US Biathlon U.S. 12th in women's...

U.S. 12th in women's relay at IBU World Championships

March 13, 2015, 1:47 p.m. (ET)

Photos from the women's relay at the IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland, on March 13, 2015

KONTIOLAHTI, Finland (March 13, 2015) - The U.S. team of Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) combined their efforts for a 12-place finish in Friday's women's 4x6-kilometer relay at the IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland. The quartet completed the course using 14 spares in a time of 1:15:39.4, just over five seconds away from 10th place. Germany took the gold medal, followed by France and Italy with the silver and bronze, respectively.

Dunklee started the opening leg of the race and quickly improved from the 21st start position among the 25 teams all the way up to second place as she entered the prone shooting stage. Two misses in prone knocked Dunklee all the way back to where she began, 21st place, 26.5 seconds off the pace. But those two misses turned out to be her only mistake on the first leg of the relay as she skied to the fastest course time (15:41.2), more than 10 seconds better than Germany's Franziska Hildebrand. Dunklee's superior skiing moved her up to 12th place entering the standing shooting, where she went clean to jump back up to seventh place, now just 14.4 seconds back of the lead. Powering up the grueling climb on the final loop, Dunklee was further closing the gap as she took over fourth place, 5.1 seconds back. By the time she tagged off to Dreissigacker, Dunklee had clawed her team back to third place, within a remarkable 3.7 seconds of the lead.

"Nothing in the world is as thrilling as chasing down skiers when you feel like you are in top physical shape," said Dunklee. "It's my favorite part about the scramble leg in the relay."

Dreissigacker hung tough in the skiing portion of the second leg, but three misses in prone and two in standing dropped the team to 11th place. At the second exchange with Cook, Dreissigacker had moved the team back into 10th place, just three seconds behind Norway in ninth position.

Cook skied hard up the climb to momentarily grab the eighth spot in the pack. After two misses in prone and two more in standing,the U.S. was back in 11th place as the tag was made to the rookie Egan for the final leg.

Skiing with some of the top names in the sport, Egan showed steely nerves like a veteran as she cleaned the prone stage to regain eighth place. However, three missed targets in standing left her in 13th place as she exited the range, eight seconds behind the Polish team, 19 seconds back of Austria, and 21 seconds behind 10th-place Canada. Egan dug deep to pass Poland and nearly caught Austria at the line, finishing less than a second back and just five seconds from Canada in 10th place.

"Tonight was a tightly contested race and my three teammates handed off to me right in the mix," Egan said. "It was exhilarating to clean in prone and also to ski fast enough out on the course to pass some of my competitors. In those two parts of this race and this sport, I am starting to fit in at this level. In standing, though, I had to take a long time and use all three spares, and took our team from eighth place back to 13th. I am not quite there yet, but I was very proud of myself for hitting my last shot with the spare round to stay out of the penalty loop. I passed one person on my final lap and came within seconds of catching two more. I just needed a few more meters."

Wrapping up the season's relay events with a solid performance was gratifying to both Dunklee and Egan.

"We matched our season-best performance in our last team event of the season and I couldn't ask for better teammates to share it with," Dunklee said.

"Overall, this was a solid day for our team," added Egan. "This has been a season of rebuilding in the absence of two-time Olympian Sara Studebaker, so I have big shoes to fill. We are looking forward to continued improvement next season."

Full women's relay results are available here.

The IBU World Championships presented by BMW continue Saturday with the men's 4x7.5k relay, featuring the American quartet of Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H). The race will be streamed live on Eurovision, beginning at 11:15 a.m. EDT, with English commentary by Chad Salmela. See the broadcast schedule below for the live streams on Eurovision and the highlight packages on the Universal Sports Network.

Women's 4x6km relay

1. Germany (Hildebrand, Preuss, Hinz, Dahlmeier) 1:11:54.6/0+6
2. France (Bescond, Latuilliere, Braisaz, Dorin Habert) 1:12:54.9/1+9
3. Italy (Vittozzi, Oberhofer, Gontier, Wierer) 1:13:00.7/0+9
12. USA (Dunklee, Dreissigacker, Cook, Egan) 1:15:39.4/0+14

Broadcast schedule

Date

Eurovision (Live Stream)

Universal Sports

Mar. 5

Mixed relay: 11:15 a.m.

 

Mar. 7

Men’s sprint: 7:00 a.m.

Women’s sprint: 10:30 a.m.

 

Mar. 8

Men’s pursuit: 8:15 a.m.

Women’s pursuit: 11:00 a.m.

 

Mar. 9

 

Mixed relay (from Mar. 5): 8-9 p.m.

Mar. 10

 

Men’s sprint & pursuit (from Mar. 7-8): 8-9 p.m.

Mar. 11

Women’s individual: 12:15 p.m.

Women’s sprint & pursuit (from Mar. 7-8): 8-9 p.m.

Mar. 12

Men’s individual: 12:15 p.m.

 

Mar. 13

Women’s relay: 12:15 p.m.

 

Mar. 14

Men’s relay: 11:30 a.m.

Men’s relay (same-day): 7-8 p.m.

Mar. 15

Women’s mass start: 8:30 a.m.

Men’s mass start: 11:00 a.m.

Women’s mass start (same-day): 6-7 p.m.

Men’s mass start (same-day): 7-8 p.m.

 

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Related Athletes

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Susan Dunklee

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Clare Egan

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