Members of Biathlon Yukon’s Velocity Squad won seven medals at the B.C. Biathlon Championships at Whistler Olympic Park over the weekend.
But it was the selfless act of one Yukon competitor that really created a buzz.
During the sprints on Saturday Yukon’s Marika Kitchen put her race ambitions on hold to help a racer from another club who was in distress.
“Marika heard someone crying out at a point in the course where there is a difficult turn after a hill. Many other racers were skiing by. Marika realized that someone had gone over the edge,” said Velocity Squad head coach Laurie Jacobsen. “She stopped, took off her skis and went to the youth woman who was stuck there. She had hit a tree, broken a ski and was doing very poorly. Marika alerted the next racer to get the Ski Patrol and stayed with the girl, making her comfortable and talking to her until they came. She then put her skis back on and continued her race! We wondered why she was taking so long coming in for her second bout!
“She had lots of attention from the volunteers and race organizers the next day for her selfless actions.”
Kitchen, who was competing in senior girls, placed seventh on Saturday – shooting eight out of 10 – and moved up to fifth in the 7.5-kilometre pursuit on Sunday.
Her selfless act might have taken her out of the running for a medal, but a teammate managed to make the podium both days in senior girls.
Micah Hildes won bronze in the six-kilometre sprint and then silver on Sunday.
“I’m really quite happy and surprised. I wasn’t expecting to podium on my way there,” said Hildes.
“I was happy with my shooting this weekend. I think the other two girls who podiumed were faster skiers than me, but I kept my place shooting.”
The 15-year-old shot 17 out of 20 on Sunday – better than she though she did.
“I thought I shot 16 out of 20 and then I did an extra penalty loop, which was a little disappointing but I don’t think that effected my time much,” said Hildes. “I guess I didn’t look properly when I left the range.”
Velocity Squad’s Jake Draper also pegged off two medals over the weekend, in senior boys.
The 15-year-old won silver in the six-kilometre sprint (just 11.2 seconds behind the gold medalist) and gold in the 7.5-kilometre pursuit.
He won the same two medals in the same races last year. And like last year’s championships, also held at Whistler, the conditions were rainy and slushy.
“The conditions weren’t ideal and I wasn’t expecting to do too well,” said Draper. “I still had a great race on both days.”
The prone shooting position was particularly good for him. Draper, who like Hildes is in the first year of his age division, cleaned in all three shoots in prone.
“I felt great. I shot well and my skiing was just really good both days, despite the weather,” said Draper. “I was real excited to have a good race like that.”
Teammate Francis Reid was close behind on Saturday. Reid crossed the finish just 10 seconds behind Draper for bronze with eight out of 10 at the range. He also placed fifth on Sunday. Daniel Sennett, who was also in senior boys, placed seventh both days.
Bronwyn Goodwin-Williams added a fourth medal for Yukon Saturday. She shot at 90 per cent and captured the bronze in the junior girls 4.5-kilometre sprint.
Less than a minutes behind was teammate Emma Marnik in fourth. Marnik missed out on a medal Saturday but came roaring back for a gold in Sunday’s pursuit, shooting at 86 per cent and winning by just 7.7 seconds.
Yukon’s Dana Sellars took sixth Saturday and Amelie Latour 10th Sunday in junior girls.
In junior boys, Yukon’s Aidan Hupe placed seventh Saturday, Romeo Champagne seventh Sunday and Aidan Adel 10th both days.
Despite being one of the newer members of the team, Veronica Porter placed seventh Saturday and fifth Sunday in juvenile mixed.
“She’s on our Arctic Winter Games team this year, but she’s just brand new,” said Jacobsen. “She did so well down there.”
Yukon’s Judith Hartling placed fourth and Bernard Johnson seventh in their respective masters divisions on Saturday.
“It’s always really fun to be on a trip with your team and get to know everyone better,” said Hildes. “I always look forward to races. They make me really nervous, but it’s good to get over that and get out there. It was a great experience.”
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