Relay Bronze for Dunklee and Bailey at Open European Championships

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 28, 2018, 11:57 a.m. (ET)

RIDNAUN-VAL RIDANNA, Italy (January 28, 2018) – Olympians Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) and Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) combined forces to capture the bronze medal in Sunday’s single mixed relay at the IBU Open European Championships. The duo finished with 10 spare rounds on the range and were just 9.1 seconds off the winning time set by Norway’s Thekla Brun-Lie and Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen.

With two spare rounds on her opening leg, Dunklee had Team USA in second place at the first exchange, seven seconds behind the French team of Julia Simon and Emilien Jacquelin. The Americans dropped to third place at the second exchange as Bailey needed three spare rounds at the range.

Dunklee used three spares in her second leg and passed off to Bailey for the final exchange. After one spare in prone and another in standing, Bailey moved to within three seconds of Jacquelin as they left the range. On the final lap, Bailey tried to leave the younger and less experienced Frenchman behind, but could not, getting nipped at the line by 0.5 seconds.

“Over Christmas, we trained a little bit with the French athletes, including Jacquelin,” said Bailey. “So I know that he has quite a fast finish, and I thought I am kind of an old man here, I should maybe try to go harder on the first part of the lap. But he stayed with me all the time and had me in the end.”

Norway finished with six spares in the winning time of 35:39.6 while France was 8.6 seconds back.

"It was a good opportunity to tune up the race shape, build some confidence and find that sharp feeling heading into the Olympics," Dunklee said about the event. "The single mixed relay is one of my favorite race formats and today was a blast!"

"The single mixed is especially challenging because there's a heightened pace due to the short length of the individual loops," added Bailey. "I struggled a bit due to this, but I think it was a good experience to prepare for added pressure of the Olympics. I felt a bit better on the tracks today after a full week of training. One more week of prep work and we'll be on the ground in Pyeongchang!"

Later in the day, the U.S. foursome of Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt.), Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, Wis.), Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.) and Alex Howe (Gilford, N.H.) finished 17th in the mixed relay.

Single mixed relay results
1. Norway (Brun-Lie, Christiansen) 35:39.6/0+6
2. France (Simon, Jacquelin) +8.6/0+11
3. USA (Dunklee, Bailey) +9.1/0+10

Mixed relay results
1. Ukraine (Zhuravok, Varvynets, Pryma, Pidruchnyi) 1:11:40.1/0+6
2. Russia (Slivko, Zagoruiko, Garanichev, Loginov) +11.7/0+9
3. Norway (Kalkenberg, Nicolaisen, Bogetveit, Gjesbakk) +33.2/0+4
17. USA (Levins, Irwin, Schommer, Howe) +5:55.5/0+12