US Biathlon men’s relay has historic finish at Soldier Hollow


Vincent Bonacci cleared his shooting targets to pace U.S. to a fourth-place finish

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Vincent Bonacci, center, of the US takes the first leg of the Men’s 4X7.5km Relay at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway, Utah, for the first day of competition of the BWW IBU World Cup Biathlon on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Vincent Bonacci has spent plenty of time at Soldier Hollow, the cross country and biathlon venue in Midway, but in recent years little of it has been on the snow.

That didn’t seem to matter Friday when the Salt Lake City native led the United States men’s relay team to a historic finish in the first race of the International Biathlon Union’s only domestic World Cup stop. The team finished fourth in the 4×7.5-kilometer (18.4-mile) relay in the sport that combines Nordic skiing and shooting.

Prior to Friday, the team’s best finish this season in the event was 10th. In a World Cup race in December, it was lapped and finished last.

Last month, however, Team USA recorded its best IBU World Championship finish when it placed fifth in Nove Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic. That was the best U.S. men’s relay result since 2016.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen of Norway fires on target as he takes the final leg of the Men’s 4X7.5km Relay at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway, Utah, for the first day of competition of the BWW IBU World Cup Biathlon on Friday, March 8, 2024.

“It felt amazing,” said Bonacci, who also skied on the World Championships team. “[I’m] really happy that it went well. It was awesome to have so many USA fans out here cheering especially because it’s not even the weekend yet.”

Bonacci set the pace Friday, hitting all of his targets and completing his 4.6-mile leg in 18 minutes, 13.4 seconds. Sean Doherty, Campbell Wright and Jake Brown completed the effort in a total time of 1:14:42.3. As a team, they missed just one of 40 targets.

Not surprisingly, Norway won the race. Led by brothers JT and Tarjei Boe, the top two men in the individual World Cup standings, the Norwegians finished in 1:13:12.3 despite missing three targets. Italy trailed by 26.5 seconds for second place, squeaking ahead of Germany, which was 27.3 seconds behind the winners.

Bonacci, a West High graduate, learned to cross country ski at age 6. Though he grew up training at Soldier Hollow, he said his competition schedule as member of the U.S. national team has mostly prevented him from returning. He said he only gets to ski on the snow there about once a year now, though he spends much of his summer skate-skiing at the venue.



Source link

Leave a Comment