Junior skier set to compete at the Biathlon World Junior Championships


courtesy of Amanda Kautzer

Kautzer skis up a small hill during one of the 2013 World Junior Championships trial runs in Presque Isle, Maine.

Abe Fortier, Staff Writer

Junior Amanda Kautzer started nordic skiing at a young age and since then blossomed into an extremely gifted skier, collecting both state and national honors throughout her career. Over a year ago, Kautzer sparked an interest in participating in the Biathlon, a winter sport involving cross country skiing and rifle shooting. After making preparations and working hard throughout the year, she achieved her goal of being chosen for the Junior World Championship.

Kautzer is no stranger to pressure as she has previously participated in the Junior National Championships and won the classic sprint race for her age group. “Amanda is an extremely talented skier. She is the national champion for classic skiing sprints. Having that level of skill on the team is really beneficial to all of the other skiers. Being able to see what perfect ski technique looks like makes it easier to learn,” senior captain Rachel Conley said.

Kautzer made the short trip to Mt. Itasca in December 28 to ski in the Junior World Championship Biathlon and finished fourth amongst all other women participating. “I’ve been working really hard the last year and a half, and it’s nice to see that work pay off,” Kautzer said.

This February, Kautzer and her team, made up of four members, will travel to Minsk, Belarus for the World Championships to compete against athletes from over 30 nations “I never expected these kind of results when I started biathlon. I’m honored to be chosen, but more importantly I’m proud of my teammates and friends that qualified as well,” Kautzer said.

On the first day of the qualifying event, Kautzer participated in a 7.5k race and placed third in the event 11 seconds behind a teammate.

On the second day, there was a Pursuit 10k race and four shooting stages. Kautzer placed third with only eight penalties, keeping in range of the Junior World Team selection. “The track was a fast track with a few tough climbs, but the conditions were perfect. On the other hand, during the shooting, it became very difficult to shoot accurately with the temperatures dropping and the wind picking up,” Kautzer said.

The frigid temperatures on the third day made both skiing and shooting significantly more difficult, but Kautzer prevailed in her last event: the 7.5k sprint competition finishing in third place.

Having finished 7th place in all of her 2013 Junior World Championship qualifying rounds, placing 3rd in all of the same events is a testament to her hard work, dedication to the sports and progression throughout her career. “It will be my first experience racing in Europe against the best juniors in the world. I’m also really excited to experience the culture of Belarus because I’ve never been there,” Kautzer said.