NOVE MESTO, Czech Republic (February 7, 2015) - Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) chalked up her third consecutive top-10 World Cup finish and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) posted a career-best 16th during Saturday's sprint races at the IBU World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
Under clear skies, with little wind, and in front of another wildly enthusiastic crowd, Dunklee finished ninth in the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint in a time of 22:19.7 with one penalty. Her result comes on the heels of back-to-back season-best performances at the World Cup in Antholz, Italy -- an eighth place in the sprint, and a sixth place in the pursuit. On Saturday, Dunklee had a clean round in prone and one miss in standing, then turned in a strong last lap to go from 14th to 7th at the finish, eventually being bumped to ninth, 46.3 seconds behind winner Laura Dahlmeier of Germany who scored her first World Cup victory in 21:33.4. Second place went to Dahlmeier's teammate Franziska Hildebrand, one second back, as both Germans shot clean. Veronika Vitkova of Czech Republic finished third, with one penalty, 13.9 seconds back.
"The hilly course here is one of my favorites on the circuit and the full stadium is electrifying," said Dunklee. "My body felt good and it was a lot of fun to race today."
Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) was 28th (22:53.2/+1), Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) came in 39th (23:19.8/+2), and Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) placed 73rd (25:16.8/+4). Dunklee, Cook and Dreissigacker all qualify for Sunday's women's pursuit. Full women's sprint results are available here.
"Something about Nove Mesto seems to agree with our team," Dunklee added. "It's wonderful to have three women in the points."
Nordgren had just one penalty in standing to finish the men's 10km sprint in a time of 25:14.7 for his best-ever World Cup placement of 16th. His time was 1:04.8 behind Slovenia's Jakov Fak who took the victory in 24:09.9 with clean shooting. Germany's Simon Schempp finished second, 12.8 seconds back, while France's Jean Guillaume Beatrix was 26 seconds back in third.
"Today was almost a perfect race for me," Nordgren said. "I felt really good on the skis, a little tired from the race yesterday, but not too much to handle. With clean shooting in prone I had a lot of momentum to work with right off the bat. The miss in standing was a little deflating, but all I could do was push hard the last loop and see where I ended up. Leaving the range I heard I was only a few seconds behind the top 10, so that gave me a little extra fight for the last loop. We had really good skis, so I have to thank our wax techs for that. It's a new day tomorrow and I'm excited for it. I think I have some good momentum going into tomorrow."
Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) was 38th (25:50.6/+3) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) finished 57th (26:34.2/+3). Both will join Nordgren in Sunday's 12.5km pursuit. Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) is not competing at this World Cup as he recovers from an illness. Full men's sprint results are available here.
Sunday's women's pursuit race race begins at 7:00 a.m. EST, with the men's race to follow at 9:00 a.m. EST. Live streaming coverage of both races can be seen here.
Women's 7.5km sprint
|1.||Laura Dahlmeier (GER)||21:33.4/+0|
|2.||Franziska Hildebrand (GER)||21:34.4/+0|
|3.||Veronika Vitkova (CZE)||21:47.3/+1|
|9.||Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)||22:19.7/+1|
|28.||Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake N.Y.)||22:53.2/+1|
|39.||Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.)||23:19.8/+2|
|73.||Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)||25:16.8/+4|
Men's 10km sprint
|1.||Jakov Fak (SLO)||24:09.9/+0|
|2.||Simon Schempp (GER)||24:22.7/+0|
|3.||Jean Guillaume Beatrix (FRA)||24:35.9/+0|
|16.||Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.)||25:14.7/+1|
|38.||Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.)||25:50.6/+3|
|57.||Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.)||26:34.2/+3|