S. Burlington Friday, May 22nd
On the surface, biathlon and golf would seem to have very little in common, but digging deeper, Chloe Levins says the sports complement each other in very important ways.
"You need a mental stability and mental present awareness to be able to make that last putt on 18 or to hit the last target in the last shooting stage to get on the podium.", says Levins. "The connections, although they're subtle, they make or break a career in both sports."
And Levins has been able master those skills and excel at both sports. Levins fell in love with biathlon after taking part in a summer clinic at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center prior to her freshman year at Rutland High School. Levins then began quickly rising up the ranks. She's represented the U-S at the Youth and Junior World Championships every year since 2015, and competed in the 2016 Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, finishing fourth in the pursuit. And in April, Levins was named to the national U.S Biathlon team for the first time, one of three skiers named to the national squad's developmental team.
"It's really quite amazing that they see so much potential in me and that gives me hope and confidence as well.", says Levins.
On the links, Levins was a two-time D-1 individual state champion at Rutland, before going on to Middlebury College where she was a three-time all-NESCAC selection and 2019 NESCAC player of the year, and last summer, Levins won the 2019 Vermont women's amateur, but moving forward, her focus will be on biathlon.
"Unfortunately my golf game is going to take a backseat, but I'm still going to compete in the amateur events like the Vermont Am and hopefully the New England Am and try to qualify for the US Am if it works with the training schedule.", says Levins.
Levins just turned 22. Because of the time it takes to master this challenging sport, many biathletes do not reach their performance peak until their early 30s. Some may be intimidated by the thought of another decade of work ahead of them, but Levins can't wait.
"I'm really excited to be in training full-time.", says Levins. "It's what I've kind of dreamt about since I was a small child. I just see it as an opportunity to improve and more motivation to continue on."
Another Vermonter, Zane Fields of Woodstock, was also named to the U-S Biathlon developmental team. Three members of the U.S. senior team call Vermont home. Barton's Susan Dunklee, Hinesburg resident Leif Nordgren, and South Burlington's Hallie Grossman. Bjorn Westervelt of Stowe was named to the Junior National Team.