Posted on March 12, 2009 by Dylan Anderson

This past month the Augustana biathlon team has been in the peak of their season and very busy competing, training, and dealing with the weather.

This past month the Augustana biathlon team has been in the peak of their season and very busy competing, training, taking advantage of the warm weather, and enduring the cold temperatures.

On February 14th Kathryn Stone, Alicia Hurley, Jytte Apel, coach Jacqueline Akerman, alumni Annik Levesque, and Maurice Samm headed to Harbin, China for the 24th Universiade/World University Games. While it was a bit of a cultural shock to be in a new country, they all embraced the changes when it came to the tighter security and of course learning to use chopsticks. The opening and closing ceremonies were definitely one of the many highlights. The Chinese culture was depicted in beautiful displays of dancing, skating, singing, martial arts, Chinese drums, and a spectacular show of fireworks. This was Kathryn and Alicia’s first international experience and Jytte’s second Universiade (having gone to Austria in 2005). All three athletes participated in the individual, sprint, and pursuit races. They had highlights or personal bests in their races. Kathryn and Alicia also represented Canada in the mixed relay as the first and second legs of the relay. The competition, travel, and Chinese cultural experience will be a memory that the athletes and coaches will treasure. Now that the games are completed, many athletes already have their eyes on the next World Universiade Games in Erzurum, Turkey in 2011.

Back at home, the Vikings competed at the Western Canadian Championships in Edmonton. The race was held at the Strathcona Science Park Range, a course carefully constructed around Edmonton’s sprawling industrial center. The Augustana Vikings biathlon team did not disappoint. Saturday’s individual race saw Johnny Forward place second in senior men, Anna Apel place first in junior women, and Paul Woloschuk finish fourth in junior men. Jennifer Paterson, Carly Shiell and Sara Jackson had strong races in the youth women’s category, placing second, third, and fourth respectively. The sprint race on Sunday also provided opportunity for more award winning races, with Mike Kenny placing fifth in youth men and Lauren Brookes placing second in youth women. The junior women’s category was an exciting race, with Jodi Miller placing first and Betsy Mawdsley coming in a mere ten seconds behind her in second place.

This past weekend the Vikings raced in Hinton at the Alberta Championships, their last provincial competition of the year. While the team has been plagued by illness in the past week, the squad showed its toughness on a challenging uphill course and in some chilly weather. Saturday’s race was a mass start which pitted the Vikings against their competition in a head-to-head start. Philip Eriksson placed first in the senior men’s category, having a very good ski race in his final appearance as an Augustana Viking. Johnny Forward came in third place in the senior men’s. Anna Apel had a race of the season finishing first in the junior women’s category, shooting two clean prone bouts and hitting the trails hard. Mike Kenny also had a spectacular race hitting 14/20 in the range and fighting it out on the course to come third in the youth men’s category. Jennifer Paterson and Lauren Brooks finished first and second respectively in the youth women’s category. While several of the Vikings did not race due to illness or injury, they played their part in cheering on their teammates to help them get over those hills.

In the evening, the Vikings attended the race banquet where the Calforex Cup awards were handed out. Several of the Vikings received trophies for being the overall point leaders in their age categories. Alicia Hurley topped the senior women’s division, Jodi Miller in the junior women’s category, and Jennifer Paterson in the youth women’s division.

Overall it has been a good season for the Vikings but it’s not over yet! Much of the team will be attending the Canadian Nationals Championships in Valcartier, Quebec from March 23rd to 29th. While athletes will be representing their home provinces they will be sporting the Vikings’ spirit.

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