Cook Opens World Cup 6 With Top 20 Finish
(January 16, 2013) - Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY) had a
career-best 18th place finish and the top performance for Team USA in today's
7.5-kilometer sprint at World Cup 6 in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy. Starting with
bib 5, out of a field of 102 competitors, Cook shot clean in prone and missed
her first shot in standing, crossing the finish with a time of 21:38.9 for a
three-way tie for 18th place with Marie Laure Brunet (FRA) and Ann Kristin
Aafedt Flatland (NOR). Cook's career-best performance today - following her
previous personal-best 26th place in last week's 7.5k sprint in Ruhpolding -
was just 40 seconds behind the skiing time of today's winner, Slovakia’s
"Today was really fun for me," said Cook.
"I was nervous and excited to start 5th because I have never done that,
but the up side for me was that I knew I could wave to my parents on the start
line. I realize that is pretty dorky, but when they still get up in the middle
of the night to watch me race, I always feel a little better if they at least
get to see me.
I love this course. It
suits the way that I ski with lots of V2 and powerful strong skiing rather than
steep uphills. I also like how altitude feels. I was very aware that altitude
can change shooting and make it trickier because you don't have as much oxygen
and sometimes your eyes blur. It can have a much bigger affect that one might
think. I tried really hard to relax and keep that in mind. I had a good
ride with Kaisa Makkarainen and tried to keep her in my sights as she skied two
loops around me. I think that helped when I started to get tired. There was a
lot of great cheering to get me around the course on that last lap too. The
coaches kept yelling that every second counts," added Cook, who
finished just two seconds out of 14th place.
Kuzmina won today's sprint with clean shooting and a
time of 20:28.6, Kaisa Mäkäräinen (FIN) finished 16.7 seconds back, with a
single penalty to take second with a time of 20:45.3. Darya Domracheva
(BLR) finished third with one penalty and a time of 20:50.5.
After two weeks of challenging weather in Germany, the
conditions in Antholz-Anterselva were finally sunny and clear, with a slight
breeze at range. Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID), started with bib 23,
missed a shot each in in prone and standing, posting a finish time of 22:33.9
for 46th place. Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT), started today with
bib 58, missed two shots in prone, and picked up one penalty in standing to
cross the finish with a time of 22:39.4, taking 49th. place
Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, VT) made
her World Cup debut today with bib 86, cleaning her first round in prone. At
standing, Dreissigacker hit one target, picking up four penalties
and finishing with a time of 23:42.9 for 81st place. Extended
results from today's 7.5k sprint are available here.
"It was a very, very good performance for Annelies
today," said Bernd Eisenbichler, US Biathlon's high performance director.
"Today's performances by the women continue to show that we have several
strong contenders for top results. I was also really happy with Hannah and the
way she approached her first World Cup race, as well as Susan and Sara's
performances. Today was a good day for Team USA's women by earning Nation's Cup
points and showing we are on the way up."
Team USA's men will race tomorrow's 10k sprint
beginning at 8:30am (ET), which will be webcast live here.
Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) will start with bib 13, Lowell
Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) bib 20, Leif Nordgren (Marine,
MN) bib 34, Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) bib 65, and Russell
Currier (Stockholm, ME) bib 89. Tomorrow's start list and race results
will be available here.