U.S. Women Earn Five Starting Spots at Opening IBU World Cup of 2022-23 Season
by Bill Kellick
For the first time in recent history, the U.S. Biathlon Team will place five women on the start line of an IBU World Cup as the 2022-23 season gets underway on Nov. 29 in Kontiolahti, Finland. Olympians Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, Wis./National Guard Biathlon Team) and Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, Colo.) will be joined by Kelsey Dickinson (Winthrop, Wash./Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, Vt./Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Chloe Levins (Rutland, Vt.) for the first World Cup event of the year.
World Cup start spots are determined by Nations Cup ranking, with the top 10 teams allowed five start spots. In a combination of solid performances from the team last season and the disqualification of the Russian and Belarusian teams, the U.S. women moved into the top 10 to secure five spots for the upcoming season.
For Dickinson and Geraghty-Moats, Kontiolahti will mark the first World Cup starts of their careers.
“I am so excited to be finally starting my first World Cup,” said the 29-year-old Dickinson. “After being on the IBU Cup for many years I feel that I have built up a lot of experience and knowledge that I can bring into this World Cup season to help me feel prepared. I’m confident in the training I have put in this summer with my club team, the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, and my coaches Michael Gibson and Ethan Dreissigacker. We have a fifth start spot this year and I feel grateful for all the hard work from past World Cup teams that have given the women’s team an awesome opportunity.”
In March of this year, Dickinson finished 10th in the women’s mass start 60 at the IBU Cup event in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Her career-best finish is second place in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint at the IBU Cup in Sjusjoen, Norway, in November 2019.
Geraghty-Moats, also 29, is no stranger to World Cup competition…just not in the sport of biathlon. After competing at the IBU Junior World Biathlon Championships for two straight years in 2013-14, Geraghty-Moats transitioned to ski jumping and Nordic combined, where she won the inaugural FIS Nordic Combined World Cup title in December 2020. She returned to biathlon toward the end of the 2020-21 season and competed at four IBU Cup events plus the IBU Open European Championships last year.
“It's a strange and wonderful feeling to be a complete rookie and at the same time be starting my eighth season in the World Cup,” Geraghty-Moats commented. “I know the level of competition will be extremely high and I am excited to learn and grow as a biathlete during the first trimester of the IBU World Cup. I know I have an incredible team behind me, and I am grateful for their support and this incredible opportunity.”
The U.S. men’s team will send four athletes to Kontiolahti to round out the nine-person U.S. contingent. Olympians Jake Brown (St. Paul, Minn./Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H./National Guard Biathlon) will team up with Vaclav Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minn./National Guard Biathlon) and Maxime Germain (Chamonix-Mont Blanc, FRA/National Guard Biathlon) who both got their first taste of World Cup experience last season. 2022 Olympian Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis./Crosscut Elite Team) is sitting out the Kontiolahti World Cup due to a knee injury.
“The first international races of the year are some of my favorites,” said Brown, 30. “I enjoy the uncertainty of not knowing how good you or anyone else is. You just have to lay what you have out there with zero expectations and find out where it stacks up when the race is done. Kontiolahti will be a special one as it will be Kelsey and Tara’s first World Cup. We’re missing Paul on the men’s side for sure, but in his absence, it will be especially exciting to try a brand-new relay lineup. There are some years where I’m more excited for what’s to come, and this is one of them.”
IBU World Cup Team
Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, WI) - National Guard Biathlon Team
Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, CO)
Kelsey Dickinson (Winthrop, WA) - Craftsbury Green Racing Project
Chloe Levins (Rutland, VT)
Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, VT) - Craftsbury Green Racing Project
Jake Brown (St. Paul, MN) - Craftsbury Green Racing Project
Sean Doherty (Center Conway, NH) - National Guard Biathlon
Vaclav Cervenka (Grand Rapids, MN) - National Guard Biathlon
Maxime Germain (Chamonix-Mont Blanc, FRA) - National Guard Biathlon
The BMW IBU World Cup will be live-streamed via Eurovision this season. The action begins with the men’s individual competition on November 29 at 7:15 am ET.
BMW IBU World Cup 1 – Kontiolahti, Finland (all times EST)
Tuesday, Nov. 29
7:15 am – Men’s 20km individual
Wednesday, Nov. 30
7:15 am – Women’s 15km individual
Thursday, Dec. 1
5:00 am – Men’s 4x7.5km relay
7:35 am – Women’s 4x6km relay
Saturday, Dec. 3
4:45 am – Men’s 10km sprint
7:45 am – Women’s 7.5km sprint
Sunday, Dec. 4
6:15 am – Men’s 12.5km pursuit
8:15 am – Women’s 10km pursuit