PRESQUE ISLE — Algis Shalna, a coach on the U.S. junior biathlon team, held out the American flag and Sean Doherty grabbed it as he skied past.
And he certainly knew what to do with it.
With a large partisan crowd cheering him on and chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!,” Doherty waved the flag in his right hand as he crossed the finish line to win another gold medal in the IBU Biathlon Youth/Junior World Championships at the Nordic Heritage Center.
Doherty, an 18-year-old from Center Conway, N.H., pulled away from the field to win the youth men’s 10-kilometer pursuit Sunday. He finished in 28 minutes, 51.8 seconds, more than a minute faster than silver medalist Marco Gross of Germany.
Doherty also won the 7.5-kilometer sprint Friday. Gross started Sunday’s race just two seconds behind Doherty after finishing second Friday, but he couldn’t keep pace and wound up 1:03.6 behind Doherty.
“It’s awesome,’’ said Doherty, who competed in the Sochi Winter Olympics. “It’s so incredibly satisfying when it comes together in a race like today. And to really have that, in front of the home crowd, just makes it better.’’
That he was able to share it with his family made it even better. After his press conference, he hugged his father, Dan, and grandmother, Winnie O’Shaughnessy, in the media room.
“This is the first time we’ve seen him do this,’’ said his father. “We weren’t there last year (when Doherty won a gold and two silvers in the youth world championships in Austria). It was fun to watch.
“I’m proud of him. I know how hard he works. He deserves it.’’
It helped that Doherty – who missed four shots in Friday’s race – was much more efficient on the shooting range.
Doherty hit his first 14 shots – all 10 prone, the first four standing – and missed only three overall. Gross also missed only three shots, but one came in his first prone position and he immediately fell behind.
“I just had a good mindset,’’ said Doherty. “The wind today was just a little more predictable. I was able to keep a calm head, come in and execute and take good shots.’’
And with the home crowd cheering him on, Doherty kept pushing. He actually said he had to “block them out for most of the race’’ so he could focus on what he had to do. And that was to stay ahead of Gross. The two were alone for much of the race; Gross finished nearly a minute ahead of the bronze medalist, Dmitrii Shamaev of Russia.
“It was lonesome,’’ said Gross. “ No one in front of me, no one in back of me.’’
Asked if Doherty was beatable on Sunday, Gross shook his head. “With perfect shooting,’’ he said. “With three misses, with Sean, it’s not possible.’’
Brian Halligan was the next American finisher in 31st place (5:42.1 behind Doherty). Fort Kent’s Kamran Husain was 39th (6:27.8 behind Doherty). Husain moved up four spots from his finish in the sprint.
“I shot well,’’ said Husain, who missed six of 20 shots. “I had decent skiing. That was pretty good with the fast snow and being able to move up in the field a little bit.’’
In Sunday’s other races:
France’s Fabien Claude, fourth in Saturday’s sprint, came from 18 seconds behind to win the men’s junior 12.5-kilometer pursuit. He got out to a fast start and was clean on his first prone shooting station, while Russia’s Alexander Povarnitsyn, who started first, missed two shots.
Claude finished in 33:02.8, missing just four shots. Povarnitsyn, who missed six shots, finished 10.9 seconds behind. Norway’s Jarle Midthjell Gjoerven, who had the best shooting day with just two misses, won the bronze.
“Yesterday I was fourth, off the podium by just one second,’’ said Claude. “Today I wanted to do a great race, and it happened.’’
There was little suspense in the women’s races.
Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi won her second gold medal in three days in the youth women’s 7.5-kilometer pursuit, finishing in 24:39.9, 19.2 seconds ahead of Germany’s Anna Weidel – who took silver for the second consecutive race.
“In my mind I was very well prepared,’’ said Vittozzi. “But I didn’t expect the golds.’’
Weidel actually had fewer misses than Vittozzi – six to the Italian’s seven – but had a critical miss at the last shooting station and knew she couldn’t catch Vittozzi.
“But I am very satisfied with my silver,’’ said Weidel.
The junior women’s 10-kilometer pursuit was won by Galina Vishnevskaya of Kazakhstan, one day after she finished second in the sprint by three-tenths of a second.
“That was a huge motivation, losing so close,’’ she said.
Sunday she left no doubt. Her winning time of 32:36.3 was 57.8 seconds ahead of Germany’s Luise Kummer, who was the only competitor in both women’s races to shoot cleanly.
Sarah Beaudry of Canada was a surprise third, 2:08.0 behind Vishnevskaya. Beaudry started 2:37 behind the leaders.
Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at: