It was hard to tell who had the tougher job on Friday at the Otway Nordic Centre: Jennah Smailes or Tekarra Banser.
The two West Kelowna biathletes were part of Team BC, which was favoured for the gold medal in the female nordic relay event at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George.
Tekarra would have the first leg of the relay, while Jennah was, “the cheer-er today. I’m the extra member of the team.”
However, just because she wasn’t on the course, that didn’t mean Jennah wasn’t feeling the emotion.
“It was nerve-wracking,” she said after the team finished first to claim the gold medals. “All I could do was cheer and scream my head off.
“You could watch the race progress, but you could only really see them on the (skiing course) at a few spots. I was always on the radio with the coach, ‘How did she shoot that round?'”
In the case of Tekarra’s first round of shots, it wasn’t good news.
“I missed two of my shots from the prone position,” she said, “so I had to skate a couple of penalty loops. Then I just focused on skiing the best I could, powering up the hills, and not missing any more targets.
“There was a lot of pressure before the race. You could feel it. It was just like a crazy environment here.”
Strong skiing helped Tekarra move up before she finished her leg and tagged off to Claire Lapointe of Prince George. Lapointe moved the team into first place before handing off to clubmate Emily Dickson for the anchor leg.
“You could hear the crowd cheering for us,” Tekarra said. “We all had confidence in each other.”
Both of them characterized the week of being in Prince George for the Canada Winter Games as “amazing.”
“You might go to a dozen Nationals,” Tekarra said, “but there’s only one Games. It’s a totally different experience.”
“The atmosphere has been crazy all week, the weather has been great, the course is terrific.
“It’s great to have the Games in B.C. so our parents and friends can come and cheer us on.”