March 15-20, Canadian National Biathlon Championship,Whistler, BC
2012-2013 season marked the very first time CBR athletes qualified for Canadian National Championship. Four CBR Senior Boys have met the criteria to represent Alberta in Whistler, BC. Wesley Munro, Ben Churchill, Jakob Chambers and Sergey Bochkarnikov travelled to British Columbia as members of Team Alberta.
This was the first Canadian National Championship for all our boys and they handled the pressure beatifully. Rainy weather on the BC coast didn't seem to affect our athletes that much as they all came prepared and focused.
Sprint was the first race of the Championship as our boys lined up at the start wondering whether that rain would ever stop. First race of the event and first, very unexpected, results followed. Ben skied to 2nd place splitting the Quebec duo on the podium while Jakob Chambers stopped 11 seconds shy of the podium in 4th place. Sergey shot very well and finished 7th with Wesley placing 23rd.
Pursuit followed the sprint competition on day two and all our boys had a great starting position based on the results from the previous day. Wesley elected to sit this race out as he was recovering from the Sprint. That left 3 of our boys to do battle with the best seniors in the country. Ben delivered yet again finishing 2nd behind his Alberta teammate Pearce Hanna. Jakob managed to finish 7th despite 9 missed shots while Sergey missed 7 and finished 12th. What a great, albeit unexpected, start to the Championship.
Monday was a day off and an opportunity for Team Alberta coaches to have some fun as most members of the coaching crew decided to hit the cross-country ski trails for a fun workout.
We were all in "back to business" mode on Tuesday with the Individual race scheduled for the afternoon start. The sun was shining and the race course actually looked like a race course. Quebec athletes were in fine form today as they finished 1 and 2 and the only Alberta athlete on the podium was ... you guessed it right... Ben Churchill, Bronze medallist. Sergey was on a mission today after the first two races as he looked determined to crack top 5 and he did just that finishing 4th and only 40 seconds behind Ben. Jakob continued his strong performance with another top 10 finish placing 9th. Wesley rejoined his teammates in this race and finished 22nd.
Wednesday was a special day as it marked the very first time our boys had to compete in a relay race in the official competition. Jakob formed a team with Kirsten Gillet (CNSC) and David Singleton (ENSC), Ben was partnered with Darya Sepandj (FNSC) and Pearce Hanna (ENSC) while Wesley and Sergey joined Megan Bankes (FNSC) on the third Alberta team. Jakob impressed with a solid performance on his leg of the relay hitting every single target and posting 3rd fastest ski time among all participants in this category. Ben was the anchor on his team and did his best to catch up to the leaders but ended up crossing the finish line in 5th place. Today was clearly Sergey's day to shine yet again as he picked up right where he left off in the individual race and delivered a truly incredible performance surprising not only the compeition but Team Alberta coaches as well. Sergey was the starter and he handled the pressure as if there was none sending his second leg partner Megan in second place mere seconds behind the leading team from Quebec. Megan did an awesome job keeping up with the two Quebec teams and a team from BC, so it was up to Wesley on the last leg of the race to ensure Team Alberta was on the podium at the end of the day. And race he did, skiing in his best performance of the season and helping his team earn a Bronze medal of the Canadian National Biathlon Championship.
Absolutely fantastic job by all of our boys. Congratulations Jakob, Sergey, Wesley and Ben on successful debut at the 2013 Canadian Nationals.