Team Yukon poses for a photo at the 2019 Archery Canada Outdoor Target Nationals on Aug. 22 in Prince Albert, Sask. (Submitted)

Yukoners strike gold at 2019 Archery Canada Outdoor Target Nationals

Emmett Kapaniuk won gold in the compound bow cub men’s category, a first for the Yukon

It was a busy week for five Yukon archers in Prince Albert, Sask., for the 2019 Archery Canada Outdoor Target Nationals from Aug. 7 to 11.

Vincent Menard and Wyatt Kapaniuk, who both competed at the 2018 competition, joined newcomers Emma Tom Tom, Sofija Jewell and Emmett Kapaniuk at this year’s event.

Coach Warren Kapaniuk said the team all performed well under pressure.

“I think there were nerves for everybody, but they handled it pretty well,” said Warren. “The quality of shooting is amazing. They have people that went right from the Canadian nationals … off to the World Youth Olympics, which are going on right now.”

All five archers turned in strong results.

Emmett finished first in the compound bow cub men’s category, and Warren said he believes this is the first gold medal for a Yukoner at the national level.

Menard finished fourth in the compound bow junior men’s category — an improvement on last year’s seventh place finish at the cadet age level — and Wyatt finished 11th in the recurve bow cadet men’s category after moving up from the cub age level.

Tom Tom finished sixth in the recurve cadet women’s category and Jewell finished 10th in the compound cadet women’s category.

Warren stressed how tight the competition was between the archers.

“Probably the biggest surprise was the level of compeition,” said Warren. “I knew it would be high, but the cadet category that Sofija, Emma and Wyatt were shooting in was very competitive. A few points would separate three or four spots.”

Menard agreed.

“I was right next to one of the high-end athletes at nationals,” said Menard. “He is competing at youth worlds right now. He’s a very top archer. He’s scoring amazing scores. But he was right next to me while I was shooting, so this was kind of a mental break while I was shooting my arrows. It was a nice experience.”

The competition also included a match play event on the final day.

Menard advanced to the second round, but Wyatt again set the standard by winning his category as well.

Archery is growing in the Yukon, Warren said, and there is now a year-round team training for competition.

“We’ve been working on building it up over the last few years,” said Warren. “We do indoors and outdoors (and) we’re hoping to expand that into a competitive 3D team.”

Next up for Yukon archers is a 3D event scheduled for the end of September hosted by the Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle in Whitehorse. After that, the focus shifts to the Arctic Winter Games where archery is returning to the schedule.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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