Persistence pays off for Egan

Clare Egan, of Maine, looks at her time after crossing the finish line during the women's 7.5km biathlon sprint at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

OSLO, Norway — A year after considering retirement following the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Clare Egan stood on a World Cup podium Sunday in Oslo with a bronze medal draped around her neck and a smile across her face.

“I decided that I wanted to do one more year, just for fun, just to see how much I could learn and how good a biathlete I could become,” said Egan of her decision to continue in the sport. “I had the assistance of my new coach, Armin (Auchentaller), and I had a lot of fun and I became a great biathlete.”

Egan, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, posted the top eight finishes of her career this season, including three in the top 10.

“I skied much faster this year than I have in the past and I think that was due to finally finding a good balance in my training, between working hard and resting. I did not train more, but the quality was much higher. I’m very excited for the next season.”

After cleaning her first 15 targets in Sunday’s 12.5-kilometer mass start, Egan came into the final standing shooting stage in medal contention along with Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg and Slovakia’s Paulina Fialkova. Following her only miss of the race, she exited the penalty loop in third place, seven seconds behind Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff and 15 seconds ahead of fourth-place Denise Herrmann of Germany.

Firmly entrenched in the bronze-medal position, Egan wanted more. She chased down and passed Eckhoff to move into second place with 1.5 kilometers left to go, but could not hold off the veteran Norwegian, eventually moving back to third but sewing up her spot on the podium, 10.4 seconds behind winner Oeberg. Eckhoff was 1.3 seconds back for the silver medal.

Egan finishes 18th in this season’s World Cup rankings, a year after placing 63rd. She also becomes the first American woman to medal at an IBU event since Susan Dunklee captured the silver medal in the mass start at the 2017 IBU World Championships.

A replay of Egan’s bronze-medal performance is available thru www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

In the men’s 15k mass start held later in the day, Sean Doherty (Center Conway, New Hampshire) finished 27th with five penalties, 3:09.1 off the winning time set by Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe who shot clean. Also shooting clean was Germany’s Arnd Peiffer who took the silver medal, 19.2 seconds back. Peiffer’s teammate, Benedikt Doll placed third, 38 seconds behind Boe with two penalties.

“I would like to say thank you to the team and all of our supporters for a great season,” said Doherty who finished a career-best 25th in the final IBU World Cup rankings, up from 36th a year ago.

Cashman wins giant slalom for 1st career national title

WATERVILLE VALLEY, N.H. (AP) — Keely Cashman won the giant slalom on Monday for her first career national title at the U.S. championships.

Cashman denied Nina O’Brien a sweep in the technical events at Waterville Valley Resort. O’Brien won the parallel slalom on Saturday and the slalom on Sunday, and was third after the morning run on Monday. O’Brien skied one of the fastest runs on her second attempt to take the lead with two racers left, but finished 0.28 seconds behind for the silver medal.

Tricia Mangan was third for the second straight day, 1.22 seconds behind Cashman.

O’Brien also won two national titles in the velocity events at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine last week.

The men will race the giant slalom on Tuesday.

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