One less missed target, a few extra strides on the skis or quicker transitions at the range, could have meant a medal for Whitehorse’s Erin Oliver-Beebe at the Canadian Biathlon Championships in Charlo, New Brunswick on Thursday.
The 16-year-old shot and skied to fourth in the senior girls’ six-kilometre sprint, just three seconds out of third.
“I was like, ‘Damn!’ I could have made up those three seconds so easily,” said Oliver-Beebe. “That could be just dropping off my rifle quicker or getting up off the mat quicker – that’s three seconds. It’s just such a short amount of time that it was easily within reach.”
In two trips to the range in the sprint, Oliver-Beebe hit four in prone and four in standing, “so I reached my goal of shooting eight out of 10 and I was happy about that.”
The previous day, in the senior girls’ 7.5-kilometre individual race, Oliver-Beebe took fifth, hitting 13 of 20 at the range, missing only two from the prone position.
“I was really happy with my skiing, today and yesterday,” said Oliver-Beebe. “My skiing felt fast and I hit the trails hard, but my shooting wasn’t quite up to what I can do.”
Yukon teammate Jennifer Curtis moved up three spots from Wednesday’s individual race to ninth in the sprint, registering four-out-of-five in prone and one-out-of-five standing.
In her 12th place finish on Wednesday, Curtis started out knocking down all five targets from the prone to start but failed to get one standing in her second trip to the range.
“I didn’t really have great shooting yesterday either, except for prone,” said Curtis.
“My standing isn’t quite as good as usual.
“I’m not quite so happy with how I’m doing,” she added. “I’m not doing quite as well as I had hoped.”
Removing the time added from misses at the range, both Oliver-Beebe and Curtis had faster times on the trails than the third and fourth place finishers on Wednesday.
Also at the championships is Yukon’s Ryan Burlingame who is competing for Team Alberta where he is attending school. On Wednesday, Burlingame took fifth in the junior men’s 15-kilometre individual race and sixth in the 10-kilometre sprint on Thursday, not missing a single shot at the range in the latter.
Oliver-Beebe and Curtis represented the Yukon at the Canada Winter Games last month in Nova Scotia.
The pair were racing up a category in the junior women’s division, and both still took in multiple top-20 results.
Oliver-Beebe also won two gold medals at the Western Canadian Championships in Camrose, Alberta, at the start of the month.
The Yukon’s two female athletes will be targeting even stronger results in the 7.5-kilometre pursuit race on Saturday, going out in the order of their finish on Thursday, making Oliver-Beebe the fourth out of the gate.
“I’m excited,” said Oliver-Beebe. “I think I have a shot of getting on the podium – third.”
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