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Cadets line up for zone biathlon race

They couldn't have picked a worse time to schedule a test.

They couldn't have picked a worse time to schedule a test.

At the same time a group of cadets will be racing in the Zone 1 and 2 cadet biathlon championships at Otway Nordic Centre, some of their peers will be stuck in a classroom writing their air cadet power and gliding exams. The test is needed to determine scholarships for the summer.

Despite the scheduling conflict, 25 cadets from Fort St. John, Williams Lake and Prince George will line up today for the 11:30 a.m. start of their individual race. At stake are berths in the provincial cadet championships at Mount Washington, Feb. 4-6.

The forecast calls for no precipitation and calm conditions today with a high of -9C.

"The new snow came at a perfect time, it's going to great out there for racing," said cadet captain Mindy Meyer, the Zone 1 and 2 biathlon co-ordinator.

"I've been doing this for seven or eight years and usually it's around minus-20 this time of year. We can handle snow, as long as it's not too cold."

The top two male and top two female finishers in each category -- junior 12-14 years, senior 15-16 years, and youth 17-18 years -- qualify for the provincial races. Twelve B.C. athletes will then go on to compete in the national championships in Valcartier, Que., March 12-19.

Zone 2 encompasses the north coast area west of Burns Lake and including Terrace, Prince Rupert, and the Queen Charlotte Islands but there are no cadet racers from that area.

"It's unfortunate the power and gliding exam is on the same weekend," said Meyer.

"That rules out four cadets from Prince George. Hopefully, next year it won't be on the same weekend."

Five local cadets -- Ken Johnston, Brandon Moore, Anthony Houston, Eric Matthews and Ethan Keys -- are on the start list for today. The junior race will be six kilometres long, while the senior and youth cadets will cover a seven-kilometre course.