Georgyev on target at B.C. Cup race

The biathlon game has changed this season for Damian Georgyev.

It just got a lot tougher.

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When he gets to the shooting range he can't just lie down on the job like he used to.

He still shoots in a prone position but now that he's racing in the senior boys category that means half his shooting bouts require him to stand while holding his rifle. That raises the difficulty of the sport considerably for the 15-year-old Caledonia Nordic Ski Club member.

For every miss on the range at this weekend's B.C. Cup biathlon races on his home course at Otway Nordic Centre he was required to ski a 150-metre penalty loop. Fortunately for Georgyev, all that practice on the range in the months leading up to weekend races paid off.

He hit seven of 10 standing targets and knocked down seven of 10 prone targets on his way to a third-place finish in Saturday's 7.5-kilometre individual race.

Then on Sunday he had just two misses (one prone, one standing) in 10 cracks at the range on his way to winning the 6 km sprint. Georgyev crossed the finish in 19 minutes 45 seconds, 1:37 ahead of second-place Nicholas Veeken of Caledonia. Cody Vanwerkhoven of Quesnel was third, 1:43 off the pace.

"Junior was just prone-prone, now we have standing and it's a whole new level," said Georgyev,

"It was a good race, the conditions for shooting weren't that bad. It was a pretty good weekend," he said. "For the standing (bout) there was no wind, which made it pretty easy. But on the prone bit there was quite a bit of wind when I was coming in but most of the people in the prone didn't have much wind. I guess I was just unlucky."

Georgyev, a Grade 10 student at Duchess Park secondary school, has always been a strong skier and had no problem making fast tracks on the Otway course, which included the challenging pitches of the Night Rider trail.

Miller Kriese of Smithers won the senior boys race Saturday in 29:23. Caledonia skier Liam Connon was second, 1:01 behind Kriese, with Georgyev 1:37 behind.

Georgyev plans to race B.C. Cup biathlon events in Quesnel, Jan. 18-20, and Vanderhoof, Feb. 1-3, leading up to the B.C. championships in West Kelowna, March 2-3.

"All of them are close to P.G. so it's not much travelling for me," said Georgyev. "I know a guy from (Vancouver Island) and he has to travel 13 hours and a ferry, so it's lucky for us."

Georgyev also has a shot at qualifying for the Canadian championships at Callaghan Valley near Whistler, March 26-31.

Sisters Isla and Iona Cadell of Caledonia dominated their respective midget and juvenile classes winning gold both days. Quinn Friesen of Prince George captured the junior boys 4.5 km sprint title on Sunday.

In other Caledonia medal results, midget racer Nathanael Dean was second in both races. Aliah Turner raced to silver in the juvenile sprint, while Gabriel Van Geloven won bronze in the midget sprint and Mackenzie Connon was a silver medalist in the recreation class sprint.

In their boys individual race, Liam Sinclair (silver) and Aedan Miller (bronze) were right on the heels of gold medalist Jasper Fleming of Sea to Ski (Squamish). Payton Sinclair of Caledonia was the silver medalist in the juvenile individual race. Brynn Witwicki won silver in the senior girls sprint and bronze in the individual.

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