Gun­ning for suc­cess

Til­ton biath­lete off to na­tional event in Que­bec

The Compass - - PORTHTE - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON

April Squires will be the first fe­male from the 2372 Avalon Army Cadet Corps in Bay Roberts to take part in the na­tional cadet biathlon cham­pi­onships, sched­uled for March 5-12 in Que­bec City.

The Til­ton na­tive has been in­volved with her lo­cal cadet corps for two years, and took up biathlon when she first joined. The sport com­bines cross-coun­try ski­ing with marks­man­ship.

“It’s re­ally fun,” says the 13-year-old Squires, whose brother Jor­dan also takes part in biathlon with the cadets.

She com­peted in the zone event at But­ter Pot Pro­vin­cial Park, plac­ing first in both the in­di­vid­ual ju­nior cat­e­gory and in the team competition along­side Kelsey Barrett and Emily Hur­ley. Mov­ing on to provin­cials, she fin­ished fourth in the in­di­vid­ual race, third in the team re­lay event, and first in the ju­nior race.

Those re­sults al­lowed her to make the fe­male com­pos­ite team that will be a part of the 12-per­son New­found­land and Labrador con­tin­gent trav­el­ling to Que­bec. The rest of the team in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives from St. John’s, Gan­der, Lewis­porte and Stephenville.

“I’d done some down­hill at White Hills (in Clarenville), but noth­ing like cross-coun­try,” says Squires, who finds the ski­ing por­tion can be es­pe­cially hard on the legs.

As for tar­get shoot­ing, she has also been a marks­man for two years, and placed third at a pro­vin­cial cadet event last year.

Com­bin­ing the two sports into the biathlon, Squires says she en­joys the chal­lenge that comes with competition. Out­side of her aca­demic re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at Holy Redeemer in Spa­niard’s Bay, Squires has a full-time sched­ule of sports com­mit­ments that in­cludes bas­ket­ball, fig­ure skat­ing, vol­ley­ball, soft­ball, and ball hockey. She also helped coach ju­nior vol­ley­ball at school, and was its ath­lete of the year for 2009-10.

And how does she man­age to fit ev­ery­thing in?

“I don’t some­times,” she says with a laugh, adding she hopes to con­tinue to man­age fit­ting them all into her busy sched­ule.

The trip to Que­bec will be Squires’ first, and she’s look­ing for­ward to at­tend­ing the pop­u­lar Que­bec Win­ter Car­ni­val, which co­in­cides with the biathlon cham­pi­onships.

Squires says her French lan­guage skills are also de­cent, and she ex­pects there will be op­por­tu­ni­ties to put those skills to good use dur­ing her stay in the prov­ince.

Be­ing a na­tional event, Squires ex­pects the competition will be tough, and says her goal will be to avoid fin­ish­ing last.

As for her achieve­ment of go­ing to the na­tional cham­pi­onships, Squires says she owes grat­i­tude to coaches Wendy Barrett and Mar­i­lyn Barrett. Wendy will also travel to Que­bec as the com­pos­ite team’s coach.

“Even when I wasn’t in the mood to ski, like when it was stormy and we’d have to prac­tice, they still sup­ported me,” says Squires.

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