Jacob de Groot, in his first-ever race, made it look easy on Jan. 6 as he claimed a second-place finish at the Bulkley Valley Regional Open at the Nordic Centre.
The 10-year-old Bulkley Valley Biathlon member missed only one shot in 15 attempts on his way to the silver.
Athletes from Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Smithers and Terrace competed in the event, ranging in age from 10 to over 50. Notably, seven adults took part in the race, said Bulkley Valley Biathlon head coach Peter Tweedie.
“Normally, it’s a kid’s sport and us adults coach and organize,” he said.
Next up, the club is sending five athletes to the Whistler Olympic Park for Biathlon BC Cup #1 Jan. 18 to 20.
In preparation, the team members will be building on the experience gained in Sunday’s competition, Tweedie said.
“We coaches now need to look at [the Jan. 6] race and identify skills to work on in the coming practices,” he said.
After the event was complete, the Bulkley Valley Biathlon club, which is part of the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club, held an official opening of the Frank Guillon Cabin.
“[Frank is] a long-time coach here in the valley and was instrumental in starting and keeping biathlon going in Smithers,” Tweedie said. “Thanks to all the athletes, parents and coaches for coming and the volunteers who made it all possible.”
In the Midget (10 and under) category, de Groot placed second, Jean-Luc Belanger was fifth and Miller Kriese finished in sixth.
For the Juvenile (11 and 12 year old) division, Claire Lesawich placed third, Liam Tweedie was fourth, Seamus Murphy finished in fifth, Lowell Hug captured seventh and Haley Hanchard and Zoe Hallman were 8th and 9th, respectively.
In Junior Girls (13 and 14 year old) Amanda Wilson placed second.
In Junior Boys (13 and 14 year old) Travis Pete was first, followed by Ben Kinkela and Seton Kriese in second and third.
In the Senior Boys division, Angus Tweedie finished in first.
Masters Women Lean-Marie Bowes-Lyon and Callie Lancaster finished first and second, respectively. And in the Masters Mens category, Bulkley Valley biathletes Peter Krause, Bryan Swansburg and Peter Tweedie finished first, second and third.
In the Recreational category, Mark Huscroft placed second.