Hinton Cougars earn multiple medals in Canmore

Hinton Cougars biathlon team during the Calforex Cup 2 in Canmore on Dec. 14 – 15.
Submitted Photo

Tyler Waugh

 The Hinton Cougars biathlon team was back in action at the Calforex Cup 2 held Dec. 14 – 15 in Canmore.

And while it was the second competition of the year for the club, it also marked the first competition ever for a couple athletes.

The Cougars were represented by seven athletes ranging from Air Rifle I to Dev II categories, including first-timers Alexandre and Mattias Vriend. 

Saturday’s competition was a short individual, where the athletes are assessed time penalties for each missed shot. 

“This is known as a shooter’s race,” said Cougars coach Robin Hengel. 

Sara Johnston hit 15 / 15 targets on her way to a gold medal in the Girls Dev I category. Alexandre Vriend also shot clean – a perfect 15 of 15 – in his race to take gold in Air Rifle I. 

Simon Ruszkowski and Mattias Vriend raced in Air Rifle II. Simon hit 12 of 15 targets on his way to a bronze medal while Mattias hit 10 of 15 targets. 

“However, he made up time with his skiing and finished with the silver medal,” said Hengel. 

The Dev I & II boys faced stiff competition as skiers in zones 1, 2, and 3 were competing for Alberta Winter Games positions. Many skiers were racing in their age categories of U-16 and U-14 for the weekend. In Dev I Boys, Chad Scobie hit 10 of 15 targets while Cooper Johnston showed improvement in his shooting from the Calforex Cup I, hitting 9 of 15 targets. 

Thomas Hengel, competing in Dev II Boys, hit 9 of 20 targets, but skied strong, posting top five lap times in each of his first three loops. 

“Thomas is transitioning to shooting without a rest this year and is still looking for consistent results shooting in a race,” said coach Hengel.

The Sunday race was a sprint, with athletes skiing three loops and shooting two bouts in the range. In this race, athletes skied a 100 m penalty loop for each missed shot. 

Sara Johnston continued her strong shooting early in the season, with two misses on her way to her fourth podium finish of the year with a bronze medal. 

Mattias Vriend also continued his strong skiing combined with eight of 10 shooting to place second in his race. 

Simon Ruszkowski shot well again, hitting nine of 10 targets and placed fifth. Chad Scobie had a strong race on Sunday, combining strong skiing with 70 per cent shooting to place seventh out of 21 competitors. 

Cooper Johnston was steady with his shooting results on Sunday, hitting six of 10 targets. Thomas Hengel continued to show determination in his race, skiing hard through the finish despite mixed results in the range. 

The Hinton Cougars are next in action on Jan. 11 – 12 at home in Hinton hosting the Noram 2 and Alberta Winter Games Zone 5 and 6 trials. Eight Hinton Cougars will be attempting to qualify to attend the games in Airdrie in February.