Hakkinen helps U.S. to 7th place

Posted: Sunday, February 06, 2011

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine -- Germany won the mixed relay at the biathlon World Cup on Saturday, while the U.S. team finished seventh.

Kathrin Hitzer, Olympic gold medalist Magdalena Neuner, Alexander Wolf and Daniel Bohm finished in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 31.6 seconds to beat France by 27.9 seconds.

Marie Laure Brunet, Sophie Boilley, Olympic gold medalist Vincent Jay and Alexis Bouef skied for France.

Russia was third in 1:14:33 with a team led by Olympic gold medalist Svetlana Sleptsova.

The U.S. team of Sara Studebaker, Haley Johnson, Kasilof's Jay Hakkinen and Jeremy Teela finished in 1:16:18.8.

Hakkinen was third in the relay. After Studebaker and Johnson took their turns on the tracks, Hakkinen started in 11th position.

Hakkinen needed just one extra bullet on the shooting range and had the third-best race time compared to the other competitors starting third. Hakkinen moved the Americans up to eighth place, while Teela, who grew up in Anchorage, got the U.S. to seventh.

"It was a good day overall and a lot of fun to race here," Hakkinen said in a released statement. "It was my first mixed relay and I think it really is a great competition. Especially in front of the home crowd it's a lot of fun."

On his website, jayhakkinen.com, Hakkinen wrote he is pleased with his progress in coming back from a bout with mono that made him miss the first part of the season.

He wrote he is happy with his shooting, and is looking to his results improving as he gets in better and better ski shape.

On Friday, Hakkinen finished 28th in a 10-kilometer sprint. With perfect shooting, Hakkinen finished with a time of 27 minutes, 26.6 seconds. He was 1:57.8 behind winner Arnd Peiffer of Germany. Lowell Bailey led the U.S. with a 25th-place finish.

Nikiski's Zach Hall also competed in the race. He finished 70th at 29:44.3, with three misses.

Biathletes from 22 nations are competing at the Maine Winter Sports Center's Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle. Pursuit events are scheduled for Sunday.

Next weekend's competition is in Fort Kent.

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