Whitehorse Daily Star

Yukon archers hit the mark during busy season

Yukon archers hit the mark in a busy season that has just concluded.

By Morris Prokop on September 5, 2023

Yukon archers hit the mark in a busy season that has just concluded.

The year began with the Arctic Games in Wood Buffalo, Alta. in early February and led into the Canada Games in P.E.I. in late February.

Emmett Kapaniuk competed in the World Juniors in Ireland in early July.

The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) followed, and then the nationals in early August.

Kapaniuk then threw his hat into the ring for an ASA 3D archery tournament in Alberta in late August.

Meanwhile, Sheori Mazo and Delia Therriault went down to Brazil to compete in the U15 Gymnasiade, also in late August.

The Star spoke with the archery coach of the Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle Warren Kampaniuk recently about the season that just passed.

“I think it was really good,” he said. “This was the biggest competition year I’ve had since I started with the archery. It started with Arctics where, I want to say, seven medals, eight medals, for archery and then Canada Games, which is, I mean, you’re shooting against kids that have shot for the national team before.

“And then Emmett had the World Juniors in Ireland and then there was NAIG and then nationals. And then Emmet went and did the ASA tournament, 3D tournament in Alberta. And Sheori and Delia went down to Brazil for the high school event, so overall, this was good. We medaled at everything but Canada games, which I didn’t expect us to, just knowing the level of competition that’s there.”

Kapaniuk pointed out there are no separate age categories at the Canada Games, so archers are competing against a range of 12 to U21 archers.

“Archers like Shiori and Daniel are at the learning end. Some of the other ones are starting to peak as they go shoot for the national team.”

Kapaniuk was asked what stood out for him in a busy season.

“Our NAIG team,” he replied. “The last NAIG, we won one medal.”

The archery team won four medals this year, including gold, silver and two bronze.

“I remember when those kids first started, and they came so far in the 10 months leading up to NAIG to being able to podium,” Kapaniuk recalled.

Kapaniuk said the nationals went great as well.

“Seven (archers) went down. There were three medals and two fourth places. It was our best recurve showing.

“You heard about Emmett’s nationals but for Finn Pearson, who shot against him for the bronze, it was amazing. It was in his first outside-the-Yukon competition, his first outdoor target competition and he qualified pretty good and on his way up to match play, he knocked off the second place qualifier in the first round. He earned his shot at the medal.

“And then Shiori, aside from Canada Winter Games, it was her first competition, and she ended up taking gold in her category. And for Daniel Mead, same thing, he went to Canada games but it was his first big outdoor competition and he shot for the bronze too.”

Mead lost in a shoot-off.

“He was competitive right up until the very last arrow and even then, it was a matter of an inch between his arrow and his opponents’.”

Kapaniuk was more than pleased with the overall results.

“I was very happy. Overall, for the team, it was more than I’d expected. There were a few archers I expected to finish where they were, a little bit higher based on – because I know everybody else they were shooting against. But for Daniel in the cadet recurve, which is a fairly competitive category, to be shooting for a medal, that was huge.”

Kapaniuk added that the archers trained five nights a week at the biathlon range on Grey Mountain.

“You could see it in the results.”

Kapaniuk was also pleased with his son Emmett’s success.

“I’m really happy both as a coach and a dad. I’m glad he’s starting to do new events. The ASA 3D was his first non-Yukon 3D event.

“It’s a good one to start learning from people that have shot it for years and people that compete and they make a living on the 3D tournaments scheduled down in the states and stuff.”

Warren Kapaniuk didn’t travel with Manzo and Therriault to the games in Brazil.

“I was just coaching the kids as they prepared for it.”

Therriault won bronze in Compound U15 women.

“Shiori shot well, but she didn’t finish in the medals, but for both of them, it was their first taste of international competition,” related Kapaniuk.

“Delia was super-excited about it. She shot really well for the stress and the pressure and the travel. I want to say it was 30-some hours of travel.”

“I think Shiori really enjoyed it.”

The competition also allowed the Yukon archers to team up with archers from other countries.

“They had a mixed team where you were mixed with archers from other countries for the one day,” said Kapaniuk. “So you shot with people that you probably just met down there.”

Coming up, there’s another Arctic Winter Games March 10-16 in Mat-Su, Alaska.

But before that, there’s the Vegas Shoot.

“We’re planning on hopefully going down to the Vegas Shoot at the end of February, maybe not as a team but as a group with parents and go down and experience that,” related Kapaniuk.

“There’s over 3,000 archers that shoot at it. If you’re shooting well, it’s where you get noticed by sponsors and companies and other people.”

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