Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake turned in the best performance of her biathlon career Friday with a 26th-place finish in the 7.5-kilometer World Cup race in Ruhpolding, Germany.
Cook shot cleanly in both shooting stages to post a time of 22:22, which was 1 minute, 24 seconds behind winner Miriam Gossner of Germany. Darya Domracheva of Belarus was second in 21:04 with one misfire and Kaisa Makarainen of Finland was third in 21:14.7 with one miss.
"Today was a performance I have been hoping to finally have," said Cook after Friday's race. "It was my personal best so far, and that is always an awesome feeling. I have been a bit frustrated with shooting lately especially because I think there has been an improvement in skiing, so it felt wonderful to clean all my targets.
Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake races to a personal-best 26th-place finish in the IBU World Cup 7.5k sprint Friday in Ruhpolding, Germany.
(Photo — US Biathlon/Nordic Focus)
"Before the race, I told myself that I needed to hit all my targets to do well and then I thought to myself, 'no that's not right. I want to hit my targets and I am going to hit my targets.' Who knows if that worked, but you start to get supersticious sometimes.
"It was a totally different day on skis than the relay," Cook added. "The relay was fast, icy snow and today there was fresh powder that was quite dry and sticky. It made the skiing very difficult for me and I think for everyone. Even though the course wasn't that difficult, with the snow conditions it was super hard. Right down the middle of the track was a glazed section where everyone would ski and that was quite slippery, but as soon as your skis hit any new snow, then they would immediately slow down. So your balance muscles got completely tight immediately and there was nowhere to ski powerfully and relaxed. My legs were killing me."
Sara Studebaker of Idaho also had a strong race, with clean shooting and a 33rd-place finish in 22:29.7.
"Today was definitely tough conditions, and I was happy to be able to capitalize on our great skis and shoot well," Studebaker said. "This was a big step for me as I finally felt good skiing. I feel like things are definitely on the upswing for me, and I'm looking forward to Antholz and then heading to World Champs."
"Today was a good confirmation that with our training, and our goal-setting we are headed in the right direction," said Jonne Khknen, US Biathlon women's head coach. "The shooting is coming together and it's good to see that the team is performing at the level they can be and should be."
Susan Dunklee of Barton, Vt. missed one at each shooting stage, finishing 53rd with a time of 23:06.7. Lanny Barnes of Colorado started with bib 89, but did not finish the race due to illness.
World Cup 5 racing continues in Ruhpolding today with the men's 10k sprint. Tim Burke of Paul Smiths will start with bib 19, Leif Nordgren bib 25, Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid with bib 37, Russell Currier bib 81 and Jay Hakkinen with bib 86 among a field of 102 competitors.