Canada’s Zina Kocher took steps to overcome a solid yet frustrating World Championships series by placing ninth in the last World Cup sprint of the season, which was held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia on Friday. The result tied her best of the season.
Coming off a six-race series at World Championships in Ruhpolding, Germany, Kocher said she actually felt great on Friday.
“I had no idea how i would feel this week,” she wrote in an e-mail to FasterSkier. “Sometimes you can feel completely floored after a WCHS or Olympics but I felt fine. And once I started the race I knew my body felt awesome and I was ready to fight hard on the steep climbs here. I just felt awesome skiing today. I was relaxed but ready to go for the last sprint of the year.”
Kocher had the fifth-fastest ski time of the day, but missed two shots in standing; prior to that, she had been ranked in the top four.
“The wind here can be a bit tricky, so kept an eye on it,” Kocher wrote. “My prone was methodical and each shot was perfect. In standing I planned to be aggressive but with the fast range approach here, I was too quick missing the first 2, so I calmly reset. Besides those 2 misses, I was on fire and able to fight for the top.
Meanwhile, American Susan Dunklee continued the hot streak that nabbed her fifth place in the World Chmps individual race by placing tenth, just seven tenths of a second behind Kocher. She had one less penalty than Kocher – just one total – and said that she was pleased with her shooting.
“I did have higher expectations for myself today after last week, and I am psyched that my shooting percentage was high again today,” Dunklee wrote in an e-mail to FasterSkier. ” I missed my very first shot in prone but was able to keep a matter-of-fact attitude about it when it was happening. The course starts with a long steep climb, and my strategy was to try to negative split.”
Dunklee had the ninth-fastest ski time of the day, and said that she felt her skiing was “strong.”
As for getting over World Champs?
“I do feel tired,” she admitted.”We are five timezones away from Germany, but everyone is in the same boat.”
Sara Studebaker placed 37th for the U.S., and Megan Imrie 55th for Canada.