Biathlon Yukon’s Velocity Squad was as fast as ever, with some sharpshooting to boot, over the weekend.
Yukoners captured three bronze medals and posted numerous top-10 finishes at the NorAm/Calforex Cup No. 1 in Canmore, Alta.
Whitehorse’s Emma Marnik, who claimed bronze in both of her races, didn’t expect to climb the podium both days.
“I was quite honestly surprised by it,” said Marnik. “They were interesting trails – I really enjoyed the snow. I was actually really happy the whole weekend, with skiing – everything.
“I didn’t crash. I was very tired coming up some of the hills, but it was great courses, great people and everyone was in a great mood, so it was lots of fun.”
The 13-year-old placed third out of 13 in Saturday’s three-kilometre sprint and third out of eight in Sunday’s five-kilometre individual for Dev 1 girls.
She hit four out of five in both trips to the range on Saturday. Shooting at 80 per cent was “undoubtedly” her best in a competition.
“I usually get stuck in the penalty lap a lot during competitions,” said Marnik. “But in this one I didn’t feel too different than in a practice.
“When I shoot well, I ski fast because I’m happy with my shooting.”
Making her medals all the more remarkable is the fact Marnik is in just her second season of competitive biathlon. Not only that, Yukon biathletes don’t rest their rifles on blocks, like the Dev 1 division – or “development 1” division – allows.
“We actually had a very good weekend,” said Yukon coach Dennis Peters. “Emma came through big time with two bronze medals. Her shooting was astounding.
“In the Dev 1 category, most of the kids shoot using a block … they rest their rifles on a block. None of our kids use a block, so they are shooting with an armband, supporting the rifles themselves.
“So it was great to see Aidan (Hupe) and Emma be top shooters when they were really at a handicap.”
Yukon’s third bronze medal came from Nadia Moser, placing third in the youth women six-kilometre sprint on Saturday. Moser, who trains full time at Biathlon Alberta Training Centre in Canmore, didn’t race Sunday.
A Yukoner also placed top-five in the biggest field of the weekend in Canmore.
Liam Adel hit 15 out of 20 to take fifth in the senior boys 7.5-kilometre on Sunday. Teammate Jake Draper placed 19th and Daniel Sennett 25th in the field of 37 biathletes.
“On Sunday Liam just took off. He skied fast, he shot well,” said Peters. “The shooting wasn’t the easiest because the wind was changing and the light was changing.”
The previous day Draper shot 80 per cent to take ninth out of 35 in the senior boys six-kilometre sprint. In that one Sennett, who also shot 80, placed 13th and Adel 15th.
Yukon’s Maria Peters also notched 80 per cent at the range on Saturday, placing 10th out of 15 in the youth women six-kilometre sprint. She then hit 15 out of 20 to place seventh in the youth women 7.5-kilometre mass start race Sunday.
Velocity Squad’s Aidan Hupe placed 11th out of 23 racers in Dev 1 boys three-kilometre sprint on Saturday but did not start on Sunday.
Yukon’s Bruce Wilson placed 21st in the 7.5-kilometre sprint Saturday and 22nd out 27 in the 10-kilometre Sunday in the youth men’s division.
Bernard Johnson took 12th Saturday and ninth Sunday in the master men division while Judith Hartling took fourth and fifth in the two masters women races.
Johnson and Hartling are both part of Biathlon Yukon’s adult program that has grown to about 30 biathletes this season.
“Masters in biathlon is 35 and above, so when you get to the age of over 50, it’s pretty tough to compete with those guys. But they both had great races and it was wonderful to have them along,” said Dennis.
Moser took Sunday’s race off to rest up for Biathlon Canada’s junior world trials beginning later this week. She won two silver at the Canadian Biathlon Championships last March, just a couple weeks after becoming the first Yukon biathlete to capture a medal at the Canada Winter Games with a silver and two bronze.
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