Jake Draper’s aim was sharp enough to pick off two medals over the weekend.
The member of Biathlon Yukon’s race team, Velocity Squad, won a gold and a silver in the juvenile division at the B.C. Cup in Kelowna.
“He skied his heart out,” said Velocity coach Dennis Peters. “He had a couple goals when he went in: he wanted to shoot three out of five every time he shot, and he reached his goal… For a first-year biathlete, that’s just amazing.
“He was our top shooter for this series.”
With his 60-per-cent success rate at the range both days, Draper won silver in the 2.5-kilometre sprint on Saturday and gold in the 3.4-kilometre pursuit Sunday.
The B.C. Cup was Draper’s first races outside of the Yukon.
“He started in the summer. He came out to try it once and loved it,” said Peters.
The juvenile division at the B.C. Cup was not split into male and female. That was too bad for Velocity Squad’s Amanda Thomson.
Thomson was the top female in the division both days.
“Twelve-year-old boys are competitive, and she was right in there with them going for it,” said Peters.
Thomson placed seventh out of 13 biathletes in the 3.4-kilometre pursuit on Sunday. She also came ninth in Saturday’s sprint.
“The first day was really tough for the kids,” said Dennis. “In the morning it was calm and then wind came up… And the wind just swirled everywhere. You never knew which way the wind was going, and that really affects where the bullet lands.”
Velocity’s Maria Peters came within 10 seconds of a medal in junior girls.
Maria was just 9.9 seconds behind the bronze winner in the 4.5-kilometre sprint on Saturday. Teammate Heather Thomson was just 9.3 seconds behind Maria in fifth.
“The first day was just a nail-biter; they were all so close,” said Dennis. “They were right in there.”
Maria was also fourth on Sunday in the six-kilometre pursuit.
The Velocity Squad had four junior boys compete at the Cup.
Daniel Sennett was ninth in Saturday’s 4.5-kilometre sprint and eighth in Sunday’s six-kilometre pursuit.
Liam Adel shot and skied to eighth on Saturday and ninth on Sunday. Pelly Vincent-Braun came 11th Saturday and 12th Sunday. Francis Reid placed 14th both days.
Velocity’s Tristan Sparks hit 11 out of 20 at the range en route to placing sixth in the 7.5-kilometre pursuit for senior boys on Sunday.
Sparks, who captured two silver at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games, also placed 10th in the six-kilometre sprint.
Teammate Nadia Moser raced to eighth in the senior girls 7.5-kilometre pursuit on Sunday and placed ninth in Saturday’s sprint.
Sparks and Moser are both in their first year of the senior division. That means it’s also their first year shooting in the standing position.
“It’s quite a learning curve and they’re really doing well at it,” said Dennis. “And they’re the youngest in their age category.”
Moser won four medals, including a gold, while representing the Yukon at the 2012 Arctic Games.
“We had a great weekend,” said Dennis. “Our kids are all thrilled with what they did. It was the first time a lot of them had ever gone to a competition.”
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