It was one of the largest biathlon events in the history of Canada and a Yukoner was out in front with the best of them.
Whitehorse’s Nadia Moser won a silver medal at a national team trials event, that was also a North American Cup, over the weekend in Canmore, Alta.
“I think it was a really good weekend, I had a lot of fun racing,” said Moser. “I did a lot better than I thought I was actually going to do. I wasn’t expecting to get second place in my second race.”
The team trials began on Dec. 4 and continued through the weekend within the North American Cup.
It was Biathlon Canada’s team trials for the Youth/Junior World Biathlon Championships this coming February in Belarus. That event is taking place at the same time as the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C.
The trials were held earlier than usual so the national team, as well as the provincial and territorial teams, could decide which biathletes are going to worlds and which are going to the Canada Games.
Since some provinces also made the event their Canada Games trials, the event featured about 290 biathletes from all over the country.
Moser started out placing ninth for youth women in the 7.5-kilometre sprint on Dec. 4.
She then won silver in the youth women’s 7.5-kilometre sprint on Saturday in the NorAm. She hit nine out of 10 at the range for the second place finish in a field of 37 biathletes.
“I shot really well; I shot how I wanted to shoot,” said Moser. “I was really happy with that.”
Moser finished the NorAm/team trials with seventh out of 37 in the 7.5-kilometre mass start race on Sunday.
Those results put the 17-year-old fourth overall in youth women, making the national team standard.
However, despite qualifying for the worlds team, Moser was not selected.
“They can take 16 to the world championships, but as it turns out … they are going to focus on their juniors – the 19- and 20-year-olds,” said Biathlon Yukon coach Laurie Jacobsen. “Biathlon Canada is trying to bring up the level of biathlon up through requiring certain standards … that you’ve medalled or come in the top four with your average.
“What happened is they decided to focus on the juniors because they feel those juniors could win medals at the world championships.”
“I was really happy to get fourth overall,” said Moser. “I was just going to go for the experience of trying out for it and I didn’t actually think I’d place that high. I’m really happy with that.”
On the plus side, Moser is now available to compete for Yukon at the Canada Winter Games. Biathlon Yukon has not named their team for the Games, but it’s all but certain Moser will be on it.
Moser was Team Yukon’s only athlete to capture three gold medals at the 2014 Arctic Winter Games last March in Fairbanks, Alaska. She also produced a ninth place finish at the 2014 Canadian National Biathlon Championships in New Brunswick in March.
“I was going, ‘I don’t really want to make the decision to go to junior worlds or Canada Games.’ I don’t know what I would have chosen,” said Moser. “So in a way I’m happy I didn’t end up on the junior worlds team.”
Moser was not the only member of Biathlon Yukon to win hardware over the weekend in Canmore.
Yukon’s Jake Draper was golden at Biathlon Alberta’s Calforex Cup No. 2 on Saturday.
Draper cleaned house both trips to the range and won gold in a field of 26 biathletes in the Dev. 2 boys 3.75-kilometre sprint.
“This is his last year in Dev. 2 boys and he was determined and he got it,” said Jacobsen. “He had fabulous shooting; he cleaned both bouts.
“He has great potential.”
Yukon’s Maria Peters faced some international competition in the senior girls division races in the Calforex Cup. Her division included some South Koreans as part of an exchange with Biathlon Canada.
Peters placed fifth – fourth for Canadians – in Saturday’s six-kilometre sprint. She then took fourth – second for Canadians – in Sunday’s 7.5-kilometre race, just a minute and 10 seconds behind the bronze winner from Korea.
Biathlon Yukon also had three biathletes in the senior boys division of the Calforex Cup.
In Saturday’s six-kilometre sprint, Liam Adel came 25th, Bruce Wilson 30th and Daniel Sennett 31st.
In Sunday’s 7.5-kilometre race, Wilson was 24th, Sennett 25th and Adel 26th.
Adel and Sennett are in their first season of senior boys. Wilson competed in snowshoe biathlon in March’s Arctic Games and moved into ski biathlon this season.
“They had a little bit of challenge at the range,” said Jacobsen. “They are still doing some pretty good skiing, but their range results were not the best.
“It has an effect on their placing, for sure.”
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