IBU Open European Championships (Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, Italy): Single mixed & mixed relays
Susan Dunklee and Lowell Bailey teamed up for the final day of the 2018 International Biathlon Union (IBU) Open European Championships in Ridnaun, Italy, and raced to a bronze medal in the single mixed relay.
The American duo, both of which earned individual medals at last year’s IBU World Championships, finished just 9.1 seconds out of first, which went to Norway’s Thelka Brun-Lie and Vetle Sjåstad Christiansen. The Norwegians won in 35:39.6 with zero penalties and six spares. They took the lead after Brun-Lie’s second leg, where she cleaned both stages without spares.
France placed second, 8.6 seconds back, with Julia Simon and Emilien Jacquelin, who combined for no penalties and 11 spares. They led the first half of the race, but slipped to second behind Norway on Simon’s second leg.
Dunklee put the Americans off in second on her first leg, which she cleaned with a spare in each stage, then they slipped one place to third on Bailey’s first leg, where he cleaned as well and used three spares. In all, they used 10 spares and avoided the penalty loop, and finished half a second out of second place.
“Over Christmas, we trained a little bit with the French athletes, including Jacquelin,” Bailey said, according to a US Biathlon press release. “So I know that he has quite a fast finish, and I thought I am kind of an old man here, I should maybe try to go harder on the first part of the lap. But he stayed with me all the time and had me in the end.”
“It was a good opportunity to tune up the race shape, build some confidence and find that sharp feeling heading into the Olympics,” Dunklee told US Biathlon. “The single mixed relay is one of my favorite race formats and today was a blast!”
Canada’s Sarah Beaudry and Carsen Campbell placed eighth of 24 teams in the single mixed relay, finishing 1:03.6 out of first with just eight spares and zero penalties. In 11th after the first leg, they moved into eighth on Campbell’s first leg, which he cleaned with one spare. Beaudry then cleaned her second leg without any spares, and Campbell anchored them to eighth.
The U.S. entered a team in the mixed relay that followed, with Chloe Levins, Deedra Irwin, Paul Schommer, and Alex Howe placing 17th (+5:55.5) of 19 teams with no penalties and 12 spares.
Ukraine won the mixed relay to conclude the championships, with Yuliia Zhuravok, Iryna Varvynets, Artem Pryma, and Dmytro Pidruchnyi combining for zero penalties and six spares and finishing in 1:11:40.1.
Russia placed second (+11.7) with Victoria Slivko, Anastasia Zagoruiko, Evgeniy Garanichev, and Alexander Loginov combining for zero penalties and nine spares.
Norway followed in third (+33.2) with Emilie Ågheim Kalkenberg, Kaia Wøien Nicolaisen, Håvard Gutuboe Bogetveit, and Fredrik Gjesbakk combing for no penalties and just four spares.
U.S. SuperTour (Craftsbury, Vermont): 5/10 k freestyle
Two Alaska Pacific University (APU) athletes topped the podium on Sunday at the SuperTour in Craftsbury, Vermont, with David Norris winning the men’s 10-kilometer freestyle individual start in 21:54.9 and Becca Rorabaugh topping the women’s 5 k freestyle in 12:06.4.
Norris won the men’s race by 6 seconds over Canada’s Andy Shields (Lappe Nordic) and Kevin Bolger of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) placed third (+15.8). Kris Freeman (Caldwell Sport) was the third American in fourth overall (+23.7), and three Canadians took fifth through seventh with Michael Somppi (Lappe Nordic) in fifth (+27.9), Evan Palmer-Charrette (NTDC Thunder Bay) in sixth (+37.5) and Scott Hill (Barrie Cross Country) in seventh (+37.6), ahead of Brian Gregg (Team Gregg/LNR/CXC) in eighth (+39.4), Tad Elliott (Ski Club Vail) in ninth (+44.3) and Jack Hegman in 10th (+50.4).
Rorabaugh won the women’s race by just 2.2 seconds over her APU teammate Rosie Frankowski in second, and Erika Flowers of the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 Team placed third (+4.6). Two Craftsbury Green Racing Project (CGRP) skiers finished fourth and fifth, with Kaitlynn Miller in fourth (+12.1) and Liz Guiney in fifth (+22.5), Kelsey Phinney (SVSEF) was sixth (+25.8), and Canadians Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt (Rocky Mountain Racers) seventh (+26.4) and Frederique Vezina (Pierre-Harvey National Training Centre) eighth (+36.0). Corey Stock, of the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) placed ninth (+39.9), and Felicia Geisor (CXC Team) was 10th (+44.4).
On Saturday, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center hosted its 37th annual Craftsbury Marathon, with Nils Koons winning the 48 k men’s race in 2:28:51.0 hours and Hannah Dreissigacker winning the 48 k women’s race in 3:01.48.7.
Marathon (non-SuperTour) results
FIS Cross Country World Junior Championships (Ulrichen, Switzerland): Freestyle sprints
World Junior Championships kicked off today with freestyle sprints in Ulrichen, Switzerland. Moa Lundgren of Sweden claimed with women’s title by 1.89 seconds over Kristine Stavås Skistad of Norway in the final, with Sweden’s Frida Karlsson finishing third (+1.89).
Hannah Halvorsen of the United States qualified in fifth place before skiing to second in her quarterfinal heat. Halvorsen hovered around third or fourth place through much of her semifinal and was unable to snipe any spots in the finishing straight, ending up fourth in the heat and eighth on the day.
Fellow Americans Margaret Gellert and Sofia Shomento also made the quarterfinals, finishing 18th and 23rd, and Canada’s Hannah Mehain wound up 29th on the day.
The new men’s junior world champion is Tom Mancini of France, who nipped Norway’s Jørgen Lippert by just 0.10 seconds to take the win. Valerie Grond gave the Swiss crowd a thrill by making it all the way to the final and taking home bronze, despite qualifying in just 21st position. The Swiss junior narrowly edged France’s Vincent Buiatti for the final step on the podium.
Canada’s Graham Ritchie finished second in his quarterfinal after qualifying in 28th position, earning an automatic spot in the semifinals. There he finished sixth (+9.30 behind Mancini), winding up 12th on the day. Teammate Antoine Cyr also made the quarterfinals where he had an impressive crash, slinging off the trail and into the infield, finishing 30th on the day. For the U.S., Gus Schumacher was the lone qualifier for the heats. He finished fourth in his quarterfinal and was just 0.22 seconds away from a “lucky loser” spot in the semifinals. Schumacher finished 19th on the day.
In the junior women’s race, Hannah Rudd of the United States finished 35th in qualification, +18.15. For Canada, Annika Richardson finished 52nd (+24.09), Catherine Reed-Metayer 56th (+28.25), and Alexandra Racine 69th (+37.27).
In the junior men’s sprint, Canada’s Reed Godfrey finished a tough 31st, just 0.21 seconds out of making the quarterfinals. Etienne Hebert rounded out the Canadian finishers in 36th place (+11.81) in the qualifier. Canyon Tobin was 41st in qualification for the U.S. (+13.46), followed by Karl Schulz in 54th (+16.90) and Luke Jager in 60th (+18.15).
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup (Seefeld, Austria): Individual normal hill/15 k
On the final day of the Seefeld Triple, Japan’s Akito Watabe completed his sweep of the three-day weekend and Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber reached the podium for the third-straight day, placing second. Germany’s Fabian Rießle placed third for his second podium in the last two days.
Watabe jumped to first on the normal hill and started the 15 k Gundersen 48 seconds ahead of Riiber in second. He went on to win the race by 1:14.9 minutes in 34:58.6, becoming the only man besides Germany’s Eric Frenzel to win the Seefeld Triple in its five-year history.
After jumping to fifth, Rießle won a photo finish for third (+1:57.9), edging Germany’s Vinzenz Geiger by less than a tenth of a second. Geiger moved up from ninth in the jump to fourth overall (+1:57.9).
Norway’s Jørgen Graabak followed in fifth (+2:02.4), Frenzel placed sixth (+2:07.4), Norway’s Jan Schmid was seventh (+2:09.8), Finland’s Eero Hirvonen eighth (+2:13.5), Norway’s Espen Andersen ninth (+2:28.0), and Austria’s Mario Seidl 10th (+2:42.1) out of 28 finishers.
No Americans contested the final day of the Triple, the last World Cup before the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
FIS Cross Country World Cup (Seefeld, Austria): 10/15 k mass start freestyle
In the final World Cup race before the 2018 Olympics, Jessie Diggins achieved the ultimate goal to give herself the utmost confidence heading into PyeongChang — winning the women’s 10-kilometer freestyle mass start at the World Cup in Seefeld, Austria, on Sunday.
The win was her first of the season and fourth individual victory of her career. Diggins, a 26-year-old U.S. Ski Team member, pulled it off by attacking on a long climb and leaving Norway’s Heidi Weng, Ragnhild Haga and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg chasing. While Diggins was several seconds ahead over the top and all alone on the long descent that followed, Weng and Haga worked to close the gap — and nearly did in the finishing stretch. But Diggins held them off, winning by 0.7 seconds over Weng in second place and 1 second ahead of Haga in third, and threw her fists down in celebration as she crossed the line first in 23:08.5 minutes.
“I just put my head down and it wasn’t pretty, but I just hammered,” Diggins told the International Ski Federation (FIS) in a televised post-race interview.
She was the only non-Norwegian in the top five, with Østberg in fourth (+8.7) and Marit Bjørgen in fifth (+16.7). Austria’s Teresa Stadlober placed sixth (+16.9), Norway’s Kari Øyre Slind was seventh (+19.1), and American Sadie Bjornsen placed eighth (+20.5), ahead of Switzerland’s Nathalie von Siebenthal in ninth (+30.3).
The U.S. had three in the top 15 with Kikkan Randall (U.S. Ski Team) in 14th (+48.5), and two more women in the top 30, with Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) in 23rd (+1:00.7) and Liz Stephen (USST) in 29th (+1:18.2). Rosie Brennan (USST) finished 53rd (+2:26.9).
Emily Nishikawa led the Canadians in 35th (+1:36.5), followed closely by teammate Cendrine Browne in 37th (+1:36.6). Dahria Beatty finished 45th (+1:58.9).
The Olympics are nearing and so Switzerland’s Olympic legend Dario Cologna is ramping up: after winning the Tour de Ski, he took another win in the 15 k mass start skate in Seefeld, Austria, on Sunday.
With much of the field staying relatively close together until the finish, Cologna nabbed the win by 1.4 seconds over Canada’s Alex Harvey, who took his second podium of the season in addition to also finishing third in the overall Tour de Ski.
Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby was third (+2.9), then teammate Didrik Tønseth in fourth (+5.9) and France’s Maurice Manificat in sixth (+7.5).
The U.S. Ski Team’s Erik Bjornsen had a breakthrough day finishing ninth (+9.3), followed by Simi Hamilton in 12th (+12.4). Behind them, Scott Patterson placed 27th (+23.4), then Patrick Caldwell 49th (+1:26.2), Ben Lustgarten 55th (+1:42.7), and Tyler Kornfield 77th (+3:00.0).
Canada’s Devon Kershaw and Graeme Killick finished 30th (+26.5) and 31st (+27.4), respectively. Len Valjas placed 58th (+1:53.1), Knute Johnsgaard 82nd (+3:23.1), Bob Thompson 87th (+4:27.5), and Julien Locke 92nd (+4:56.9).