Top 10 for U.S. Men's Relay at World Championships

By Bill Kellick | Feb. 22, 2020, 10:14 a.m. (ET)

Leif Nordgren (r) races the opening leg of the men's 4x7.5km relay at the IBU World Championships on Feb. 22, 2020 (photo by NordicFocus)

ANTHOLZ-ANTERSELVA, Italy (Feb. 22, 2020) – Solid shooting on Saturday propelled the U.S. men's relay team to its best finish at a world championship since 2017. The American team of Leif Nordgren (Hinesburg, Vt.), Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.), Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.) and Jake Brown (Saint Paul, Minn.) placed eighth in the 27-team field in the 4x7.5-kilometer relay on the penultimate day of the IBU World Championships in Antholz. Using just five spare rounds at the eight shooting stages, the U.S. was 2 minutes, 32.9 seconds back of the gold-medal winning team from France.

"This was a really great race for us," said Nordgren. "If you would have told us a month ago that we'd be top-10 in the world championship relay, I'd have said you're crazy." 

Nordgren went 10-for-10 on the range in his opening leg and clean stages were also registered by Doherty and Brown in prone, and by Schommer in standing. The great shooting effort kept the American foursome in the top-10 at each of the three exchanges.

"This is one of the best shooting days from our entire team that I can remember in my whole career," Nordgren added. "That makes all the difference in the end.  Everyone did a really great job on the range, staying in their own world and not getting worked up by the heat of the moment, I'm really proud of the team and the way the guys handled that stress today. We had great skis once again. The conditions varied all over the course but our techs did an awesome job on the material and that made a difference for sure."

Nordgren has now put together two straight races without missing a target on the range. He went 20-for-20 in the men's 20km individual race on Wednesday and feels his skiing is beginning to mimic his shooting prowess.

"For me personally, this was the best ski race of the world championships. I've been really struggling lately to find a top gear and to be able to dig deep today was a step in the right direction. With world championships coming to an end, it's really nice to have a good team result. There is still quite a lot of racing still to come over the next trimester. I'm hopeful that we can continue this momentum and snag some more top results."

The French team of Emilien Jacquelin, Martin Fourcade, Simon Destheiux and Quentin Fillon Maillet won the men's relay gold medal in 1:12:35.9 with just four spare rounds. Norway won the silver medal, with one penalty and 12 spare rounds, 21.5 seconds back, while Germany claimed the bronze medal with one penalty and eight spare rounds, 36.2 seconds behind France.

Earlier in the day, the women's 4x6km relay was held with the U.S. quartet of Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, Colo.) and Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) finishing 15th, 3:55.7 back with eight spare rounds. Egan went 10-for-10 on the range while Dunklee cleaned from standing and Reid was clean from prone.

"Our team had exceptional shooting today— the best in the world if you take our men’s and women’s team results together— and we’re very proud of that," Egan said. "Unfortunately, we couldn’t match the other teams on skis so our result wasn’t what we’d hoped for. But each athlete gave her best and had a great shooting performance, and there’s not much more you can ask for."

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland shot clean in the last standing stage to secure the gold medal for Norway. Roeiseland teamed up with Synnove Solemdal, Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold and Tiril Eckhoff, with one penalty and nine spare rounds, to take the top spot in 1:07:05.7. Germany won the silver medal with nine spares, 10.7 seconds back. Ukraine, with eight spare rounds, took home the bronze medal, 18.4 seconds behind Norway.

The IBU World Championships wrap up their 10-day run in Antholz on Sunday with the men's and women's mass start races. Dunklee will be the lone American competing in the races as she starts in the first row of the 30-woman field in the 12.5km race. Both races will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel with the women's mass start beginning at 6:30 a.m. EST, followed by the men's mass start at 9:00 a.m. EST. To download the FULL broadcast coverage of this week's BMW IBU World Championships, CLICK HERE.

Men's 4x7.5km relay results


France (Jacquelin, Fourcade, Desthieux, Fillon Maillet)



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



Germany (Lesser, Horn, Peifffer, Doll)


8. USA (Nordgren, Doherty, Schommer, Brown) +2:32.9/0+5

Women's 4x6km relay results


Norway (Solemdal, Tandrevold, Eckhoff, Roeiseland)



Germany (Horchler, Hinz, Preuss, Herrmann)



Ukraine (Merkushyna, Dzhima, Semerenko, Pidhrushna)


15. USA (Dunklee, Egan, Reid, Dreissigacker) +3:55.7/0+8