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Sports

Susan Dunklee earns her first World Cup biathlon medal

The name Dunklee has a long and proud history in U.S. Nordic skiing.

Stan Dunklee, an NCAA Nordic champion, competed in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics and, along with Bill Koch, was one of the top U.S. ski racers in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Everett Dunklee was a Vermont cross-country champion in 1962 and 1963 and competed in the 1972 Olympics.

Biathlete Susan Dunklee of Craftsbury (Stan’s daughter and Everett’s niece) wrote her own chapter on March 20 when she finished third in the women’s World Cup 7.5-kilometer sprint at the Holmenkollen National Ski Arena in Oslo, Norway.

It was the first time in her six-year career that the 28-year-old Dartmouth grad finished with a medal in World Cup biathlon competition, and it was just the third time in the past 20 years that an American woman earned a medal in a World Cup.

Dunklee shot a perfect 10-for-10 on her targets, finishing just 33 seconds behind the winner, Darya Domracheva of Belarus, who finished in 22 minutes, 18.8 seconds. Norway’s Tora Berger took second, 10.7 seconds back.

That she did it at the Holmenkollen made it even sweeter for Dunklee. The annual Holmenkollen Ski Festival, which began in 1892, is the world’s largest Nordic skiing competition, and the Holmenkollen National Ski Arena is the Yankee Stadium of the Nordic world — its biggest and most historic stage.

Dunklee has steadily improved over the past few seasons. She placed fifth in the 2012 World Championships in her first season, and recently finished fourth in the 7.5-kilometer sprint event in Antholz, Italy.

At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, she reached the top 20 in three races. Her best finish: a 12th-place effort in the 12.5-kilometer mass start. She was also part of a 4x6-kilometer relay team that finished seventh.

You can follow Dunklee’s adventures at her blog, www.susandunklee.wordpress.com and on Facebook.

All-Star performances

• Brattleboro was well represented in goal in the 30th annual Essex Rotary Key Bank All-Star Hockey Classic on March 15, but neither Greg DiSilva nor Alex Fellows could prevent a sweep by the Harris Conference squads.

DiSilva had 10 saves in goal as the Austin Conference pulled out a 3-2 win in the boys’ game. Fellows made nine saves as the Austin Conference won the girls’ game, 4-1. Brattleboro defenseman Madison Doucette also played in the girls’ game.

• The Vermont Basketball Coaches Association’s annual North-South All-Star game was played in Windsor on March 15, and the North took three of the four games.

The only win for the South came in the Division III-IV girls’ game, a 114-84 victory. Twin Valley’s Sammy Cunningham, Savannah Nesbitt, and Hannah Swanson; Emily Dufault of Bellows Falls; and Madi Huntley of Green Mountain were the local players on the South squad.

Twin Valley’s Chris Brown coached the Division III-IV South boys’ team, which featured three of his players: Cade Nesbitt, Dal Nesbitt, and Colin Lozito, but they lost to the North, 113-87. Lozito scored 13 points.

The North romped to a 106-56 win in the Division I-II South girls’ game. Brattleboro’s Ari Harrison was the lone local player on the South team.

The Division I-II South boys’ game was more competitive, but the North prevailed, 128-114. Kendrick Mills of Bellows Falls and Chris McAuliffe and Isaac Roach of Brattleboro were on the South team, and Roach scored 18 points.

Leland & Gray’s Haley Buffum and Twin Valley’s Sam Molner were the lone local representatives on the VBCA’s “Dream Dozen” teams, which honor the top non-senior boys and girls in each division. Brown also was honored by the VBCA as Division IV Coach of the Year.

Thinking spring

• The Vermont spring high school sports season opens on April 7, but barring a major warming trend over the next two weeks, many schools aren’t going to have their baseball, softball, and lacrosse fields ready in time.

The sun feels warm in March, but the temperatures this month have been all over the map, and we have not had a sustained stretch of warm weather yet.

Tennis and track teams can simply shovel off the snow. It’s a lot easier to shovel off a tennis court than a baseball field. So, for now, the baseball and softball teams have stay inside and practice in the gymnasium.

It’s not the ideal way to get ready for the baseball and softball season, but Vermont kids are used to playing “gym ball” until the snow melts and the ground defrosts.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #247 (Wednesday, March 26, 2014). This story appeared on page D4.

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