Cervenka Garners First Career Medal at IBU Junior Cup

By Bill Kellick | March 07, 2020, 12:55 p.m. (ET)

Vaclav Cervenka smiles after racing to the silver medal at the IBU Junior Cup in Arber, Germany, on March 7, 2020

ARBER, Germany (March 7, 2020) – Vaclav Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn./U.S. National Guard/USBA Junior National Team) was one of only six athletes in the field of 93 to shoot clean, helping him earn the silver medal in the men's 10-kilometer sprint on Saturday at the IBU Junior Cup in Arber. It marked the first IBU medal of Cervenka's career.

"Today was just a combination of pretty good skiing and good shooting in not the easiest conditions," said Cervenka. "It went together well and I got a second place out of it so I couldn't be any happier."

A day earlier, Cervenka had four penalties in standing in the men's super sprint qualification where he placed 51st.

"It just clicked today," he added. "Yesterday I had a tough day in standing. It really started blowing. Today I came into standing after a clean prone and I said, this is redemption for yesterday."

Cervenka's time was 40.9 seconds behind winner Niklas Hartweg of Switzerland, who also shot clean. Claiming the bronze medal, 45.5 seconds back of Hartweg with one penalty, was Austria's Magnus Oberhauser.


IBU World Cup Relays

In the final BMW IBU World Cup relay events of the 2019-20 season, the U.S. men's and women's teams placed 11th and 14th, respectively, on Saturday in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. The event was held in front of empty stands after the Czech National Security Council closed the venue to all spectators due to the recent spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The U.S. men's team of Leif Nordgren (Hinesburg, Vt.), Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.), Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.) and Jake Brown (Saint Paul, Minn.) used just five spare rounds over the four legs of the men's 4x7.5km race. Nordgren and Brown had clean standing stages with just one spare each from prone, while Doherty cleaned from prone and had a lone spare in standing. Their combined time was 3:27.7 off the winning pace set by Norway's Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, Johannes Dale, Tarjei Boe and Johannes Thingnes Boe. Ukraine took the silver medal while Sweden claimed the bronze.

"Today was a solid team day," said Brown. "Each of us executed really well on the range and fought hard for a good position out on the course in soft conditions. It’s been an honor to race relays with this team this year. I think we made important improvements over the season and I’m looking forward to putting in the work together with our full squad this summer to take another step forward next season."

Brown also commented on the uniqueness of racing in front of vacant bleachers in Nove Mesto.

"It certainly felt a little strange to look up into the stands during zero and warmup and not see a single soul," he said. "I definitely missed their invigorating energy. There were actually two spots on the course where 50-100 fans had snuck through the forest and gathered along the fence. They must be the die-hard Czech biathlon fans, and their roars let me know each lap how far the Czech’s anchor leg skier was behind me." 

The U.S. women's relay team of Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.), Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, Colo.) and Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) had one penalty and used 11 spare rounds to finish 4:57.7 off the winning pace set by Norway's Karoline Offigstad Knotten, Ida Lien, Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold and Tiril Eckhoff. France raced to the silver medal followed by Germany for the bronze.

Dunklee had the best shooting day for the Americans, cleaning prone and using just one spare in standing on the gusty range as she moved the team up from 17th to 10th on the second leg.

"Wind is always a tricky thing, and Nové MÄ›sto has been giving us sudden weather mood swings all week," said Dunklee. "The nice thing about the relay is that, for the most part, everyone around you is being given the same conditions. It seemed to be more of a struggle here in standing, as buffeting winds pushing on the body can be very difficult to shoot through, but I think overall we held it together fairly well, and we can take our experience and look forward to (the next World Cup in) Finland."

As for the empty stands in Nove Mesto, Dunklee pointed out the countless hours biathletes spend with no one cheering them on.

"All of the hundreds upon hundreds of training hours are only self-witnessed, with no cheering crowds to inspire, and nothing but internal dedication and discipline to push us forward," Dunklee said. "It surely is part of our innate skill set to compete to the greatest of our abilities, whether it is to the fearsome roar of 100,000 people, or the quiet accompaniment of only our breathing. If we did it for the glory, or for the fame, or for the money, there would be no American biathletes on the starting line at all." 

With no U.S. biathletes qualified for Sunday's mass start races in Nove Mesto, the American team now shifts its focus to the next stop on the BMW IBU World Cup circuit in Kontiolahti, Finland, on March 12.

IBU Junior Cup men’s 10km sprint results


Niklas Hartweg (SUI)



Vaclav Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn)



Magnus Oberhauser (AUT)



IBU World Cup men’s 4x7.5km relay results


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



Ukraine (Pryma, Semenov, Tkalenko, Pidruchnyi)



Sweden (Samuelsson, Nelin, Femling, Ponsiluoma)


11. USA (Nordgren, Doherty, Schommer, Brown) +3:27.7/0+5


IBU World Cup women’s 4x6km relay results


Norway (Knotten, Lien, Tandrevold, Eckhoff)



France (Simon, Braisaz, Chevalier, Bescond)



Germany (Horchler, Hinz, Preuss, Herrmann)


14. USA (Dreissigacker, Dunklee, Reid, Egan) +4:57.7/1+11