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Irwin Finishes 12th in Final Pursuit of the Season

by Sara Donatello

Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, WI/Army World Class Athlete Program) rounds out this season’s pursuit races with a stellar 12th place finish, just one of two athletes in the pool of 60 to shoot a perfect 20 for 20 in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. Irwin, jumping 14 places from bib 26, crossed the line in 12th, just +1:23.1 behind the pursuit victor Lisa Vittozzi of Italy, who shot 19 for 20. 


“It feels amazing to shoot clean in the last pursuit of the year,” said Irwin. “I’m happy it was enough to get me into the mass start and it’s always exciting to get another opportunity to race and score points. I’m definitely feeling pretty fatigued on the course, but the wax crew is doing an amazing job of giving me competitive skis.”  


Her first World Cup pursuit clean and second clean shooting in a four stage race this season, the first taking place in mass start in Lenzerheide, Switzerland in December 2023, Irwin has proven mentally tough as the long season is coming to a close. The veteran athlete has shot a perfect 30 for 30 in both the sprint and pursuit races, putting her in a position to race in her second mass start of the season in Canmore. 


”Armin, Emil and I have been working really hard after a shaky start to the trimester with my standing shooting,” Irwin added. “I’m so happy I’ve been able to get over that mental hump on the range and clean all my stages so far this weekend.”


Later in the day, Campbell Wright (Wanaka, NZL/U.S. Biathlon) and Jake Brown (St. Paul, MN/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) toed the line for their final pursuit race of the season, wearing bib 28 and 36. 

(Photo by Nordic Focus Photo Agency)

Wright, missing just one shot in his final standing shoot, was back up in the top 20 with a 19th place finish, +2:42.3 behind the pursuit victor Johannes Thinges Boe of Norway. Brown, who headed into his final shoot 14 for 15, felt the pressure and ended up missing three targets. Though, with an 18th ski time overall, Brown’s three added penalty loops only dropped him to 36th at the finish line.  
With the final day of racing ahead, Irwin will start the women’s 12.5km mass start wearing bib 29 at 1:10 ET/11:10 MT, followed by the men’s 15km mass start at 5:10 ET/3:10 MT. Information on how to watch can be found at usbiathlon.org/how-to-watch. For spectator resources, visit usbiathlon.org/spectator-resources

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