Yukoners hit the mark at biathlon nationals

Whitehorse's Erin Oliver-Beebe finds it a bit strange that lately she's hitting more targets while standing than in the prone position. But the 15-year-old is not complaining.

Whitehorse’s Erin Oliver-Beebe finds it a bit strange that lately she’s hitting more targets while standing than in the prone position. But the 15-year-old is not complaining.

“Today I actually shot better standing than I did in prone,” said Oliver-Beebe. “I find I usually shoot better standing these days, for some odd reason.”

Competing at the 2010 Canadian National Biathlon Championship in Canmore, Alberta, this week, a handful of Yukoners are sharing the trails with athletes fresh from the Vancouver Olympics, and they are getting results.

After two days of competition, Oliver-Beebe has had the best results, coming fifth in the individual event Thursday, missing only three of 20 targets (two from prone and one from standing).

“It felt really good,” said Oliver-Beebe. “I was really happy with my shooting and my skiing was great too.”

On Wednesday in the sprint event, competing in the senior girls category, Oliver-Beebe came 10th, just three seconds out of seventh.

“It wasn’t as good as today, but I did the best I could,” she said.

Team Yukon’s only other top-10 placing came from Ryan Burlingame, coming ninth in Wednesday’s sprint, which was followed up with a 12th-place finish in the individual event.

“I wouldn’t say it’s one of his stronger (events),” said Team Yukon head coach Judy Hartling, of the sprint. “He doesn’t have a particular one that’s best for him.”

Other competitors representing the territory are Jennifer Curtis and Evelynn Kitchen, both of whom broke into the top-20 on Thursday, taking 17th and 18th, respectively.

“I was really happy with my skiing and there’s great weather, it’s really hot right now and the snow is perfect,” said Curtis. “I was happy that I got four (targets) while standing, which is a lot better than I did yesterday.”

In the sprint, the previous day, the two were also neck-and-neck, with Curtis coming 24th and Kitchen taking 23rd.

Yukon’s Aryn Clarke, who was supposed to represent the Yukon in Canmore, was unable to compete due to an injury.

“It was an injury she sustained some time before at a volleyball game,” said Hartling.

The nationals continue through the weekend and wrap up Sunday with the relay races.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com