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Wright Hits First World Cup Top Ten With Eighth Place Finish in Oslo

by Sara Donatello

Campbell Wright (Wanaka, NZL/U.S. Biathlon) rewrites his World Cup personal best for the third time this season with an eighth place finish in the men’s 20km individual to kick off the third trimester of racing in Oslo, Norway. At 21 years old, Wright shot a near perfect 19 for 20, which propelled him to just +0.15 back from a spot in the flower ceremony and +0.54 back from a podium finish. 

“It was tough skiing on the first few loops, but it got better for me and I was able to hit the targets,” said Wright. “It was great, I loved it. Ten out of ten from me!”

Wright's time was +1.59.8 behind the individual victor Sturla Holm Laegreid of Norway, who shot a perfect 20 for 20. It was a familiar Norwegian sweep as Laegreid was joined on the podium by Tarjei Boe and Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen.

Wright’s eighth place finish was his first-ever World Cup top-10 and a 12 spot jump from his 20th place in the individual at World Championships just two weeks ago. It also extends Wright’s streak of top-20 performances that dates back to his single mixed relay ninth place finish with Deedra Irwin in Antholz, Italy. Since then his results have consisted of 11th, 12th, 20th, 7th, 5th, 18th and the most recent 8th in Oslo. 

“Campbell had a great race,” said U.S. Biathlon Head Coach Armin Auchentaller. “He opened up with a good pace and kept his ski speed consistent until the end. On the range, it was a world class performance. The combination of his ski speed and the precise, fast shooting brought him into the top 10. We are all very excited about this one!”

Jake Brown (St. Paul, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) crossed the line in 53rd with five misses on the day. Vincent Bonacci (Salt Lake City, UT/Team Crosscut) made it three U.S. men in the top 60, finishing 60th, despite having to change his ski during the race. Sean Doherty (Center Conway, NH/National Guard Biathlon) struggled on the range with seven missed targets, but managed to keep up his ski speed and land in 72nd. 

"The ski speed was satisfying for Sean, Vincent and Jake," added Auchentaller. "Vincent was unlucky with a ski he had to change during the race, but all in all a good race."

Earlier in the day, the women battled more fog and rain, making for tough course conditions. Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, WI/Army World Class Athlete Program) landed the top result amongst the U.S. women crossing the line in 51st with four misses. Chloe Levins (Rutland, VT/Team Crosscut) followed suit with four misses and crossed the line in 76th. Margie Freed (Apple Valley, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project), finishing 84th, is back to racing the IBU World Cup circuit after taking time to compete in the recent Cross-country World Cups in Canmore, Canada and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, VT/National Guard Biathlon) did not race in the individual. 

Racing continues tomorrow with the women’s 12.5km mass start set to begin at 7:20 ET/1:20 CET, with the men’s 15km mass start to follow at 9:20 ET/3:20 CET. For information on how to watch, visit usbiathlon.org/how-to-watch. Spectator resources can be found at usbiathlon.org/spectator-resources.

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