Nathan Smith

(ISN) – POKLJUKA, Slo.—The two leaders of the Canadian Biathlon Team hit the start line for a mass start race with the best 30 biathletes on the planet and proved they belong as both skied into the top-15.

Calgary’s Nathan Smith finished in ninth for the second time on the young 2014 campaign, while Rosanna Crawford capped off the pre-Christmas period in 12th.

Smith, 28, missed one shot in each of his first and final stops at the range en route to posting one of the best results of his career with a time of 35:47.2 in the men’s 15-kilometre mass start race.

Russia’s Anton Shipulin hung on for the victory despite missing one shot, posting a time of 35:16.8. Martin Fourcade, of France, was second at 35:18.0 (0+0+0+1), while Austria’s Simon Eder skied to the bronze medal with a time of 35:18.2 (0+0+1+0).

Meanwhile, Rosanna Crawford capped off the most successful World Cup week of her career with a 12th-place finish in the women’s 12.5-kilometre mass start race. Feeding off a fourth and seventh-place finish earlier this week, the 26-year-old clocked-clocked in at 35:44.0. Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., missed one shot in her first three rounds of shooting.

“My confidence is building each race, and I can definitely feel that a podium is within reach, but I’m staying focused on the process,” said Crawford heading into the weekend. “Continuing to ski well and hitting the targets will be the key to success. I’m excited to see what the rest of the season will bring.”

Finland’s Kaisa Makarainen won the women’s race with a time of 34:18.8. Anais Bescond, of France, shot clean to claim the silver medal with a time of 34:26.4. Nadezhda Skardino, of Belarus, was also clean in shooting to grab the final spot on the women’s podium with a time of 34:34.6.