Top-20 finishes for Dunklee and Nordgren in Oslo

Photos from the men's and women's individual races at the IBU World Cup in Oslo, Norway, on February 12, 2015

Feb. 12, 2015, 11:27 a.m. (ET)

OSLO, Norway (February 12, 2015) - Some fantastic shooting propelled Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) to top-20 finishes as IBU World Cup 8 got underway Thursday in Oslo Holmenkollen, Norway. Dunklee placed 11th in the women's 15-kilometer individual race, while Nordgren crossed the line in the men's 20km individual race with the 20th-best time.

On a foggy but calm morning, Dunklee hit 18 of 20 targets, missing just one shot at the last prone and another at the last standing stage She stopped the clock with a time of 48:01.9, less than three seconds out of 10th place.

"My plan going into the race was to be patient," said Dunklee. "I felt tired after the Nove Mesto races and wasn't sure how my body would respond today. I started conservatively and sped up. Going into the last shooting stage, I knew I was doing well. After a disappointing miss on the first shot, I realized my biggest challenge for the day was to regain focus for those next four, and I think I did that well."

Finland's Kaisa Makarainen led the women's race wire-to-wire, shooting clean and winning with a time of 43:54.8. Second place went to Darya Domracheva of Belarus, with one penalty, 1:18.3 back. Veronika Vitkova of Czech Republic also shot clean and finished third, 1:20.9 back. Dunklee's time was 4:07.1 off the winning pace of Makarainen.

Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) came in 33rd (50:54.8/+3), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) was 55th (52:13.0/+4), and Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) placed 82nd (56:23.8/+6). Full women's individual results are available here.

The foggy morning turned into a clear, windless afternoon for the men's individual race, and Nordgren built off of his successful World Cup last week in the Czech Republic by hitting 19 of 20 targets and skiing to a time of 54:32.1. His only miss came on his opening shot in the first prone stage, and he finished less than one second from 19th place.

"Today was nearly a perfect race for me," Nordgren said. "A lot of things came together. It was a shame to miss that first shot in prone, but I had a split bullet in the second prone that barely turned the target white, so luck goes both ways, I guess."

Nordgren also credited his equipment and the right game plan suited for the conditions he faced in Oslo.

"I had pretty killer skis again today, and that was a big bonus in the conditions we had. It's been really warm here in Oslo the past few days and today the track was no different. There were some parts that were OK, where the snow was sticking together and still pretty hard packed, but other places on course, especially some of the hills that get more sun, were quite deep and mushy. Talking to my coach, Per, before the race, we came up with a good plan, to ski a little more conservative and focus on good gliding in the mushy parts, then use the hard pack sections to really push the pace and attack. I think that worked really well for me, and I think I skied every loop pretty similarly. Now for a little bit of rest. This is the hardest race we do, and today the conditions made sure it was going to be a tough day."

France's Martin Fourcade had a clean-shooting victory in the men's race with a time of 51:26.8. Russia's Evgeniy Garanchev took second, 14.2 seconds back, while Ukraine's Sergey Semenov was third, 48.8 seconds behind. Nordgren's time was 3:05.3 off of Fourcade's time.

Other U.S. finishers included Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) in 47th (56:37.1/+4) and Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) in 62nd (58:15.2/+3). Full men's sprint results are available here.

Competitors will enjoy a rest day on Friday before resuming with the men's and women's sprints on Saturday. The women's 7.5km sprint begins at 5:15 a.m. EST, with the men's 10km sprint following at 8:15 a.m. EST. Live streaming coverage, as well as replays of both races can be seen here.

Women's 15km individual

1. Kaisa Makarainen (FIN)


2. Darya Domracheva (BLR) 45:13.1/+1
3. Veronika Vitkova (CZE) 45:15.7/+0
11.  Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) 48:01.9/+2
33. Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) 50:54.8/+3
55. Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) 52:13.0/+4
82. Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) 56:23.8/+6

Men's 20km individual

1. Martin Fourcade (FRA) 51:26.8/+0
2. Evgeniy Garanichev (RUS) 51:41.0/+0
3. Sergey Semenov (UKR) 52:15.6/+0
20. Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) 54:32.1/+1
47. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) 56:37.1/+4
62. Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) 58:15.2/+3