Dunklee Earns Mass Start Berth; Finishes 21st in Oberhof

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 12, 2020, 10:43 a.m. (ET)


Susan Dunklee races in the women's mass start in Oberhof, Germany, on Jan. 12 (photo by NordicFocus)

OBERHOF, Germany (Jan. 12, 2020) – Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) got the nod to start in the 30-women field for Sunday's mass start at the BMW IBU World Cup in Oberhof and responded with a 21st place finish. It was the first mass start of the season for a U.S. athlete.

"I’ve been feeling strong lately and I’m hungry for race opportunities so I was very happy to be called up to start off the reserve list," said Dunklee.

In very windy conditions, Dunklee shot clean on her opening prone stage, but spread eight penalties among her final three shooting stages to cross the line 2 minutes, 56.3 seconds behind winner Kaisa Makarainen of Finland.

"Today was a really wild race with some crazy ups and downs and some unpredictable and uncontrollable factors like gusty winds and dangerous stones emerging from the snow," added Dunklee. "The highlight was cleaning the first prone and skiing near the front of the field alongside fellow North American Emma Lunder (Canada). The low point was missing four in the last stage and dropping from a top-10 position into the twenties. In the penalty loop I couldn’t help but laugh when I realized I was doing my circles in such good company right behind third-ranked Ingrid Tandrevold. It meant I had a fast buddy to duke it out with on the last loop. Game on."

Makarainen cleaned both her standing stages to secure the mass start victory in 39:58.9, with just a single penalty in the first prone stages. All other starters had at least three penalties. Norwegian teammates Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland finished second and third, 30.2 and 35 seconds back with four and three penalties, respectively.

The next World Cup begins Wednesday in Ruhpolding, Germany, with the women's sprint.

Women’s 12.5km mass start results

1.

Kaisa Makarainen (FIN)

39:58.9/+1

2.

Tiril Eckhoff (NOR)

+30.2/+4

3.

Marte Olsbu Oreiseland (NOR)

+35.0/+3

21.

Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)

+2:56.3/+8