Yukoner cracks top 10 at biathlon nationals

Hot off a medal win at the western championships, Whitehorse’s Jake Draper posted his first-ever top-10 finish at the Canadian Biathlon Championships in Canmore, Alta., last week.

Hot off a medal win at the western championships, Whitehorse’s Jake Draper posted his first-ever top-10 finish at the Canadian Biathlon Championships in Canmore, Alta., last week.

With it being his final season in the senior boys division, he had hoped for more.

“I was not very happy with my races and I got sick halfway through the week too,” said Draper. “At the start of the week I was feeling OK, but things just didn’t turn out the way I was hoping. My shooting wasn’t too good. My shooting got better, but my skiing did the opposite, which was too bad.”

Draper opened the championship with 23rd in the senior boys sprint on March 8, shooting just 40 per cent at the range.

The 16-year-old bounced back finishing ninth out of 39 in the 6.25-kilometre individual race on March 9. Draper hit 14 out of 20 at the range, cleaning all five targets in one prone shoot, and finished in 25:57.5.
“I was fairly happy about the individual (race), the fact that I made up 14 places from my sprint result,” said Draper. “In the individual, if I had hit one more target I would have come third. So that was kind of frustrating.”

Draper then placed 11th — hitting 15 of 20 — in the 7.5-kilometre pursuit, with a time of 31:12.83, on March 11.

He was one of six in Canmore from Biathlon Yukon’s Velocity Squad.

Teammate Bronwyn Goodwin-Williams pulled off a pair of top-20 finishes and was the sharpest shooter on the team — a team that logged a lot of successful trips to the range.

“Everybody was pretty happy about the shooting for sure,” said Yukon coach Nick Marnik. “This was the team’s best shooting ever, for the races I’ve gone to. Everyone met their race goals for shooting in at least one of their races.”

Goodwin-Williams, who was competing in senior girls, hit 19 out of 20 to place 20th in the 7.5-kilometre pursuit. She also placed 15th out of 34 in the 6.25-kilometre individual, shooting at 75 per cent, and 28th in the sprint, shooting 80 per cent.

Yukon’s Francis Reid twice placed 23rd in the youth men division. He hit 18 of 20 at the range in the 10-kilometre pursuit and 14 of 20 in the 10-kilometre individual for the spot. Reid also placed 27th in the youth men’s sprint.

In the same division teammate Liam Adel took 22nd in the sprint, shooting eight of 10. He placed 28th in the individual race.

Little brother Aidan Adel, in senior boys with Draper, took 35th in the sprint and 33rd in the individual. Both Adels sat out the pursuit races due to illness.

“We were having some colder weather as well — it can really have a detrimental affect to your health if you push yourself,” said Marnik.

After scratching the surface in her first two races, Amelie Latour cracked the top-30 in her final race in the senior girls division. She placed 32nd in the sprint, 31st in the individual, and 30th in the pursuit, hitting 15 of 20 in her final race.

Aidan Adel, Goodwin-Williams and Draper also teamed up for a 12th place finish out of 21 teams in the senior mixed 3×4.5-kilometre relay on March 12. They tied for the best shooting team with on one missed target out of 30 in the relay, which allowed eight shots for the five targets. Draper placed highest on his leg at sixth.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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