U.S. Men Season-Best 12th at Oberhof Relay

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 11, 2020, 11:35 a.m. (ET)

Jake Brown (second from right) races the final leg of the men's relay on Saturday in Oberhof, Germany (photo by NordicFocus)

OBERHOF, Germany (Jan. 11, 2020) – The U.S. men's relay team turned in its best result of the season Saturday at the BMW IBU World Cup in Oberhof. The squad of Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.), Leif Nordgren (Hinesburg, Vt.), Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.) and Jake Brown (Saint Paul, Minn.) finished the 4x7.5-kilometer relay 3 minutes, 35.4 seconds behind the winning team from Norway, with two penalties and 18 spare rounds. It marked the best finish for the Americans this season following 15th- and 18th-place finishes at the previous two World Cup relays in December.

"I am happy to have the best placing of the season for our relay," said Doherty. "We left ourselves some room to improve but I think it shows great potential for the future with this combination."

Norway's Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen outsprinted France's Quentin Fillon Maillet in the final 100 meters to claim the Oberhof men's relay in 1:19:23.2. Christiansen and teammates Lars Helge Birkeland, Johannes Dale and Erlend Bjoentegaard had two penalties and eight spare rounds in winning their third relay of the season. France, with two penalties and six spares, finished 4.4 seconds back. Germany, with two penalties and 14 spares was third, 48.2 seconds behind Norway.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. women's 4x6km relay team of Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), Hallie Grossman (South Burlington, Vt.) and Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) placed 12th in their 4x6km race, with a single penalty and 12 spares. Their time was 4:33.8 off the winning pace set by the team from Norway.

"Oberhof is always challenging, and today was no exception with icy downhills, brutal uphills, and tricky wind," Egan said. "Highlights from today included hanging in the top five for the first half the race, watching rookie Hallie ski with the best, and sunny weather. We will be looking to move back into the top 10 next week in Ruhpolding."

Tiril Eckhoff cleaned the last standing stage using just a single spare round to key Norway's third relay win of the season in 1:14:11.6. Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland moved the team that included Synnove Solemdal and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold from 55 seconds back to the win, despite using 11 spare rounds. Sweden, with 10 spare rounds finished second, 21.1 seconds back, while France, with 12 spares was third, 33.1 seconds behind Norway.

The BMW IBU World Cup in Oberhof wraps up on Sunday with the men's and women's mass start races. No Americans qualified for those events. The next World Cup begins Wednesday in Ruhpolding, Germany, with the women's sprint.


Men’s 4x7.5km relay results


Norway (Birkeland, Bjoentegaard, Dale, Christiansen)



France (Jacquelin, Fourcade, Desthieux, Fillon Maillet)



Germany (Horn, Kuehn, Peiffer, Doll)



USA (Doherty, Nordgren, Schommer, Brown)



Women’s 4x6km relay results


Norway (Solemdal, Tandrevold, Roeiseland, Eckhoff)



Sweden (E. Oeberg, Persson, Brorsson, H. Oeberg)



France (Simon, Bescond, Aymonier, Braisazl)



USA (Dunklee, Egan, Grossman, Dreissigacker)