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Cadets return from Yukon with medals

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, December 17, 2009

WHITEHORSE, YUKON - Four Fort Simpson cadets returned with medals around their necks after participating in the Northern Region Cadet Biathlon Competition in Whitehorse.

The 2860 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps sent six competitors and two cadet staff to the event that ran from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2. Charlene Deneyoua, Madison Pilling and Ernest Tsetso won gold medals in their respective divisions in the Western Arctic Area. Michael Gast brought back a bronze medal.

NNSL photo/graphic

Cadet Warrant Officer Charlene Deneyoua, front, takes careful aim during a practice session at the Northern Region Cadet Biathlon Competition in Whitehorse. - photo courtesy of Nicki Crawley

Tsetso said he was proud to win a medal in the novice male division. Tsetso covered 1.7 km in 39 minutes and 28 seconds and successfully hit all five of his knockdown targets.

Pilling said she was also proud of her performance in the junior girls division. She finished two races that covered a total of 8.4 km in one hour and 12 seconds. Her marksmanship improved in each race.

In the first race Pilling shot down three, four and then five of the possible five knockdowns at the three shooting stops. In her second race she hit three targets in her first loop and four in her second.

"I was really happy," she said.

Like every competitor from Fort Simpson, except Deneyoua, Pilling was racing at the competition for the first time. Pilling said she enjoys biathlon because of the sports and skills it combines.

"You have to have good endurance for the skiing and you have to have good concentration and control for the shooting," she said.

Other members of the team from the village included Janelle Bruneau and Robert Harold. Nikita Larter and Katelyn Harold accompanied the team as cadet staff.

"They were all enthusiastic and they all participated," said civilian instructor Nicki Crawley who supervised the cadets.

Each of the cadets' marksmanship improved during the event, said Crawley.

At the competition the cadets' skills were tested on the first day and they were divided into a competitive level and a training level. The cadets spent time training before their races.

This is the first year the competitors have been divided, said Cpt. Cheryl Major, the public affairs officer for Regional Cadet Support Unit Northern.

The division allowed the cadets who are at a competitive level to train harder and receive more one-on-one attention with coaches, said Major. They focused on specific skills like transitioning between skiing and shooting.

The less experienced cadets were given training in the basic skills that biathletes need including how to ski and shoot.

Janelle Bruneau, who was at the basic level, said she learned tips about how to improve her shooting.

You have to control your breathing and make sure you don't shake, Bruneau said. If you slow down slightly as you ski into the shooting range station it's easier, she said.

In the Western Arctic Area the cadets from Fort Simpson competed against cadets from Whitehorse and Norman Wells. Cadets from 12 communities representing three areas from across the North participated in the event.

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