KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia (March 17, 2016) - Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) raced to a 25th-place finish in the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint on Thursday as the final World Cup event of the season, BMW IBU World Cup 9, got underway in Khanty-Mansiysk. The result qualified Dunklee for Saturday's 10km pursuit race which features the top-60 finishers from today's sprint.
Dunklee logged the 10th-fastest ski time, but two misses on the range from the prone position dashed any hopes of reaching the podium in the 79-woman field. She crossed the line with a time of 22 minutes, 2.1 seconds. Dunklee is currently ranked 13th in the World Cup standings with two races to go...the pursuit on Saturday and the mass start on Sunday.
"Starting out with two misses was tough and far from ideal," said Dunklee. "I look forward to chasing down the tight pack in front of me during Saturday's pursuit."
Finland's Kaisa Makarainen won the women's sprint with one penalty in 20:42.3, taking the sprint title in Khanty-Mansiysk for the second year in a row. Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic shot clean to finish second, 3.1 seconds back. Norway's Marte Olsbu matched Soukalova on the shooting range to finish in a career-best third place, 4.8 seconds behind Makarainen.
Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) was the only other U.S. woman competing in Thursday's sprint and she finished just outside the qualifying window, tying for 63rd with three penalties and a time of 23:21.2.
"After getting off to a promising start with perfect prone shooting and fast skiing, I tied my worst shooting performance of the year with three standing penalties and missed qualifying for the pursuit by three places," lamented Egan. "This loss really hurts. I can only wish my teammates success now."
The U.S. women's team is presently ranked 14th in the Nations Cup standings.
The BMW IBU World Cup 9 continues on Friday with the men's 10km sprint. The race will be streamed live on Eurovision with English commentary by Chad Salmela beginning at 9:15 a.m. EDT. Competing for the U.S. will be Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.).
Women's 7.5km sprint results
|1.||Kaisa Makarainen (FIN)||20:42.3/+1|
|2.||Gabriela Soukalova (CZE)||20:45.4/+0|
|3.||Marte Olsbu (NOR)||20:47.1/+0|
|25.||Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)||22:02.1/+2|
|63(t).||Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)||23:21.2/+3|