03.12.2023, Oestersund, Sweden, (SWE): Deedra Irwin (USA) - IBU World Cup Biathlon, pursuit women, Oestersund (SWE). www.nordicfocus.com. © Manzoni/NordicFocus.
Östersund Results Built Momentum for Team USA Heading to Hochfilzen
by Joseph Bonacci
After ten races in Östersund, Sweden, where the U.S. Biathlon Team saw personal best finishes, strong ski times and solid shooting performances, the team will now make the trip to Hochfilzen, Austria, where the three-day weekend will feature a sprint, pursuit and a pair of relays.
Racing in Östersund kicked off with a strong performance from Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, WI/Army World Class Athlete Program) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, NH/National Guard Biathlon) to finish eighth in the single mixed relay only +1.10.9 behind the lead. Kelsey Dickinson (Winthrop, WA/Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Margie Freed (Apple Valley, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Jake Brown (Saint Paul, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Maxime Germain (Chamonix-Mont Blanc, FRA/National Guard Biathlon) followed suit with a 14th-place finish in the mixed relay, Freed’s first World Cup start.
Dickinson carried the momentum into day two, crossing the line with a career-best 36th in the women’s 15km individual, missing only one target on her last round of shooting.
“It was really cool to have a huge personal best and score my first World Cup points in the first weekend of racing,” said Kelsey Dickinson. “I’m really grateful to all the coaches, staff, and wax technicians that made it possible. It feels good to have a result that shows improvement over last year.”
Jackie Garso (Lake Clear, NY/Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Irwin, Dickinson and Freed began the day of relays with another 14th-place finish for Team USA. Doherty, Germain, Brown and Wright, who raced in his first-ever relay, landed in 15th. Germain had a stellar performance, only +10.0 behind the lead in third place after his leg of the race.
Joining the World Cup for week two is Grace Castonguay (Jackson, NH/Ethan Allen Biathlon Club), who was brought up to fill the vacant spot on the women’s team as Margie Freed (Apple Valley, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) is traveling back to the US to compete in cross-country skiing. In Kontiolahti, Castonguay had the top ski time for the US women in the individual as well as a ninth-place finish in the single mixed relay. This will be her first World Cup appearance.
Vincent Bonacci (Salt Lake City, UT/Team Crosscut) will also race on the World Cup for week two as Campbell Wright (Wanaka, NZL/U.S. Biathlon) will not be competing in Hochfilzen. Bonacci showed his strength in Kontiolahti with a personal-best sixth place in the individual and ninth in the single mixed relay with Castonguay.
“After a personal best, and the second fastest ski time in the relay, it is exciting to head down to Hochfilzen carrying momentum,” said Bonacci, “Racing in the mountains and the sun will be a welcome change from the darkness of Scandinavia.”
The venue at Hochfilzen will be a change from Östersund, with the Austrian Alps providing a stunning backdrop for the races. With a long, hard climb near the end of the lap, athletes will need to pay close attention to pacing to ensure accuracy in the range after pushing at their limit, making for an exciting weekend of racing. Live streams can be found at eurovisionsports.tv/ibu/. Spectator resources for the season can be found at usbiathlon.org/spectator-resources.
World Cup 2 - Hochfilzen, Austria
Men’s 10km Sprint 5:30 EST/ 11:30 CET
Women’s 7.5km Sprint 8:25 EST/ 2:25 CET
Men’s 12.5km Pursuit 6:15 EST/ 12:15 CET
Women’s 10km Pursuit 8:45 EST/ 2:45 CET
Men’s 4x7.5km Relay 5:30 EST/ 11:30 CET
Women’s 4x6km Relay 8:15 EST/ 2:15 CET
About U.S. Biathlon
As the Olympic sports organization centered around the sport of biathlon, the United States Biathlon Association, known as U.S. Biathlon, is recognized by the International Biathlon Union (IBU) and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) as the national federation for biathlon in the United States. Founded in 1980, U.S. Biathlon exists to support and encourage the development of biathlon in the United States, to work with biathlon clubs and regional centers around the country to organize training and competition from the grassroots to elite level, and to prepare athletes for international competition. U.S. Biathlon staffs and finances the U.S. Biathlon national and junior national teams and is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization. For more information, visit usbiathlon.org.
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