AMHERST – Knowing how to cross-country ski isn’t a prerequisite for winning the biathlon, but you better know how to handle a rifle.
“They had no experience in the skiing part of it but they outshot everybody quite badly,” said Jack Stone, biathlon coach for the 154 Amherst Anson Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.
John Adams and Serah Quinn, both 13-years-old, won their individual events in the junior division and, together, the mixed title in the junior division at the P.E.I./Nova Scotia Cadet Biathlon Championships, which were recently held at the Brookvale Provincial Ski Park in P.E.I.
Biathlon is a sport that combines cross-country skiing and shooting, and Quinn and Adams had, basically, no experience in cross-country skiing.
Adams had only cross-country skied eight years before, when he was five-years-old, and Quinn had never done it before.
“Serah had to take a test when she got there or they wouldn’t let her compete,” said Stone. “They’re both really good athletes and they were able to ski well enough to be in the thick of things, so when it came down to the shooting they took over.”
Quinn has been shooting for a year and a half, and Adams for about two years.
“It’s difficult enough to shoot and hit a target, but when you have to ski a loop as hard as you can, and then come in and control your breath so you can hit the targets, it’s pretty impressive,” said Stone. “They’re very, very good students. They listen very well and know exactly what they have to do to be successful.”
With the wins, the two will next compete at the 2018 Cadet National Championships March 7 to11 in Brookvale.
“We could be in tough because the people from Quebec do this all the time,” said Stone.
Stone knows they need snow to improve but that’s up to Mother Nature.
“We have to get some snow down so we can get out and ski,” he said.
Mother Nature didn’t help in Prince Edward Island the last time they were there.
“They trucked 100 truckloads of snow,” said Stone. “They had to have snow made at the downhill slope and trucked to the completion next door.”