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USA’s Dunklee Stellar 6th and Canada’s Ransom Career-best 18th as Dahlmeier Wins Women’s 15km Individual for 3rd Gold at IBU Worlds

by Noah Brautigam

February 15, 2017 (Hochfilzen, Austria) – American Susan Dunklee found her championship form today in the women’s 15km Individual race at the IBU Worlds to take 6th and in the process secured a berth on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team. Canada’s Julia Ransom continued her breakthrough season with a personal-best 18th-place finish.

Susan Dunklee (USA) [P] Nordic Focus
It was another golden day for Laura Dahlmeier of Germany, who missed only a single shot in the first prone shooting stage and turned in the fastest ski time for a comfortable win over Gabriela Koukalova of the Czech Republic. The bronze medal today went to Alexia Runggaldier of Italy, who made up for a mid-pack ski time with clean shooting.

Women's podium [P] Nordic Focus

Warm temperatures and continued sunshine saw Dunklee in the hunt for the bronze medal before missing a target in the final standing shoot. “This was a wonderful day,” said Dunklee who hit 18 of 20 targets. “I focused on doing my own race and felt much more emotionally detached in the shooting range, even with a medal on the line. My focus stayed fully on the process.”

Julia Ransom (CAN) [P] Nordic Focus

Meanwhile 23-year-old Ransom slugged it out through the soft snow and warm conditions with near perfect shooting.

“I’m really happy with the race today. After a disappointing sprint race this weekend, I decided to just get back to the basics,” said Ransom. I was finding that I was overwhelmed by the intricacies of shooting, and constantly hoping for clean races that I forgot to just take a breadth and aim for the middle.”

Coming into these championships with high hopes and expectations, Dunklee didn’t have the start she hoped, with a good leg in the Mixed Relay but a disappointing team result, and two mid-20s in the Sprint and Pursuit. After those results, Dunklee stepped back for a reset.

“Honestly, I think after having the first couple races done I just started feeling a little bit more relaxed,” she said. “I just have to do my job, and I don’t have control over what the results are going to be, I can only control what I am doing in the moment.”

Dunklee on the range [P]

Dunklee did just that today and skied the seventh fastest time. Coming into the final standing stage she was in podium contention, but it was not to be, and her single miss in the final stage put her out of bronze medal quest.

Dahlmeier’s win medal count is up to three golds and one silver for these championships. Koukalova finished 25 seconds back, also with a single miss in the first shooting stage. Koukalova and Dalhmeier dusted their competition on the tracks, with the only competition for ski time coming from Kaisa Makarainen of Finland, who skied 0.4 seconds faster than Koukalova, but missed four shots and finished in 15th place.

Clare Egan [P]
The USA’s Clare Egan continued her string of strong performances, finishing in 22nd at 3:55.0 back. Egan’s performance today illustrated the rollercoaster ride that is biathlon. She shot clean in the first three stages and skied well to put herself in the hunt for the podium, before missing two shots in the final standing stage.

Megan Tandy of Canada skied a solid race to place 43rd, missing only two shots in the final two stages, and finishing 5:14.0 back. Next up for North America was biathlon rookie Joanne Firesteel, who skied well but missed four shots to finish 56th at 6:36.7 back. Rosanna Crawford of Canada was not far behind in 62nd at 7:01.5 back. Crawford missed three shots in the first shooting stage, and while she cleaned the remaining stages her ski speed was not enough to pull her back into contention.

Emma Lunder of Canada placed 64th, missing four shots over the course of the race and crossing the line at 7:17.9 back. Maddie Phaneuf of the USA rounded out the North American squad, missing four shots and finishing 87th at 9:38.3 back. A total of 99 women were on today’s start line.

Next up is the men’s 20km Individual competition on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Results here.

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