Hot Shooting Leads to Memorable Day for U.S. Women's Relay Team

By Bill Kellick | March 16, 2019, 12:53 p.m. (ET)

Joanne Reid women's relay
Joanne Reid celebrates after tagging off to Emily Dreissigacker in second place in the women's relay in Ostersund (photo by NordicFocus)

OSTERSUND, Sweden (March 16, 2019) – Spurred on by hitting 33 of their first 35 targets, the U.S. women's relay team turned in its best-ever performance in the 4x6-kilometer event at an IBU World Championships on Saturday. The team of Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, Colo.) and Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) placed ninth in the 23-team field, their best performance in the event since the adoption of the 4x6-km format in 2003. The previous best finish for a U.S. women's team in the new format was 10th in 2009.

"What an awesome day for our team," said Egan. "We put together a fantastic shooting performance with only five spare rounds for the whole team. To be in podium contention through seven of eight shooting stages shows what we are capable of. Anyone who was surprised to see us skiing in the front hasn't been paying attention."

Dunklee got the team off to a flying start, taking the lead after a clean round in prone. After needing a spare round in standing, Dunklee left the range in fourth place but moved up to third as she made the first exchange with Egan.

Egan was a perfect 10-for-10 on the range and skied a sterling last loop, chasing down Italy to tag off to Reid in first place.

Reid cleaned from prone and built a sizeable lead on the rest of the field. Despite using one spare round in standing, she made the final exchange with Dreissigacker in second place, 17 seconds behind Sweden.

"This is the first time I can remember that I wasn't nervous for the relay, because I knew even before we started I wasn't going to be handed a sinking ship," Reid said. "Instead, I know my team and my staff have my back, and I have theirs. It's a great note to end on, a great note for the last relay of the season."

Dreissigacker continued the team's hot shooting with a clean round in prone to keep the squad in the medal hunt, leaving the range in second position. Unfortunately, Dreissigacker incurred two penalties in the final standing stage, yet fought hard to secure the top-10 finish for Team USA, 2 minutes, 22.3 seconds off the lead.

"Courage is a strange thing," added Reid. "It takes way, way more courage to emerge from the penalty lap and keep on going than it does to leave the range in the lead and rally forward. So if you need to know the bravest member of our team, look no further than our anchor (Dreissigacker)."

Norway claimed the gold medal in the women's relay with one penalty and eight spare rounds in a time of 1:12:00.1. The Swedish squad won the silver medal in their home country, while Ukraine took the bronze.

In the men's 4x7.5km relay held later in the day, the U.S. placed 19th, 5:26.6 back with two penalties and 12 spare rounds. Three of the four U.S. team members were competing in their first IBU World Championships as newcomers Jake Brown (Saint Paul, Minn.), Alex Howe (Gilford, N.H.), and Max Durtschi (Ketchum, Idaho) teamed with veteran Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) on the American squad.

On the heels of their women's team victory earlier in the day, the Norwegian men also claimed gold with six spare rounds and a time of 1:12:03.7. Germany won the silver medal with eight spare rounds, 38.1 seconds back, while Russia claimed the bronze medal, 1:04.1 behind with seven spare rounds.

The 2019 IBU World Championships conclude on Sunday with four Americans in the mass start races. Egan and Reid will toe the line in the women's 12.5km mass start at 8:15 a.m. EDT, followed by Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) and Nordgren in the men's 15km mass start at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

WAYS TO WATCH:

The live and same-day (SDD)  broadcast schedule for the March 7-17 IBU Biathlon World Championships is as follows:

Times all EST

Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA

3/7 10:15-11:45a (LIVE)

3/8 10:15-11:45a (LIVE)

3/9 10:30a-12p (LIVE)

3/10 8:45-9:45a (SDD), 11:30a-12:30p (LIVE)

3/12 10:30a-12:30p (LIVE)

3/13 11a-1p (LIVE)

3/14 12-1p (LIVE)

3/16 12:30-2:30p (SDD)

3/17 10-11a (SDD), 11a-12p (LIVE)

 

NBCSN:

3/7 4-5p (SDD)

3/8 1-2:30p (SDD)

3/13 4-5p (SDD)

3/14 1-2a (SDD)

3/17 1-2a (SDD)

 

In addition to these broadcast air times, streams will be available on all digital platforms: desktop via NBCSports.com/Gold, and mobile, tablet and connected television platforms via the NBC Sports app. Broadcast simulstreams will be available on NBCSports.com/live (http://stream.nbcsports.com/nbc/watch-olympic-channel) and the NBC Sports app (and do not require a Gold subscription to watch).

The NBC Sports Gold premium package will give paid subscribers commercial-free access to each event across the span of the competition. Users can subscribe to the NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass here:https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.

Replay with commentary is also available thru www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

Women's 4x6km relay results

1.

Norway (Solemdal, Tandrevold, Eckhoff, Roeiseland)

1:12:00.1/1+8

2.

Sweden (Persson, Brorsson, Magnusson, Oeberg)

+24.3/0+5

3.

Ukraine (Merkushyna, Vita Semerenko, Dzhima, Valj Semerenko)

+35.1/0+5

9.

USA (Dunklee, Egan, Reid, Dreissigacker)

+2:22.3/2+5


Men's 4x7.5km relay results

1.

Norway (Birkeland, Christiansen, T. Boe, J. Boe)

1:12:03.7/0+6

2.

Germany (Lesser, Rees, Peiffer, Doll)

+38.1/0+8

3.

Russia (Eliseev, Porshnev, Malyshko, Loginov)

+1:04.1/0+7

19.

USA (Nordgren, Brown, Howe, Durtschi)

+5:26.6/2+12