Seven biathletes claim consecutive Yukon titles

The best way to prove something wasn’t a fluke is to do it twice in a row.

The best way to prove something wasn’t a fluke is to do it twice in a row.

A handful of biathletes did just that at the Yukon Biathlon Championships over the weekend at the Biathlon Yukon range.

Seven won their division in the sprints on Feb. 18 and then in the pursuit races on Feb. 19.

Though they won both days, for a few it was pretty close. One miss at the range could have altered the final standings.

Ava Irving-Staley, a member of Biathlon Yukon’s Pursuit Squad, topped the girls division both days.

On Saturday she finished just 4.8 seconds ahead of Isla Hupe, who placed second both days. It was by far the closest finish between first and second all weekend.

Irving-Staley followed that up by shotting clean (hitting all five) in one trip to the range on Sunday.

“When she shot clean in that second bout, she was so happy on the range,” said Biathlon Yukon coach Nick Marnik.

The junior boys saw a pair of tight finishes at the championships.

Romeo Champagne, a member of Biathlon Yukon’s Velocity Squad, shot 80 per cent on Saturday and finished just 51.3 seconds ahead of teammate Aidan Hupe.

On Sunday Champagne won by just 22.5 seconds ahead of Noah Gilbert. Gilbert, who hit 14 of 15 at the range on Sunday, was racing up an age group.

Aidan Hupe and Gilbert were recently selected to represent the north at the Cadet National Biathlon Championships next week in Valcartier, Que.

Velocity Squad’s Bronwyn Goodwin-Williams won on Saturday, a minute ahead of Dana Sellars, in senior girls.

Goodwin-Williams then hit 16 of 20 — shooting clean in her second prone — to finish Sunday’s 7.5-kilometre pursuit in 36 minutes even for first.

There were also some less competitive finishes.

Velocity Squad’s Francis Reid won the youth men division by over two minutes both days. He shot at 80 per cent both days.

Brian Healy, in masters men, claimed first by almost nine minutes Saturday and over 10 minutes on Sunday.

Veronica Porter, another Velocity member, won the junior girls both days. She finished the 3.75-kilometre sprint in 17:36.4 with 70 per cent accuracy at the range.

Aidan Adel won senior boys both days, shooting 70 per cent to finish the six-kilometre sprint in 22:04.3.

“I think it was a really great event. Everything went really smoothly,” said Marnik. “We had some of the typical hiccups you see during a race — talking about the athleticism. We had a little bit of cross firing going on and shooting out of order that resulted in disqualification. It’s disappointing in one respect, but great to see it at a local event and not a national event or something.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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