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USA’s Egan Takes Career-Best 20th Women’s Sprint as Koukalova Wins First IBU Worlds Gold

by Noah Brautigam
Clare Egan [P] Nordic Focus
February 10, 2017 (Hochfilzen, Austria) – American Clare Egan delivered a career-best 20th in the women’s 7.5km Sprint today at the IBU Worlds in Austria with clean shooting and fast skiing to finish at 1:12.4 behind winner, Gabriela Koukalová of the Czech Republic. It was Koukalová’s first World Championships gold medal.

Koukalova [P]
Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier set the time to beat early on but settled for second while Anais Chevalier of France took home the bronze for her first individual World Championships medal as well at 25.1 seconds back. Rosanne Crawford was the top Canuck and second North American with one penalty finishing 26th.

Rosanna Crawford (CAN) [P] Nordic Focus
Women's podium [P] Nordic Focus

It was another sunny afternoon in Hochfilzen, with good shooting conditions and hard tracks. Egan, out of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, skied well and shot clean matching the top six women of the day on the range – only 14 athletes in the 101-woman field managed to hit all targets. Her previous best result at World Championships was 40th in the sprint competition in 2015.

Clare Egan [P] Nordic Focus
Egan found some redemption after a disappointing leg in the Mixed Relay yesterday, saying that the relay “…was one of the more brutal failures of my biathlon career because I felt like I let so many people down.” Today she tried to mentally reset, “I made a good plan, I stuck to it, and it worked. I hit all my targets and finished 20th, an improvement of twenty spots from my previous best World Championships result.”

Susan Dunklee (USA) [P] Nordic Focus
Her teammate Susan Dunklee, always a contender for a top spot, was close behind Crawford in 29th (+1:27.4). Dunkley skied fast but suffered on the range, missing once in prone and twice in standing. After the second shooting stage Dunklee left the range in 47th position, but skied the 6th fastest time on the final loop to move up 18 places.

Koukalová knew what she had to do as Dahlmeier had finished before the Czech star had left the gate.. She flew through the three 2.5km loops and shot clean believing she was helped as the course began to ice when the sun dipped below the horizon for the later starters. “I could feel that every loop it was getting faster and faster,” said the winner.

Joanne Reid (USA) [P] Nordic Focus

American Joanne Reid finished 49th at 1:57.6 back. Reid had two penalties on the range, one each in prone and standing. Megan Tandy and Julia Ransom finished one spot and four seconds apart, in 64th and 65th respectively. Tandy had a single penalty in prone to finish 2:20.9 back, and Ransom had two penalties in standing at 2:24.7 back.

Emma Lunder (CAN) [P] Nordic Focus

Maddie Phaneuf of the USA finished 78th with two penalties in standing at 2:56.6 behind. Canada’s Emma Lunder rounded out the North American contingent today in 85th missing three in prone to finish at 3:10.1 back.

The top 60 finishers from today’s Sprint qualify for Sunday’s 10km Pursuit race. Egan, Crawford, Dunklee, and Reid all performed well enough to move on.

Competition continues tomorrow with the Men’s 10km Sprint competition.

Results here.

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