Fort Kent native Grace Boutot became the first U.S. woman to medal in a youth-level competition at the Youth/Junior World Biathlon Championships when she placed second Thursday in the 10-kilometer individual race in Alberta, Canada.
Boutot, a senior at Community High School in Fort Kent, is also the first Maine native to medal in a world championship.
Twin sisters Lanny and Tracy Barnes, who trained at the Maine Winter Sports Center in Fort Kent, medaled at the junior level but are originally from Colorado.
“My goal was to get a top-10 finish here, and I certainly achieved that,” Boutot said in a release from U.S. Biathlon, which is the national governing body for the shooting-and-skiing sport. “I have overachieved.”
Boutot finished 1 minute, 3 seconds behind winner Yan Zhang of China, and hit 19 of 20 targets. Zhang, who also only had one missed shot, completed the course in 35:13.7.
According to the IBU site, Boutot’s miss came in her first shot of the race.
“I was trying to calm down my breathing and take the first shot,” Boutot said. “My finger got on the trigger a little too fast and I jerked it, hitting the white box below the target.”
The competitors dealt with wind gusts of around 31 miles per hour. Boutot faced a gust in her final shooting stage in the standing position.
“The last standing was really hard as it was very windy,” she said. “I waited to take the final shots. I knew it was better to wait for 10 or 20 seconds than to take a one-minute penalty for a miss.”
The last loop of the race was intense, Boutot added.
“I [didn’t] know how I was doing until then. I had no idea,” she said. “[U.S. coach Vladimir Cervenka] was screaming that I was second. There was a Swiss girl right next to me and we were fighting the entire loop.”
Boutot placed second in last fall’s high school state Class C cross country running championships.
Hilary McNamee of Fort Fairfield was 30th out of 40 finishers.
There are no competitions scheduled for Friday. The championships resume Saturday with sprint events followed by Sunday’s pursuit events.