Two Yukon biathletes make the podium at westerns

Biathlon Yukon's Velocity Squad could consider a name change to the High Velocity Squad. he speedy squad won two bronze medals and produced a bundle of top-10 finishes.

Biathlon Yukon’s Velocity Squad could consider a name change to the High Velocity Squad.

The speedy squad won two bronze medals and produced a bundle of top-10 finishes at the Western Canadian Biathlon Championships over the weekend in Prince George, B.C.

“We managed to get a couple medals, so that was quite exciting,” said Velocity coach Dennis Peters. “Every time we go out I’m more and more please with how this team is doing. We are placing higher in most of our competitions. Our shooting is getting better and one thing we really noticed is our skiing has improved.

“Part of it is a nice winter at home, we were able to put some skiing in. Part of it, too, was our athletes were really working hard and improving their skiing.”

The team’s two bronze medals were captured by Jake Draper and Micah Hildes.

Draper, who will compete for Yukon at the upcoming Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Alaska, won bronze in the junior boys six-kilometre pursuit on Sunday.

“When I came across the finish line, I went so hard I almost needed oxygen,” said Draper.

“I was actually pretty impressed with myself. I skied pretty much as hard as I could.

“There was a really steep hill on the course and I skied that really hard.”

The 13-year-old placed ninth in the junior boys 4.5-kilometre sprint on Saturday. He therefore started in ninth on Sunday and fought his way up six spots, shooting 11 of 15 at the range.

“I started in ninth and it was a five-second interval (between racers) and I finished in third, so I passed a lot of people,” said Draper. “When I finished, I didn’t think I was medaling in that race.”

Hildes, who is in just her first season of biathlon, won bronze in the junior girls six-kilometre pursuit on Sunday. She placed fourth in Saturday’s sprint in a field of five in her division. She, too, is on the team heading to the Arctic Games.

Yukon’s Nadia Moser was edged out of a medal with fourth in the senior girls six-kilometre sprint on Saturday. She then took fifth in the pursuit.

“Nadia Moser had a couple solid results,” said Peters. “She was in a really tough competition with some amazing female athletes.”

Teammate Maria Peters skied to 12th and 10th in the two races. Moser and Maria are on the Yukon Arctics team.

Dana Sellars, another newbie to the team who is going to the Arctics, had consistent results in the mixed juvenile division with seventh overall out of 16 both days.

“In the sprint she was the third place girl and in the pursuit she was the fourth place girl,” said Dennis. “She’s a very determined young lady. Almost all the young athletes are shooting with blocks, so they put their rifle on a block. Dana has been training for the Arctic Winter Games and she’s determined not to use a block. She’s been using the armband, which the older skiers use … It’s quite amazing at that age.”

Velocity Squad’s Tristan Sparks made up a lot of ground on Sunday in senior boys. Sparks moved up from 25th in Saturday’s six-kilometre sprint to 14th in Sunday’s 7.5-kilometre pursuit. Sparks has also been named to Team Yukon for the Arctics.

Half of the 10 Yukon biathletes in Prince George competed in junior boys, including Draper.

In Saturday’s sprint Liam Adel came in sixth, Daniel Sennett in eighth, Francis Reid 14th and Torsten Petersson in 15th.

In Sunday’s pursuit Adel placed eighth, Sennett 11th, Reid 12th and Petersson 15th.

Adel, who will compete up a division in junior boys at the Arctic Games, captured a bronze at the Calforex Cup in Canmore, Alta. at the start of the season.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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