CANMORE, Alberta, Canada (February 7, 2016) - A fantastic effort by the American foursome of Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) left Team USA less than two seconds from the medals in fourth place in Sunday's mixed relay at the BMW IBU World Cup 7 in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
After a blustery day on Saturday, the athletes got a break today with crystal clear skies and little wind for today's competition.
Dunklee cleaned in prone and used three spares in standing to tag off to Dreissigacker in fifth place, 16.3 seconds out of the lead. Dreissigacker hit nine of 10 targets to move the American squad up to fourth as Burke headed out for his leg. After one penalty and needing to use three spares, Burke kept the team entrenched in fourth as he made the final exchange with Bailey. After cleaning prone, Bailey needed two spares in standing and left the shooting range in fifth place. In the final stretch, Bailey chased down Canada's Brendan Green and nearly caught Norway's Haavard Bogetveit at the line, finishing just 1.7 seconds back of the bronze medalists.
"I'm very happy with my race and the performance of the rest of the team too," said Dreissigacker. "I had awesome skis, good people to ski with, and I finally feel like I've recovered my confidence in the shooting range. It was a really really fun race!"
"We've always believed we could pop a top result in the mixed relay and today we did it," added Dunklee.
"Today was about as exciting as it gets," Bailey said. "It was a great team result, starting with two solid legs from Susan and Hannah. Tim kept us in it, and by the time I went out on course, it was anyone's race. I'm happy with the way things went. Of course I would love to have hit one more shot from the clip but that's just how things went today. I had a little extra on the last lap but just couldn't quite catch Norway for the bronze. It's a little bittersweet, and I know everyone would have liked to step on the podium today, but we have good momentum moving towards Presque Isle and world championships after that. Overall, we are satisfied with the week and looking forward to getting back to the States."
The German team of Franziska Hildebrand, Franziska Preuss, Arnd Peiffer and Simon Schempp dominated the mixed relay, winning in 1:05:38.8, over 1:12 ahead of second-place Italy and 1:23.8 ahead of third-place Norway.
In the single mixed relay earlier in the day, the team of Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) placed 16th with a time of 41:19.1, with one penalty and 14 spare rounds. The French team of Martin Fourcade and Marie Dorin Habert, with just four spare rounds, easily won the race in 37:59. Austria (Lisa Theresa Hauser and Simon Eder) finished second, with four spares, 45.2 seconds back, while Norway (Hilde Fenne and Lars Helge Birkeland), with seven spares, was third, 55.3 seconds back.
"Unfortunately, neither of us had a great shooting day today," said Nordgren. "In this shorter relay format the shooting is so much more important. Since the loop is so short I really tried to push the pace in shooting today to see if I could gain some time there, but I was always just a little off, especially in prone, so I didn't manage to catch anyone until my final loop. I know Annelies and I were hoping for more, but that's just the way biathlon goes sometimes. It got plenty cold overnight so the tracks were in perfect condition, and our wax techs did a great job to deliver us some really fast skis."
"The single mixed is a super fun race and I enjoyed it a lot," added Cook. "I would have enjoyed it even more if I had not had such bad standing shooting. I underestimated how hard I was breathing to come in, but I felt good skiing and had a hard time holding back. It was a perfect course for me and I was proud of Leif for chasing people down after I tagged off to him too far back."
The World Cup now shifts to America and Presque Isle, Maine, for BMW IBU World Cup 8, Feb. 11-14.
Single mixed relay results
|1.||France (Dorin Habert, M. Fourcade)||37:59.0/0+4|
|2.||Austria (Hauser, Eder)||38:44.2/0+8|
|3.||Norway (Fenne, Birkeland)||38:54.3/0+7|
||USA (Cook, Nordgren)
Mixed relay results
|1.||Germany (Hildebrand, Preuss, Peiffer, Schempp)||1:05:35.8/0+4|
|2.||Italy (Wierer, Oberhofer, Hofer, Windisch)||1:06:51.7/1+10|
|3.||Norway (Olsbu, Solemdal, Os, Bogetveit)||1:07:02.6/0+7|
||USA (Dunklee, Dreissigacker, Burke, Bailey)