USA Biathlon team takes 10th in mixed relay at Soldier Hollow
February 20, 2019
The U.S. biathlon team finished the IBU BMW Biathlon at Soldier Hollow with another strong performance, taking 10th in the mixed relay event after initially starting in 14th. It was the team's second competition in mixed relay at the World Cup level this season, having taken 15th at Pokljuka, Slovenia in November.
The team, comprising Alex Howe, Jake Brown, Joanne Reid and anchor Clare Egan, used just five "spare" shots of the 27 allotted to the team. The spares, which have to be loaded by hand, inherently add time to each shot, but are still quicker than the penalty loops undertaken once all spares have been used.
Only the top finishers, the French team, shot more cleanly than the Americans with three spares.
In mixed team relay, each member of a four-person coed team shoots twice during their skiing sessions, in which the men ski 7.5 kilometers and the women 6 kilometers. Egan said the result, especially the shooting, was something the team could take pride in going into the World Championships next month.
IBU BMW World Cup Mixed Relay:
1. France (Quentin Fillon Maillet, Simon Desthieux, Celia Aymonier, Anais Chevalier), 1:03:51.4
2. Germany (Erik Lesser, Benedikt Doll, Franziska Hildebrand, Vanessa Hinz), +13.5
3. Norway (Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen, Johannes Thingnes Boe, Tiril Eckhoff, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland) +1:02.2
4. Switzerland (Jeremy Finello, Benjamin Weger, Elisa Gasparin, Lena Haecki), 1:31.2
5. Sweden (Torstein Stenersen, Peppe Femling, Ingela Andersson, Elisabeth Hoegberg), +1:59.7
Howe had just one spare in his two shooting rounds, while Brown had three. Reid also used just one spare, and Egan shot cleanly in both bouts.
"This was my clean shooting race of the year, so to do that in my last tune-up before worlds is the perfect way to send me off. I'm ready now," Egan said.
France's team – Quentin Fillon Maillet, Simon Desthieux, Celia Aymonier and Anais Chevalier – finished with a total time of 1 hour, 3 minutes and 51.4 seconds in the 27K race.
Chevalier shot cleanly, and left the team's nearest competitor, Germany, trailing by 13.5 seconds after being level going into the final round of shooting.
Chevalier shot with Germany's Vanessa Hinz in the area next to her in the final round. When Hinz missed twice, it gave Chevalier the lead going into the last lap.
"Honestly, I didn't think about it," Chevalier said of her competitor's presence at a crucial moment. "I wasn't listening if she was missing or not. (When Hinz missed two) it was lucky for me."
A teammate ran out onto the field to Chevalier during her final, uncontested approach, and handed her the French flag, which she waved in front of a cheering crowd as she crossed the finish line.
The IBU Biathlon World Championships are scheduled from March 7-17 in Oestersund, Sweden.
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