US Team Looks to Carry Momentum into Hochfilzen World Cup
by Sara Studebaker-Hall
“I'm very excited to be back in Hochfilzen, where I set back-to-back personal bests in the sprint two weeks in a row last season,” said World Cup veteran and 2022 Olympic Team qualifier Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/USBA).
At two World Cup events in Hochfilzen last year, Egan nabbed five top-20 finishes in five individual races, including a season-best ninth place in the sprint.
“I attacked the course in a different way last year and I think that helped propel me to top-10 ski times. We also had exceptionally fast skis, prepared by our ski technicians who do a lot of testing in that region, so they're experts at working with the local conditions.”
Egan is fresh off last Sunday’s performance in the women’s relay at the World Cup in Oestersund, Sweden, which saw her shoot clean and turn in top-six shooting and ski times.
“I don't know what I can expect this year because every season is different, but I feel good coming off our first two weeks of World Cup racing. Both my skiing and shooting are in a good place. I'm looking forward to getting on the start line again on Friday.”
The first two World Cup stops in Oestersund were also confidence builders for the younger racers on the team, including Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis./Team Crosscut & USBA) and Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, Wis./National Guard Biathlon & USBA).
Schommer, in his second full season on the World Cup circuit, posted a personal-best finish of 22nd place in his first race of the season, the 20-kilometer men’s individual on Nov. 27.
“It was great to start off the season with some great races, but it’s a long season,” said Schommer, whose previous best finish was 33rd. “I think it shows that the work we did this summer is paying off, but also raises the bar for future performances. I hope I can continue to improve as a biathlete and hope the best is yet to come.”
Irwin, also beginning her second season of World Cup racing, scored her first World Cup points by posting back-to-back personal best finishes of 38th in the sprint (Dec. 2) and 44th in the pursuit (Dec. 3).
“I am really happy with how my season started with a couple of personal bests and scoring World Cup points for the first time,” stated Irwin. “I worked really hard this summer and it gives me confidence in what I did as I go forward into the rest of the season.”
Competition at the Hochfilzen World Cup begins Friday, Dec. 10. Check out the Watch Biathlon schedule for viewing options.
BMW IBU World Cup – Hochfilzen, Austria (all times EST)
Friday, Dec. 10
5:25 am – Men’s 10km sprint
8:15 am – Women’s 7.5km sprint
Saturday, Dec. 11
6:15 am – Men’s 12.5km pursuit
8:15 am – Women’s 4x6km relay
Sunday, Dec. 12
5:45 am – Men’s 4x7.5km relay
8:30 am – Women’s 10km pursuit