Team Yukon was right on target at the 2018 Canadian Archery Championships in Truro, N.S., from Aug. 3 to 12.
The three archers were second, third and seventh respectively in the outdoor target competition.
Coach Warren Kapaniuk said the team was very happy with the results.
“This was the best the Yukon has ever placed at nationals outdoors,” said Kapaniuk. “Lots of times, because we don’t have the competition, we finish right near the bottom in every category we’re in. So to see the younger shooters coming up is great.”
Alan Hanson had the best finish for the Yukoners, placing second in the masters recurve category.
Wyatt Kapaniuk was third in the cub recurve category and Vincent Menard was seventh in the cadet compound category.
While Hanson is more experienced competing both outdoors and Outside, this was just the second competition outside the Yukon for Wyatt and Menard.
Warren said a team of Yukoners travelled to the B.C. Indoor Provincial Championships last Easter.
“We have a competitive travelling team that … we’ve been slowly building up,” said Warren. “(The B.C. tournament) was the kids’ first taste of a real competition against lots of people and people you don’t know.”
The trip to Truro was the first outdoor competition and first time shooting in actual “outdoor” conditions.
“Wind is a huge factor,” said Warren. “We don’t really have an open-area range in the Yukon we can practice on, so we don’t get as much wind influence as, say, someone who practices on the prairies. The winds were blowing 30 kilometres per hour and gusting to 40, either 90 degrees to the archers so the wind was hitting the arrows at the side, or they were having to shoot into that kind of wind.”
The outdoor target competition ran from Aug. 9 to 12, so archers had to get familiar with the range — and the weather — quite quickly.
Warren said the ability to adjust and adapt was remarkable.
“I think they had five hours of practice time before the competition started, so that was all the time they had to try to fit in learning how to shoot in the wind and what they had to change in their shooting sequences,” said Warren. “It was a little frustrating to start with.”
Warren said that Wyatt found he had to aim almost at the target next to his own because of the low-poundage bow he competes with.
“(It) is completely counterintuitive that you aim at a completely different spot than you want your arrows to hit,” said Warren. “There was some dealing with how to aim off and stuff with the wind.”
This was only the fourth time the Yukon has sent archers to nationals and the first time archers competed in the recurve category. Developing recurve archery has been a priority over the last few years.
The team practiced two to three hours at a time, three to four times a week in the lead up to the competition on a range setup at the biathlon range, although the outdoor setting didn’t mimic competition conditions.
“Because we’re in the trees, they’re not able to train with the wind like if we had a big open field,” said Warren. “Even when it’s windy, it’s not very windy.”
Qualification for the tournament — and funding from Archery Canada — was the spring indoor tournament due to how short the outdoor shooting season is in the territory.
In addition to Archery Canada, one of the archers received partial funding from Sport Yukon’s athlete development program and another was sponsored by Underhill Geomatics.
The next target for archers is the indoor competition at the Canada Winter Games next year in Red Deer, Alta. A selection tournament is set for early September to pick a training team, with final selections happening closer to the competition date.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com