US Biathlon U.S. Men 10th in Pye...

U.S. Men 10th in PyeongChang Relay

By Bill Kellick | March 05, 2017, 8:53 a.m. (ET)

Photos from the men's and women's relays on March 5, 2017 at the BMW IBU World Cup 7 in PyeongChang, South Korea

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (March 5, 2017) – The U.S. men's team challenged early and finished strong in Sunday's 4x7.5-kilometer relay as the BMW IBU World Cup 7 came to a close at the Olympic venue in PyeongChang. The American quartet of Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) placed 10th.

Bailey, who had just three misses on the shooting range in his previous six races, continued his stellar marksmanship on Sunday. After cleaning all 10 targets, he had Team USA in first place exiting the range. For the opening leg of the relay, Bailey had both the fastest shooting time and fastest range time. He made the first exchange with Nordgren in second place, just 5.5 seconds behind leader Norway.

"Today was much trickier on the range, with gusting winds that changed direction frequently," Bailey said. "(Maxim) Tsvetkov and (Lucas) Hofer set a brutal pace on the first lap, so I just tried to hang in the draft and bide my time until prone. Fortunately, I was able to clean quickly and get out in the lead group. From there, the pace was more manageable, which meant the pack grew so that we were back to 10 or 15 guys at the front for the standing shoot. There was a bit of wind and I just tried to take quality shots. I think a lot of guys struggled in the gusts and I was able to get out in front because of that. (Vetle Sjastad) Christiansen (NOR) gapped me on the back flat, and I started to come back to him on the hill section, but couldn't quite bridge the gap by the tag."

Nordgren maintained the team's hold on second place with a clean round from prone. After using two spares in standing, Nordgren tagged off to Schommer in seventh position, 49.6 seconds back of the leaders.

Schommer, skiing in his first career World Cup relay, needed three extra rounds in both prone and standing, and made the final exchange with Doherty for the anchor leg in 13th place. 

Doherty brought it home strong, using just one spare in standing to bring the team back up to 10th at the finish, 3 minutes, 12.8 seconds off the pace.

"The rest of the guys fought hard and it was a solid top-10 result," added Bailey. "It was Paul's first World Cup relay appearance and he did a great job, staying calm, and most importantly, staying out of the penalty loop."

The French team of Jean Guillaume Beatrix, Simon Fourcade, Simon Desthieux and Martin Fourcade dominated the relay, covering the tracks in 1:12:09 with 10 spares. Austria was second, 33.8 seconds back with nine spares, while Norway took the bronze medal with one penalty and eight spare rounds, 45.4 seconds behind France.

FULL MEN'S RELAY RESULTS

The American women's team of Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.) and Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.) had one penalty and used 10 spare rounds in finishing 14th, 3:08.3 off the winning time.

Egan started strong with a clean round from prone but had trouble in the standing position where she used three extra rounds and incurred the penalty. Dunklee received the tag from Egan in 19th place but brought the team back up to 14th by cleaning from prone and needing two spares in standing. She had the fastest course time in the field for the second leg.

Reid also cleaned from prone and used two extra rounds in standing, but moved the squad up to 11th place as she tagged off to Phaneuf for the final exchange. Phaneuf kept the team's streak of perfect shooting from prone intact, but needed three spare rounds in the final standing stage and crossed the line in 14th.

"There are a lot of fighting hearts on this team," Reid said. "We're not always the team with the best shooting, but I think every one of us has enough love for our teammates that we choose to fight for them, and for our staff that have put so much work into making our race successful.

"You can easily look at Susan who turned in the fastest range times and fastest course times as the embodiment of this, but it's in all of us. Clare, who was sick, penalty lapped, but put her head down and fought all the way to the end. Maddie, whose strength lies in courses in which she can use her power skiing, and this slow, soft snow that broke away underfoot wasn't one of those days, but she kept pushing on.

"Combined, our years of experience don't even match some of our male counterparts on their own. But we are aware of every piece we have to work on, and every one of us is dedicated to the process of learning and training and practicing until we can make it to the top. One team, one goal. See you in 2018, PyeongChang, and we'll be stronger then."

The German team of Nadine Horchler, Maren Hammerschmidt, Denise Herrmann and Franziska Hildebrand won the gold medal with a time of 1:07:35.6, despite one penalty and seven spares. Norway was second, 22.8 seconds back with one penalty and 11 spares, while the team from Czech Republic finished third, 22.9 seconds behind Germany with one penalty and nine spares.

FULL WOMEN'S RELAY RESULTS

Universal HD will broadcast a same-day replay of the men's and women's relays on Sunday from 3:30-5:30 ET.

Biathlon action will resume next weekend as the BMW IBU World Cup 8 takes place March 10-12 in Kontiolahti, Finland.

Men's 4x7.5km relay results

1. France (Beatrix, S. Fourcade, Desthieux, M. Fourcade  1:12:09.5/0+10
2. Austria (Waeger, Eder, Eberhard, Landertinger) +33.8/0+9
3. Norway (Christiansen, Bjoerndalen, Gjermundshaug, L'Abee-Lund)  +45.4/1+8
10.
USA (Bailey, Nordgren, Schommer, Doherty)
+3:12.8/0+9

 

Women's 4x6km relay results

1. Germany (Horchler, Hammerschmidt, Herrmann, Hildebrand)  1:07:35.6/1+7
2. Norway (Nicolaisen, Fenne, Eckhoff, Olsbu) +22.8/1+11
3. Czech Republic (Jislova, Puskarcikova, Charvatova, Koukalova)  +22.9/1+9
14.
USA (Egan, Dunklee, Reid, Phaneuf)
+3:08.3/1+10

 

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