Dunklee top American in frigid Ostersund 15k

By Bill Kellick | Nov. 29, 2017, 2:17 p.m. (ET)

OSTERSUND, Sweden (November 29, 2017) – Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) was the top American in Wednesday’s women’s 15-kilometer individual race at the season-opening BMW IBU World Cup 1 in Ostersund, Sweden. Dunklee placed 53rd in the field of 102 racers.

Bitter cold conditions of 12 degrees Fahrenheit greeted the competitors for the evening competition. Dunklee had a clean first standing round after missing one target in prone. She finished with four total misses on her 20 targets, crossing the line 4:12.7 back of the winning time turned in by Nadezhda Skardino of Belarus.

“It was very cold and my body never fully warmed up into full race mode,” Dunklee said. “It felt more like I was doing a long threshold workout. However, with a clean race I could have been in the fight for the win, so that’s always encouraging.”

Skardino shot clean and her time of 42:57.4 was just fast enough for her to claim her first-ever victory. She was 2.9 seconds ahead of Norway’s Synnoeve Solemdal and 12 seconds ahead of Ukraine’s Yuliia Dzhima. All three women on the podium shot clean.

“There was a lot of clean shooting today making it a very competitive race near the front,” added Dunklee. “It’s unusual to see such calm conditions on the Ostersund range.”

Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) hit 15 of 20 targets to finish 79th, 6:52.5 back, while Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.), racing in her first career world cup individual event, made 17 of 20 shots to place 81st, 7:03.5 behind. Dreissigacker hit her first 14 targets, nine from prone and five from standing.

"I was pretty nervous throughout the day leading up to the race but as soon as I got out there and started zeroing I actually felt really relaxed," said Dreissigacker. "I had good shooting in my pre-race workout yesterday and a really solid zero so I knew I could shoot well, it was just a matter of executing it. I was a little bummed with my last two stages though, I feel like I just lost a little bit of focus and that’s all it takes to miss. The conditions were good, a little cold but not much wind. I don’t think the cold affected me, if anything I might have dressed too warm!"

The world cup in Ostersund continues on Thursday with the men’s 20-kilometer race. On the start list for the U.S. team are Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.), Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) and Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.).

Women’s 15k results

1.

Nadezhda Skardino (BLR)

42:57.4/+0

2.

Synnoeve Solemdal (NOR)

+2.9/+0

3.

Yuliia Dzhima (UKR)

+12.0/+0

53.

Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)

+4:12.7/+4

79.

Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)

+6:52.5/+5

81.

Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.)

+7:03.5/+3