Facing fierce competition from throughout Canada and the US, Whitehorse’s Ryan Burlingame, 17, ended the season with two top-10 finishes.
Burlingame skied and shot his way to a ninth-place finish in an individual race on March 26 and then an eighth-place finish in a sprint event two days later at the 2009 Canadian Biathlon Nationals and North American Championships in Val Cartier, Quebec.
“It was great,” said Burlingame. “The snow was really fast—a little slushy in parts. I felt that my skiing was really good and my prone shooting was just great.”
Thursday’s individual race consisted of five laps of a 2.5-kilometre course, shooting 20 targets along the way (10 standing and 10 in the prone position). Facing a one-minute time penalty for each missed shot, Burlingame hit seven of 10 standing and eight in the prone position.
“The range there is really nice,” said Burlingame. “Even though the targets are manual, the lighting in it is quite nice; the targets get lit up nicely.”
Burlingame had some difficulties in his final lap, taking a fall and losing about 30 seconds of time.
Saturday’s sprint event had just two rounds of shooting, one prone and one standing.
Burlingame went five-for-five in the prone and hit three-for-five standing.
With those two finishes, and previous ones from two North American Cup races in Canmore, Alberta, and the Western Canadian Championships in Edmonton, Burlingame was ranked 14th in the youth men’s category for the North American Cup 2008-2009 series.
The Westerns were the scene Burlingame’s best results, with a gold and bronze, but he also took third- and fourth-place finishes in Canmore.
“I love the Canmore trails, they’re beautiful,” said Burlingame.
Five Yukoners competing in the senior girls division joined Burlingame in Val Cartier. Aliye Tuzlak had the best results with an 11th-place finish on the Thursday and a 10th on the Saturday in the sprints.
Erin Oliver-Beebe took 16th and 13th, Evelyn Kitchen was consistent with 23rd-place finishes in both and Jennifer Curtis came in 25th and 27th.
Aryn Clarke only raced on the first day, finishing one spot ahead of Curtis.
“This is a big race and can be very intimidating to Yukon youth not just by the sheer number of athletes, but also the calibre of the biathletes our young biathletes were up against,” said Yukon coach Judy Hartling, in a news release.
“I am very proud of all of them and feel privileged to be coaching such an incredible group of young biathletes. At the end of the day, the Yukon can be very proud of what these young Yukon skiers and shooters have accomplished.”
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