U.S. Biathlon team brings back six Olympians

Joanne Reid takes off from the shooting range during the mixed relay race at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in February. She is one of six Olympians returning to this year’s World Cup team. (AP file photo — Gregorio Borgia)

Following the completion of the Rollerski Team Trials in early November in Soldier Hollow, Utah, U.S. Biathlon named its roster for the opening IBU World Cup in Pokljuka, Slovenia, which takes place Friday, Nov. 30 through Dec. 9. The roster includes six Olympians from the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

The women’s roster, which has three start spots in Pokljuka, boasts four biathletes with Olympic experience. Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vermont), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) and Joanne Reid (Palo Alto, California) were pre-qualified for the World Cup roster prior to the rollerski trials. They will be joined by fellow 2018 Olympian Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vermont).

A decision regarding which three athletes will start what races in Pokljuka will be made by the coaching staff at the World Cup.

At the conclusion of the Pokljuka World Cup, one woman will be selected to also compete at the IBU Cup #2 in Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, Italy, Dec. 10-16.

The U.S. men’s World Cup team for Pokljuka will include pre-qualified athletes and two-time Olympians Sean Doherty (Center Conway, New Hampshire) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minnesota), along with rollerski trials winner Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wisconsin) and Travis Cooper (Kenai, Alaska). Local biathletes Tim Burke, of Paul Smiths, and Lowell Bailey, of Lake Placid, retired after last season.

Because Cooper must compete at the IBU Cup #1, Nov. 26-Dec. 2 in Idre, Sweden, to earn his IBU qualification, Max Durschi (Ketchum, Idaho) will also travel to the World Cup in Pokljuka as a reserve. The men’s team has four start spots at the World Cup.

Selected to race at IBU Cup #2 in Ridnaun-Val Ridanna, Italy, on the women’s team were Hallie Grossman (South Burlington, Vermont, Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, Wisconsin) and Kelsey Dickinson (Winthrop, Washington). They will be joined by one member of the IBU World Cup team from Pokljuka to round out the four starting spots.

The men’s four starting spots at the IBU Cup #2 will be filled by Durtschi, Alex Howe (Gilford, New Hampshire), Jake Brown (St. Paul, Minnesota) and Vasek Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minnesota).