The Stage is Set for Week Two of Racing at Vysocina Arena
by Joseph Bonacci
It is officially the halfway point of the 2024 BMW IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. Facing tough course conditions and added pressure from the loudest stadium on the World Cup circuit, the U.S. Biathlon Team has produced personal best results, clean shooting and solid ski times, finding ways to overcome distractions. Week two of racing begins today, February 13, with the women’s 15km individual, followed by the men’s individual, single mixed relay, relay and mass start events over the next five days.
The 2024 World Championships began with the mixed relay last Wednesday, with the team of Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, WI/Army World Class Athlete Program), Chloe Levins (Rutland, VT/Team Crosscut), Vincent Bonacci (Salt Lake City, UT/Team Crosscut) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, NH/National Guard Biathlon). Using only six spare rounds, the team had the third best range performance and skied to an 11th place finish, the best American mixed relay finish at a World Championships since 2016 and fourth-best of all time.
After a day of training, Irwin and Levins were joined on the startline by teammates Jackie Garso (Lake Clear, NY/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, VT/National Guard Biathlon) for the women’s 7.5km sprint. Geraghty-Moats had a near-perfect day on the range to qualify for her first pursuit with a World Championship personal-best 58th. Irwin skied to a World Championships sprint personal best, finishing in 39th with two misses. Levins and Garso crossed the line in the 80th and 87th positions.
“Everything came together yesterday and I qualified for my first-ever World Championships pursuit,” said Geraghty-Moats in a recent post on Instagram. “This performance wouldn’t have been possible without the high level of support the U.S. Biathlon Team and Madshus gave me.”
On Saturday, Wright, Doherty, Jake Brown (St. Paul, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Maxime Germain (Chamonix-Mont Blanc, FRA/National Guard Biathlon) took to the start line in the men’s 10km sprint. Wright led the team with a World Championships personal best 11th place finish shooting clean, with Brown and Doherty also qualifying for the pursuit in 38th and 44th. Germain crossed the line in 63rd, just four seconds back from a top-60 pursuit qualification.
“Fair to say stoke levels are pretty high, also lucky for me it’s just the beginning,” Wright posted on Instagram. “Starting bib 11 is gonna be a treat!”
Doherty brought his A-game to the men’s 12.5km pursuit, jumping 18 spots to finish 26th, shooting 19 for 20 on the day. Wright kept his form, and crossed the line in 12th, tying his second-best result of the season. Brown stayed consistent, making up one place to finish in 37th on the day, despite four misses on the range.
With seven races left to go, the team is locked in and looking to finish strong in the remaining individual, single mixed relay, relay and mass start races. For information on how to watch, visit usbiathlon.org/how-to-watch. For spectator resources, visit usbiathlon.org/spectator-resources.
2024 BMW IBU World Championships Week 2 - Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic
Women’s 15km Individual 11:10 EST / 5:10 CET
Men’s 20km Individual 11:20 EST / 5:20 CET
Single Mixed Relay (M+W) 12:00 EST / 6:00 CET
Women’s 4x6km Relay 7:45 EST / 1:45 CET
Men’s 4x7.5km Relay 10:30 EST / 4:30 CET
Women’s 12.5km Mass Start 8:15 EST/ 2:15 CET
Men’s 15km Mass Start 10:30 EST / 4:30 CET