Burke 4th and Dunklee 10th in Sprints

March 16, 2012, 4:52 p.m. (ET)

KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia (March 16, 2012) – Team USA had an outstanding opening day today at the E.ON IBU World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia with Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) placing 4th, andSusan Dunklee (Barton, VT) placing 10th in their respective Sprint events.

Burke posted a time of 27:03.6 (1+0) to finish 23.4 seconds back from today’s Sprint winner, World Cup leader Martin Fourcade (FRA) finishing at 26:40.2 (0+0). Arnd Peiffer (GER) took second (26:45.5/0+1), and Fredrik Lindstrom (SWE) was third with a time of 26:46.9 (0+0).

“ I am very happy with my race today,” said Burke.  “ I felt that I was still in good shape after World Championships and I have always liked the tracks here in Russia. I think the course suits my strengths well with lots of gradual climbing and little recovery.”

“When I came into the shooting range after the first loop I could see that Martin was still shooting, so I knew that I had probably made up time on him during the first loop and was off to a good start,” he added. “I was frustrated to miss my last prone shot but I was feeling good and just tried to keep the hammer down. After standing, I knew I was fighting for a top spot but I had no idea how close things were.  We are  short staffed here this week, so I did not get much info on the last loop.  I only knew that I was in 6th leaving the range.  But anytime you are in the top ten, you have to know that every few seconds will be a place.”

“ I have to give a huge thanks to our small staff of three here.  We have one coach and two wax technicians here, and they all did an incredible job with the skis in some really tricky conditions.  A lot of teams struggled with skis today despite having over twice the staff of our team.  I think that says a lot for the quality of our program,” explained Burke.

Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) finished 19th today with a time of 27:46.5 (1+0), followed by Lowell Baile (Lake Placid, NY) in 20th (27:47.2/1+1), and Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) in 37th (28:19.2/1+1). Extended results from the men’s 10km Sprint are available here

Dunklee continues to have an outstanding rookie season, posting a career-best 10th place Sprint finish today with a time of  23:14.6 (1+0), 1:03 back from today’s winner, World Cup leader Magalena Neuner (GER), posting a time of 22:11.5 (1+1). Vita Semerenko (UKR) took second finishing at 22:14.7 with clean shooting, and Darya Domracheva (BLR) was third ( 22:27.7/0+1).  Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID) finished 37th, posting 24:41.5 (1+1). Extended results from the Women’s 7.5km Sprint are available here.

" I had higher expectations for myself going into today, compared to where I've been the rest of the season, and I was delighted that the shooting came through for me. I missed my first shot in prone but felt very matter-of-fact about it and was able to reset for the rest. It was a great last sprint of the season," said Dunklee. 

World Cup biathlon continues tomorrow in Khanty-Mansiysk, with the men and women’s Pursuit. The men’s Pursuit begins at 6:30am (EST), followed by the women at 8:45am (EST). Fans can log on and watch the Pursuit live athttp://www.biathlonworld.com.