight days, U.S. athletes will race in mixed relay, individual, sprint, mass start 60 and relay events against the top youth and junior athletes from around the world. 


“The entire team is now in Estonia preparing for the first race tomorrow,” said U.S. Biathlon Director of Athlete Development Tim Burke. “The conditions have been excellent so far, with plenty of snow cover on the trails. This trip is the season's highlight for our youth and junior athletes. Here, they will have the opportunity to compete alongside other nation's top development athletes. These competitions will undoubtedly be motivating and a great learning experience for all and the staff here looks forward to working with each athlete to help them achieve their personal best.”


Hannah Chipman (Norwich, VT/Dartmouth College) and Dolcie Tanguay (Fort Kent, ME/Paul Smith’s College) return for their second Junior World Championships after racing last season in Schuchinsk, Kazakhstan, where Chipman had a season-best result. Alexandra Rud (Oslo, NOR/Duluth Biathlon) will race with the junior athletes this season, having raced at Youth World Championships last season, claiming the top result among the U.S. women with a 38th place finish in the sprint. Lexie Madigan (Truckee, CA/Auburn Ski Club), who made her IBU Cup debut in December alongside Tanguay, returns to her second Junior World Championships, her first since 2022 at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway, Utah.  


Van Ledger (Lake Placid, NY/Team Crosscut), a member of the fourth place men’s relay team at the 2023 Junior World Championships, returns with the hope of repeating his impressive performance last year. Thor Sheppard (West Yellowstone, MT/Team Altius), racing in his first Junior World Championships, is coming off a personal best 37th in the mass start 60 at Junior Open European Championships in Jakuszyce, Poland. Nathan Livingood (Bethel, Maine/Fort Kent Outdoor Center), who is also racing his first Junior World Championships, is looking to top his 36th place in last year’s sprint at Youth World Championships. Matej Cervenka (Grand Rapids, MN/Mt. Itasca Biathlon) will be racing in his first international competition of the season, but raced at Youth World Championships in Kazakhstan last year and will use his past experience to excel at the junior level in Estonia.


“The junior athletes had some great success this year after last season,” said U.S. Biathlon Junior National Team Head Coach Brian Halligan. “Our women were competing against an older crowd and having good results, which was awesome. For our men, a lot of them came into this season with the goal of building on their performance from last season and did just that. Overall, I'm impressed by everyone's ability to stay focused and have good races this season despite the terrible weather in Poland for Junior IBU Cup and Junior Open European Championships, but definitely looking forward to Junior World Championships with the rest of the team. It’s going to be an awesome week.”


Having recently represented the United States at the 2024 Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon, Korea, Emily Campbell (Park City, UT/Team Soldier Hollow) and Alexandria Taylor (Lincoln, MA/HSC Biathlon) are back for another round of international competition. This will be Campbell’s second Youth World Championships appearance and Taylor’s first. Virginia Cobb (Westford, VT/Ethan Allen Biathlon Club), who recently raced against junior athletes at Junior Open European Championships, will also be racing in her second Youth World Championships. Mirra Payson (Lexington, MA/HSC Biathlon) will make her international debut at Youth World Championships in tomorrow’s youth mixed relay. 


Alongside Campbell and Taylor, Elias Soule (Anchorage, AK/Anchorage Biathlon Club), John Lohuis (Anchorage, AK/Biathlon Alaska) and Noa Kam-Magruder (Anchorage, AK/Anchorage Biathlon Club) also represented the United States at the recent Youth Olympic Games. Soule will race in his second Youth World Championships, while Lohuis and Kam-Magruder will partake in their first. Aiden Sands (Mazama, WA/Team Altius) joins the Alaska trio to race in his first international competition, also making his debut in the youth mixed relay. 


Racing kicks off tomorrow at Tehvandi Stadium with the team of Soule, Sands, Cobb and Payson racing in the youth mixed relay at 3:30 ET/10:30 EET, followed by Ledger, Cervenka, Tanguay and Chipman toeing the line in the junior mixed relay at 7:00 ET/2:00 EET. Information regarding how to follow along can be found at usbiathlon.org/how-to-watch. For spectator information, visit usbiathlon.org/spectator-information.



2024 Youth/Junior World Championships - Otepää, Estonia

February 23

Youth Mixed Relay 3:30 ET/10:30 EET

Junior Mixed Relay 7:00 ET/2:00 EET


February 24

Youth M 12.5km Individual 3:30 ET/10:30 EET

Youth W 10km Individual 7:00 ET/2:00 EET


February 25

Junior M 15km Individual 3:30 ET/10:30 EET

Junior W 12.5km Individual 7:00 ET/2:00 EET


February 27

Youth M 7.5km Sprint 3:30 ET/10:30 EET

Youth W 6km Sprint 7:00 ET/2:00 EET


February 28

Junior M 10km Sprint 3:30 ET/10:30 EET

Junior W 7.5km Sprint 7:00 ET/2:00 EET


February 29

Youth M 12km Mass Start 60 3:00 ET/10:00 EET

Youth W 9km Mass Start 60 4:00 ET/11:00 EET

Junior M 12km Mass Start 60 6:20 ET/1:20 EET

Junior W 9km Mass Start 60 7:20 ET/2:20 EET


March 01

Youth M 3x7.5km Relay 3:30 ET/10:30 EET

Youth W 3x6km Relay 6:30 ET/1:30 EET


March 02

Junior M 4x7.5km Relay 2:45 ET/9:45 EET

Junior W 4x6km Relay 5:40 ET/12:40 EET

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