Nordic Focus Photo Agency

11.01.2024, Ruhpolding, Germany (GER): Sturla Holm Laegreid (NOR), Justus Strelow (GER), Eric Perrot (FRA), Elia Zeni (ITA), Emil Nykvist (SWE), Joscha Burkhalter (SUI), Dominic Unterweger (AUT), Artem Pryma (UKR), Tomas Mikyska (CZE), Miha Dovzan (SLO), Arttu Heikkinen (FIN), George Buta (ROU), Alexandr Mukhin (KAZ), Anton Sinapov (BUL), Konrad Badacz (POL), Campbell Wright (USA), Tomas Kaukenas (LTU), Renars Birkentals (LAT), Mihail Usov (MDA), Florent Claude (BEL), Rene Zahkna (EST), Adam Runnalls (CAN), (l-r) - IBU World Cup Biathlon, relay men, Ruhpolding (GER). www.nordicfocus.com. © Manzoni/NordicFocus.

News

The Atmosphere Was Electric in Ruhpolding as Team USA Produced Notable Results

by Joseph Bonacci

With added support from the U.S. Consulate General Munich, U.S. Biathlon sponsors Maloja and Ariens, U.S. Biathlon President and CEO Jack Gierhart, and the thousands of fans packed into the Chiemgau Arena, Team USA hit World Cup personal bests, top-10 results, top ski speeds and rapid-fire shooting times heading into the final World Cup of the trimester in Antholz, Italy. The upcoming short individuals, mixed relay, single mixed relay and mass starts will be the last races before World Championships kicks off in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic on February 7. 


Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, WI / Army World Class Athlete Program) continues to produce strong results this season finishing 26th in the women’s 7.5km sprint missing just one shot in prone, qualifying her for Sunday’s pursuit. Though, with five missed shots on Sunday, Irwin crossed the line in 49th place. 


Campbell Wright’s (Wanaka, NZL / U.S. Biathlon) impressive week started with the opening leg of the 4x7.5km men’s relay. Wright shot clean and headed into the first exchange with teammate Sean Doherty (Center Conway, NH / National Guard Biathlon) in 3rd place, just +0.9 off the lead. Doherty, using just one spare round in standing, kept up with the leaders entering the second exchange +8.9 seconds behind Germany. Jake Brown (St. Paul, MN / Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Vincent Bonacci (Salt Lake City, UT / Team Crosscut) rounded out the relay, earning the team a season best 10th place, a good sign for things to come. 


“All the men on this team are super strong,” Wright said, “We are all skiing and shooting at our best, all we need is the pieces to come together.”


Wright’s weekend of success continued in the men’s sprint, where he skied to a World Cup personal best 12th, missing just one shot in standing and having a top seven ski time in the second lap. Crossing the line +50.1 behind the sprint leader Vetle Christiansen of Norway, put Wright in a good position heading into Sunday’s pursuit. Finishing in 57th in the 10km sprint, Brown also qualified to race on Sunday.


With both athletes skiing well, Wright held his ground amongst the top athletes and finished the day in 17th, hitting 17 of 20 targets. Brown was able to jump 11 spots, to finish 46th also with three misses on the day. 


“I’m feeling really good. This week was the best week of racing of my life!” Wright added, “I’m really hoping this run of form can stick around for World Champs, but it is still a while away so I will have to be careful to not put myself under.” 

The team now heads to northern Italy for the sixth BMW IBU World Cup of the season. The four-day race weekend will feature the women’s team of Irwin, Kelsey Dickinson (Winthrop, WA / Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Chloe Levins (Rutland, VT / Team Crosscut) and Jackie Garso (Lake Clear, NY / Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and the men’s team of Brown, Wright, Bonacci and Maxime Germain (Chamonix-Mont Blanc, FRA / National Guard Biathlon). For information on how to watch the upcoming races, visit  www.usbiathlon.org/how-to-watch. For spectator resources, please visit usbiathlon.org/spectator-resources.

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