Team USA 8th in World Cup Opening Mixed Relay

Nov. 27, 2016, 12:43 p.m. (ET)


OESTERSUND, Sweden (November 27, 2016) - The American foursome of Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) put in a strong effort to finish in eighth place in Sunday's mixed relay as the 2016-17 World Cup season kicked off with the BMW IBU World Cup 1 in Oestersund, Sweden.

Dunklee got the team off to a strong start with her first leg, tagging off to Egan in first place at the exchange, directly ahead of the teams from Norway, Sweden, France and Switzerland.

Bailey took the tag from Egan in 12th place, three seconds ahead of Ukraine, then went back and forth with Ukraine during his leg. He cleaned standing with one extra shot and moved the squad up to 10th place as he made the final exchange to Burke, two seconds ahead of Ukraine and just five seconds behind Switzerland.

Burke steadily moved up to eighth place, cleaning in five shots from the prone position. He then hit four of five from the clip and cleaned standing with eight shots to hold on to the eighth place position at the finish.

“No matter how well you've prepared, the first race of the season always creates a few extra nerves,” said Dunklee. “You just don't know how you are going to stack up. I am pleased with my performance today, particularly my improvement in shooting speed. As a team we didn't have a perfect day but it is clear that we have the ability to fight for a podium later in the season.”

"I think today was a solid start for the team," added Burke. "Of course we were hoping for more than 8th but I think this is a result that we can build on as the season progresses. Overall, I am happy with my performance today. I definitely have a some things that I need to continue to work on, but I am satisfied with my first race. Now I'm looking forward to a tough 20k next Tuesday on one of the hardest courses on the World Cup."

The Norwegian team of Marte Olsbu, Fanny Horn Birkeland, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Johannes Thingnes Boe dominated the season opening mixed relay, finishing in 1:10:57 and using six spares. The team from Germany was second, 33.7 seconds back while Italy took the last spot on the podium, with one penalty and 12 spares.

Later in the day, the team of Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) competed in the single mixed relay.

Reid cleaned her second prone from the clip to move up to 17th place and then cleaned standing with one extra shot putting her seven seconds down to Norway and just one second behind Finland. However, the team was lapped before the finish of the race.

The French team of Martin Fourcade and Marie Dorin Habert, with just four spare rounds, won the race in 31:41.7. Austria (Lisa Hauser and Simon Eder) finished second, with six spares, 23 seconds back, while Germany (Franziska Preuss and Erik Lesser), was third, 33.8 seconds back with five spares.

The World Cup in Oestersund continues on Wednesday with the women’s 15-kilometer individual race.

Mixed relay results

1.

Norway (Olsbu, Birkeland, Bjoerndalen, J. Boe)

1:10:57.1/0+6

2.

Germany (Hildebrand, Dahlmeier, Doll, Peiffer)

1:11:30.8/0+6

3.

Italy (Vittozzi, Wierer, Hofer, Windisch)

1:11:41.3/1+12

8.

USA (Dunklee, Egan, Bailey, Burke)

1:13:35.6/2+11

Single mixed relay results

1.

France (Dorin Habert, M. Fourcade)

35:43.5/0+0

2.

Austria (Hauser, Eder)

35:59.5/0+0

3.

Germany (Preuss, Lesser)

36:08.7/0+0

LPD.

USA (Reid, Nordgren)