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Open European Championships Wraps Up Second Trimester of IBU Cup Racing

by Sara Donatello

The second trimester of IBU Cup racing concluded this past weekend with the 2024 IBU Open European Championships in Brezno-Osrblie, Slovakia. Team USA raced to flower ceremony and top-10 results, season-best finishes, clean shooting and IBU Cup debuts, carrying momentum into the third and final trimester of racing this season. 


To kick off the race weekend, Vincent Bonacci (Salt Lake City, UT/Team Crosscut) tied his career-best finish of sixth place to receive his second flowers this season, shooting his first 20 for 20 in the men’s individual. Maxime Germain’s (Chamonix-Mont Blanc, FRA/National Guard Biathlon) stellar race, shooting 19 for 20, placed two USA men in the top 10. Vaclav Cervenka (Grand Rapids, MN/National Guard Biathlon) followed in 49th, Nikolas Burkhart (Olympic Valley, CA/Team Crosscut) in 53rd, Bjorn Westervelt (Stowe, VT/University of Vermont) in 88th and Luke Brown (St. Paul, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) in 100th. 


Chloe Levins (Rutland, VT/Team Crosscut) led the U.S. women with a clean 20 for 20 and 28th place finish in the women’s individual. Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, VT/National Guard Biathlon) had a season best result in 54th with Cheresa Bouley (Zimmerman, MN/Minnesota Biathlon) on her tail in 58th. Lina Farra (Heber City, UT/NYSEF) finished in 72th, Anna French in 95th and Sarah Beaulieu (Fort Fairfield, ME/Auburn Ski Club), making her IBU Cup debut, finished in 97th. 


After a day off from racing, the men’s sprint brought a top-30 finish for Germain, who missed one shot in both prone and standing. Cervenka trailed just 16 seconds behind Germain to finish in 37th, with Bonacci in 50th to qualify three U.S. men for the pursuit. Burkhart, Westervelt and Brown finished in 74th, 81st and 98th of 127 athletes. 


Levins continued her streak of clean shooting to hit 10 of 10 targets in the women’s sprint, landing her in 54th and qualifying her for the pursuit. Bouley, Geraghty-Moats, French, Beaulieu and Farra all finished within a minute of each other, but out of contention for the pursuit. 


Germain remained solid with his shooting and fast ski times, jumping nine spots and finishing 21st in men’s pursuit, shooting 18 for 20. Bonacci crossed the line in 41st with seven misses and Cervenka in 45th with eight misses on the day. Levins did not start in the women’s pursuit. 


The final day of racing kicked off with the team of Brown, Farra, French and Travis Cooper (Kenai, AK/National Guard Biathlon) who stepped in to fill Burkhart’s spot in the mixed relay, followed by the single mixed relay team of Westervelt and Bouley who held their own to finish 21st, despite two trips around the penalty loop. 


Focus now turns to the sixth IBU Cup race of the season in Arber, Germany. Boasting a pair of sprint races for both the men and women, Team USA looks to finish the season strong with just three race weekends left. For information on how to watch, visit usbiathlon.org/how-to-watch. Spectator resources can be found at usbiathlon.org/spectator-resources



IBU Cup - Arber, GER

February 1

Women’s 7.5km Sprint 5:00 EST/11:00 CET

Men’s 10km Sprint 8:30 EST/2:30 CET


February 3

Women’s 7.5km Sprint 5:00 EST/11:00 CET

Men’s 10km Sprint 8:30 EST/2:30 CET