Cook announces retirement

Saranac Lake’s Annelies Cook skied in the final World Cup biathlon event of her career Friday, helping the United States team to a 13th-place finish in the 4×6-kilometer race of the IBU World Championships in Oslo, Norway.

Fasterskier.com reported that Cook had announced her retirement within 24 hours of Friday’s relay. She skied the anchor leg on the team that included Susan Dunklee, Hannah Dreissigacker and Clare Egan. The Americans completed the course in 1 hour, 10 minutes, 57.1 seconds, which was 3:47.1 off the winning mark by Norway.

Dressigacker also announced she would retire from World Cup biathlon following the world championships. Neither plan to participate in the final two World Cup events of the season.

“Today’s race was really special for all of us since it was the last relay for both Annelies and I,” Dreissigacker said in a U.S. biathlon press release. “It wasn’t our best result, but the atmosphere was awesome and I think we all felt really close as a team today.”

After attending high school in Saranac Lake, Cook spent four years at the Maine Winter Sports Center while competing in junior races. She then moved out west and earned her college degree in international studies at the University of Utah, before joining the U.S. biathlon national team in 2009.

Cook’s first year on the World Cup circuit came during the 2010-11 season. She was part of the U.S. contingent at the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014. Her best World Cup results came in 2013 when she placed 14th in the 15k individual race and 18th the next day in the 7.5k sprint in Sochi, Russia.

On Friday in Oslo, Cook began her leg of the relay with her team in 14th place. She hit nine of her 10 targets, including going clean in prone, to help the team grab the 13th position at the finish.

“On the last little bit I saw Hannah and Susan and Clare, and they are such a great team,” Cook, 31, said to fasterskier.com. “I’m going to miss them so much. It has been a really amazing adventure with a lot of really good people.”

The Norwegian team of Synnoeve Solemdal, Fanny Horn Birkeland, Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu won the women’s relay gold medal with six spare rounds in 1:07.10. France won the silver medal, with eight spares, 5.3 seconds back. The bronze medal went to Germany, with four spare rounds, 28.6 seconds behind Norway.

Dunklee started off strong for the U.S. on the opening leg. After shooting clean in prone, she went to the race lead at the 2.6-kilometer mark and stayed at the front entering the standing shoot. However, after needing two extra rounds in standing, Dunklee dropped all the way to 14th but clawed her way back to the 10th position as she made the first exchange with Dreissigacker.

That was as close as the Americans would get the rest of the way.

Dreissigacker used two extra rounds in prone and another in standing, putting the team in 15th position. She fell further back to 16th as she tagged off to Egan for the third leg.

A clean round in prone for Egan moved them up a spot to 15th, a position they maintained despite two spares needed by Egan in standing. At the end of the third leg, Egan passed the Russian team to make the final exchange to Cook.

“I am very proud of these ladies and all the work we have done together over the years to get to this point,” Dunklee said. “We put together a great shooting performance today and finished the last relay of the season with a positive feeling.”

The world championships continue today with the men’s 4×7.5k relay. Tim Burke, of Paul Smiths, and Lowell Bailey, of Lake Placid, are slated to compete with the U.S. team.