Bree Castle skis to biathlon bronze

Bree Castle’s two days on the biathlon course at the BC Winter Games were completely different.

"The first day was a lot better than the second day," said the 14-year-old Duncan biathlete, who won a bronze medal in the 6k race on the first day, then finished fifth in the 4k the next day.

On the first day, the weather was better and she had a good "zero" on the targets. The second day, it was colder, her zero wasn’t as good, and she was tired from the previous day’s race.

Although the Winter Games were held at Mission, the biathlon events took place at Whistler, a three-hour bus ride from the Fraser Valley, and athletes stayed there overnight between races. Still, Castle was thrilled with the entire experience, particularly meeting the other athletes. "There were already people I knew, but we got to meet other people and people from other sports," she said. "I made a lot of new friends."

Also representing the Cowichan Valley on the Island biathlon team were coaches Del McNish and Sharon Klein. Klein is Castle’s mom, which made the experience even better.

"She tells you what to do and other stuff a coach would do, but its better since she’s my mom," Castle said.

The bronze medal has quickly become a source of pride for Castle, who earlier this season won her first medal, also bronze, on the BC Cup tour in another event at Whistler.

"It’s really nice," she said. "It’s kind of like the BC Cup, but the medals are nicer. It’s more prestigious."

Unfortunately, this will be Castle’s last appearance at the BC Winter Games as she is preparing to relocate to Quebec, which happens to be a hotbed of biathlon.

"Hopefully I’ll do it there and get better and do more competition," she said. "They have really good biathlon. A lot of the Olympians come from there."