OSTERSUND, Sweden - The United States biathlon mixed relay team of Annelies Cook, Susan Dunklee, Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey opened the IBU World Cup season Sunday with a 12th place overall finish.
Cook, a Saranac Lake native, led off the first leg for Team USA, leaving prone in ninth place after the first stage. Encountering gusty winds at her standing stage, Cook picked up three penalties as the team dropped to 21st.
Dunklee of Barton, Vt. then cleaned prone and brought the team up to 19th. Burke of Paul Smiths cleaned prone and standing (with two extra shots) to take Team USA up to 14th.
Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake races the first leg for Team USA in Sunday’s mixed relay at the IBU World Cup season opener in Ostersund, Sweden.
(Photo — US Biathlon/NordicFocus)
On the last leg, Burke tagged off to Bailey with the team sitting in 13th. Bailey of Lake Placid cleaned prone with one extra shot, moving the team up to 11th.
Bailey picked up one penalty in standing, leaving the range with Team USA in 12th place to the finish. The Americans finished with a time of 1:21:32.3.
The Czech Republic won with a time of 1:17:05.6), Norway was second in 1:17:15.8 and Ukraine finished third in 1:18:16.8.
"Gusty winds created challenging shooting conditions for everyone and an unpredictable race," Dunklee said. "The first race of the season is always a wake-up call to the body and I hope to improve in our next races later this week."
Team USA resumes competition Nov. 27 with the women's 15km individual event.
"It's good to get the first race under us," Bailey said. "Although it's not the result we hoped for, it's a solid start, something we can build on going forward."