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2023-24 IBU Cup Season Recap

by Sara Donatello

The 2023-24 IBU Cup season proved to be one full of growth and opportunity for the athletes who raced on the circuit this season. Over the course of five months, athletes toured Scandinavia’s Finland, Sweden and Norway before making their way to Germany and Italy for trimester two, Slovakia for Open European Championships and rounding out the season with back-to-back race weekends in Austria. 


Kicking things off in Kontiolahti, Finland, Vincent Bonacci (Salt Lake City, UT/Team Crosscut) hit a personal best sixth place in the men’s 20km individual, shooting 19 for 20 to land a spot in his first flower ceremony. Both Michaela Keller-Miller (Plymouth, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Cheresa Bouley (Zimmerman, MN/Minnesota Biathlon) made their IBU Cup debuts in Kontiolahti, with Lina Farra (Heber City, UT/NYSEF) making her international racing return after taking last season off. Luke Brown (St. Paul, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) also started the season strong with a 28th place finish in the men’s 20km individual with what would end up being his second best result of the season. 


Idre Fjall, Sweden saw Lexie Madigan (Truckee, CA/Auburn Ski Club) and Dolcie Tanguay (Fort Kent, ME/Paul Smith’s College) make their IBU Cup debuts. Vaclav Cervenka made the biggest placement jump of his career in the men’s 12.5km pursuit, starting in bib 58 and finishing in 33rd. Bjorn Westervelt’s (Stowe, VT/University of Vermont) 26th place finish in the second men’s 10km sprint was his top result of the season, and the best U.S. sprint finish in Idre Fjall. 


Trimester two kicked off in Martell-Val Martello, Italy with the return of Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, VT/National Guard Biathlon), Nikolas Burkhart  (Olympic Valley, CA/Team Crosscut) and Travis Cooper (Kenai, AK/National Guard Biathlon) to international racing. Farra raced to a personal best 46th place in the women’s 7.5km sprint, cleaning both her prone and standing, and qualifying for the pursuit. Cervenka had his season best 16th place finish in the men’s 12.5km pursuit, shooting 18 for 20 to jump 13 spots from bib 29. The team also had retired U.S. Biathlete and current Craftsbury Outdoor Center Head of Biathlon Susan Dunklee as a guest coach for the back-to-back weekends of racing in Italy. The most decorated U.S. Biathlete, Dunklee is a 3x Olympian, 2x World Championship medalist and 6x World Cup medalist. 


Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, Italy saw Maxime Germain (Chamonix-Mont Blanc, FRA/National Guard Biathlon) in the men’s 10km sprint top-20 with an 18th place finish. The final two race days in Ridnaun featured six U.S. athletes on the start line for the men’s and women’s mass start 60 races as well as a 12th place finish in the single mixed relay for the pair of Grace Castonguay (Jackson, NH/Ethan Allen Biathlon Club) and Cooper, his first single mixed relay event since the 2019-20 season.


The 2024 Open European Championships in Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia brought much success for the U.S. Biathlon Team. Bonacci raced to yet another flower ceremony with his second sixth place finish of the season in the men’s 20km individual, and his first clean shooting in a four-stage race. Germain made it two U.S. men in the top 10 with his 10th place finish, shooting 19 for 20. He continued his success finishing 30th in the men’s 10km sprint and 21st in the men’s 12.5km pursuit, shooting 18 for 20. Making a name for herself as the “clean queen” in Brezno, Chloe Levins (Rutland, VT/Team Crosscut) shot 20 for 20 and finished 28th in the women’s 15km individual, her season best result. Levins took to the course in the 7.5km sprint only to shoot clean yet again, making her 30 for 30 on the weekend. Sarah Beaulieu (Fort Fairfield, ME/Auburn Ski Club) made her IBU Cup debut for Open European Championships and Geraghty-Moats had her season best result of 54th in women's individual, shooting 16 for 20.


The 2023-24 IBU Cup season concluded in Obertilliach, Austria with six of nine athletes qualifying for the final race of the season: the mass start 60. Farra hit 18 for 20, finishing the second race weekend in Obertilliach with a 92% hit rate. Castonguay held the 39th ski time in her second career mass start 60. Burkhart took home the top U.S. result of the weekend with a personal best 14th, his first career top-15 finish, shooting 17 for 20. Cervenka was the biggest mover in the field of 60 athletes jumping 38 places as he started the day wearing bib 55 and landed in 17th place at the finish. Burkart and Cervenka held the 13th and 14th ski times overall, the top two times for the U.S. team. Brown put three U.S. men in the top 25 with his personal best 23rd place result. Cooper rounded out the group in 39th, also a 20 place jump, securing top-40 results for the entire U.S. men’s team. 


Athletes now head into a much deserved rest period before summer training kicks back up in May. All IBU Cup results from the 2023-24 season can be found HERE, and the 2024-25 IBU Cup season schedule can be found HERE. For more information about U.S. Biathlon, visit usbiathlon.org

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