Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

FINAL PUSH – Noah Marnik, left, and Caius Taggart-Cox race to the finish in the juvenile boys sprint, Sunday.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

STRONG START – Asha Neumann Dar races out of the gate during Sunday’s midget girls sprint.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

RECOVERY TIME – Exhausted biathletes collapse at the finish line at the 2016 Yukon championships.

Championships reveal new group of biathlon stars

Nadia Moser isn’t the only up-and-coming biathlon prospect emerging from the territory.

By Marcel Vander Wier on February 24, 2016

Nadia Moser isn’t the only up-and-coming biathlon prospect emerging from the territory.

A handful of other Whitehorse products made their mark at two championship events held this month.

“I think it’s success breeding success,” Biathlon Yukon president Bill Curtis said of the recent achievements by local biathletes.

“People see the articles in the paper, the results. We have a very Nordic-minded community and it’s a fairly natural fit for some of the kids.

“Some of them have tried skiing and are maybe a little bored. Now they’ve heard of biathlon because of the successes, and they want to try it.”

Moser, of course, is the territory’s rising star athlete who recently participated at the Biathlon Youth World Championships in Romania.

Earlier this month, her former teammates took home seven medals from the British Columbia Biathlon Championship in Whistler.

Held Feb. 13 and 14, Yukon was led by Jake Draper and Micah Hildes, who each won two medals. Draper earned gold and silver, while Hildes took silver and bronze.

Other medal winners included Emma Marnik (gold), Bronwyn Goodwin-Williams (bronze) and Francis Reid (bronze).

Marnik also podiumed in an Alberta race earlier this season.

That’s an impressive haul, Curtis noted.

“We’re competing with the best in B.C. – one of the powerhouses in Canada. It’s nice to see our kids come out on top.

What we noticed in B.C. was the quality of our kids’ shooting.

“They seemed to be doing much better than the other competitors when it came down to shooting. That speaks well of our coaching.”

Coaches Dennis Peters and Laurie Jacobsen were recently honoured by Sport Yukon.

Then at last weekend’s championships held at Grey Mountain, masters athlete Steve Hahn, juvenile Isidore Champagne, youths Maria Peters and Bruce Wilson, as well as seniors Hildes and Draper each won two gold medals.

About 45 participants competed.

“The program is growing,” Curtis said. “Gone are the days when we were bottom of the pack.”

This season, the organization put together a Pursuit squad for semi-serious biathletes who weren’t interested in being pushed onto the elite Velocity racing team.

“We’ve grown from a handful a few years ago to 30 kids now between the two groups,” Curtis said, noting there is an additional 20 participants on the younger Bears squad, ranging in age from nine to 12.

“We’ve got a good group of kids,” he said. “They get along well and it promotes good competition, I think.”

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