Biathlon Yukon’s Velocity Squad started the season on target last weekend, pegging off five medals.
The Yukon team collected four gold and a bronze at the Calforex Cup #2 in Canmore, Alta., Jan. 7 and 8.
The four gold mark the most by a Yukon biathlon team at a Calforex Cup in more than a decade, if not ever, Biathlon Yukon sources say.
“It’s just amazing how an individual sport has such a team feeling to it with that group of athletes,” said Velocity Squad coach Nick Marnik. “We had a pair in the junior girls, the senior boys and the youth men (divisions), they all race against each other. But they’re a team at the end of the day and they are there to support each other — even in the race setting they’re there to support each other.”
The Calforex Cup, which was scheduled for December but posted due to cold weather, was the Velocity Squad’s first competition — besides time trials at home — this season.
Yukon’s Jake Draper and Emma Marnik collected gold both days.
Draper outpaced over 20 competitors each day in the senior boys division. He won the six-kilometre sprint on Saturday with a time of 20:21.9, just 2.8 seconds ahead of the silver medalist from Calgary, and hit seven of 10 at the range. Draper, who won a gold and silver at the B.C. Biathlon Championships last season, then topped the field in the 6.25-kilometre sprint Sunday, shooting 15 of 20 and posting at time of 22:07.9.
Emma twice won 3.75-kilometre sprints in the Developmental 2 girls division. She shot at 50 per cent Saturday to win by 37 seconds and then improved to 70 per cent Sunday to win by over two minutes.
Aidan Hupe was Velocity Squad’s other medalist with bronze in the Developmental 2 boys’ 3.75-kilometre on Saturday. He then placed fourth, missing a second bronze by 1.3 seconds, in Sunday’s race. Both days he shot at 70 per cent.
Bronwyn Goodwin-Williams was the Deadeye Dick of the Yukon team in Canmore. Goodwin-Williams placed sixth out of 17 in the senior girls’ six-kilometre sprint on Saturday, hitting 10 for 10 at the range and was the only biathlete to shoot clean that morning out of 81.
“She had some wicked shooting there. Holy cow,” said Nick Marnick.
The next day Goodwin-Williams went 14 for 20 at the range but still placed seventh with a time of 32:40.4.
Yukoners Liam Adel and Francis Reid placed eighth and ninth, respectively, in the youth men’s 7.5-kilometre sprint on Saturday. Ried placed fifth and Adel eight in Sunday’s 10-kilometre sprint.
Teammate Amelie Latour took 16th in the senior girls’ six-kilometre sprint on Saturday but didn’t finish Sunday’s race.
Aidan Adel, in the senior boys division with Draper, placed 21st Saturday and 20th Sunday.
Biathlon Yukon’s success over the weekend wasn’t limited to Canmore. Whitehorse’s Nadia Moser won gold and bronze at national team trials in Valcartier, Que., earning a spot on Team Canada at the 2017 IBU Youth/Junior World Championships next month in Slovakia.
“It’s pretty exciting. I’m excited to go,” said Moser. “Anything could have happened. I was pretty sure I was going to make it, but not 100 per cent sure because I could have had really bad races, missed everything and not made it.”
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