The BC Championships for Biathlon were hosted by the Telemark Nordic Ski Club in West Kelowna March 1-3.
Fifteen athletes from the Vancouver Island Biathlon Club attended the event and had great success over the weekend, placing among the top finishers in all categories.
Saturday was the Sprint Race format, which combines three laps of skiing with two bouts of shooting. The shooting is done in the prone position for those up to age 14, and a combination of prone and standing positions for 15 years and up. On Sunday, the race format was a Modified Pursuit with three or four bouts of shooting and four or five skiing laps, depending on the category.
Senior Girl, Allison Joyce (Campbell River) placed fifth in the Sprint, but really stepped up her skiing and shooting for the Pursuit, winning the gold medal.
Gavin Johnston (Campbell River), raced in the Senior Boys category. He was the top shooter amongst 18 competitors for the weekend races. Gavin finished seventh in the Sprint, and fifth in the Pursuit. Both Allison and Gavin have also met the qualifications this season to maintain their spots on the B.C. team, as well as qualifying to compete at nationals which will be held at the Whistler Olympic Park in the last week of March. Robbie McKay (Port Alberni) also raced in the Senior Boys category and showed great improvement in his racing over the past year.
In the Youth Men category, Joe Winkelaar (Comox) had two podium finishes. With an outstanding 100 per cent shooting accuracy in the Sprint race, he earned a silver medal, and in the Pursuit he finished with a bronze.
For their BC Cup debut, Gwenyth and Tobin Kerr (Comox) raced in the Mixed Midget category and proved their love of the sport of biathlon. Gwenyth shot with 100 per cent accuracy in both races, and Tobin 95 per cent. Tobin placed third overall in both races, and Gwenyth, sixth.
In the Masters 35-50 category, Christoph Dettling (Victoria) brought home a bronze medal for the Sprint race and a gold for the Pursuit. Also in this category were Jonathan Kerr (Comox) who placed fifth in the Sprint and eighth in the Pursuit, and Phil Douglas (Comox) with eighth- and sixth-place finishes. All three of these athletes finished strong enough in their category to qualify to attend nationals.
The Masters 50+ category had Glenn Rupertus (Courtenay) bringing home two silver medals, and Mike Akey (Quadra Island) bring home two bronze. Both these athletes will also be competing at nationals. Blair Pettis (Comox) followed with two fifth-place finishes, and Michael Cullen (Comox) with 7th and 6th place finishes.
Another gold medal was earned in the Sport Women category by Karen Funk (Victoria) in the Sprint race. She then raced to a bronze in the Rec category for the Pursuit. Lyndsey Douglas (Comox) proved her stamina in the Sprint Race Rec category with a bronze medal.
Coach Don Johnston was thrilled to support this team of athletes to such a successful result this weekend.
“With 14 podium finishes in 30 races, our team has really proved the success of our growing programs in the Vancouver Island Biathlon Club,” he said. “The team worked really well together, always supporting each other. The athletes have trained hard, remained focused and achieved fantastic results. It will be wonderful to have seven athletes representing the Vancouver Island Biathlon Club and British Columbia at nationals this year.