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US biathlon season ends with mass start

Bailey 14th in final overall World Cup standings

March 19, 2012
By the Enterprise staff , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

The US biathlon team wrapped up its season Sunday with the 15-kilometer mass start in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Paul Smiths native Tim Burke was the top American finisher, placing 22nd in a time of 45:41.2. Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid wasn't far behind with his 24th-place finish in 45:55.2.

Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway won the mass start in 43:15.7 with only two misses, followed by Arnd Peiffer of Germany in 43:39.2 and Anton Shipulin of Russia in 43:47.5.

"This was a very frustrating way to end the season," Burke said. "I was fighting for a podium finish until the last shooting. I was incredibly unlucky during this stage with the wind, it was blowing harder than we have seen here all week. The others who I was shooting with at the time also struggled with three or four penalties. Unfortunately, this is part of biathlon."

After missing one shot at each of the first two ranges and none on the third, Burke was slowed by four misses at the final range.

Bailey, on the other hand, started slow and picked up steam later in the race. He had three penalties at the first range and just one over the final three.

"I fell in the opening 200 meters and that really put me a ways back from the field right of the bat," Bailey said. "Then I had three misses in the first prone, which put me even further back. From then on, the race went better and I was able to claw my way back up to 24th.

"Turns out that it was pretty important for me to get those extra World Cup points. I ended up squeaking ahead of Bjorn Ferry in the overall World Cup score to finish the season at 14th. I'm ready for a little break now, but after that I'm looking forward to another season starting in a few weeks."

Burke finished 20th in the overall World Cup standings.

On the women's side, Susan Dunklee of Barton, Vt. closed her rookie World Cup season with a 28th-place finish in the 12.5k mass start. Dunklee clocked a time of 43:10.5, about four minutes behind the winner, Darya Domracheva of Belarus, who crossed the line in 39:01.4.

Tora Berger of Norway was second in 39:11.4 and Kaisa Makarainen of Finland was third in 39:34.0.

"I had been hoping to finish my last race on a more spectacular note, but I am proud to have given it my best effort," Dunklee said. "Today was a humbling reminder of how challenging the sport is. This season has been incredible and it's been wonderful to work with such a dedicated and talented staff. I've achieved far more than I dared to dream and I'm going home happy."



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