Cook anchors U.S. biathlon relay to eighth

ANNECY-LE GRAND BORNAND, France – Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake joined Susan Dunklee, Sara Studebaker and Hannah Dreissigacker to capture eighth place in the 24-kilometer World Cup biathlon race Thursday.

Cook skied the anchor leg of the relay as Team USA posted a time of 1 hour, 9 minutes, 11.9 seconds. It was the second eighth-place finish in a row for the American women’s relay team.

“I am happy that we were able to match our relay performance from Sunday because I didn’t get to race that one,” Cook said. “Watching Susan take the lead right from the start and look so relaxed was pretty awesome. I was proud of all the girls, and being the last leg I could just race and do my own thing.”

Dunklee led off and shot cleanly in her first stage then took one extra shot in stage two, before handing off to Studebaker with Team USA in eighth place.

Needing one extra shot in prone and three in standing, Studebaker tagged Dreissigacker with the team in 12th place. Dreissigacker posted one of the best performances of her career with the fifth-best leg time, moving the team up to 10th after shooting clean in both stages.

Cook needed just one extra shot in the standing stage.

“I’m really psyched with today,” Dreissigacker said. “It was my second time ever shooting clean in a race, and definitely my first time cleaning in a World Cup.

“Annelies and I were warming up together and the warm-up loop goes right by the race course in several places, so we had a great time cheering Susan as she led the field off of the start. I know we were all really excited to have bib 8 today, after our good relay in Hochfilzen, and now we proved that eighth can be our new norm.”

Germany won the relay with a time of 1:06:27.8 (0+3), followed by Ukraine (1:06:51.1, 0+4) and Norway (1:06:51.6, 0+10). Team Canada finished fourth in 1:08:03.6 (0+9).