Quesnel River Archers’ shooter McKayla Bolitho lines up a shot at a 3D shooting competition in Williams Lake. Bolitho won a silver medal at the 2019 B.C. 3D Championships. (Greg Sabatino - Williams Lake Tribune)

Quesnel River Archers’ shooter McKayla Bolitho lines up a shot at a 3D shooting competition in Williams Lake. Bolitho won a silver medal at the 2019 B.C. 3D Championships. (Greg Sabatino - Williams Lake Tribune)

Local youth head to archery trials for 2020 BC Winter Games

Quesnel’s Mckayla Bolitho and Alison Dewling will compete for a recurve bow position on team

The competition is beginning to heat up for the upcoming BC Winter Games, as archery trials for Zone 8 (the Cariboo-North East region) kick off Saturday, Nov. 30 in Williams Lake and Sunday, Dec 1 in Prince George.

The BC Winter Games take place every two years and are the province’s premier multi-sport event for young athletes, coaches and officials. To qualify for this year’s Games, athletes must be between the ages of 15 and 17 as of Dec. 31, 2020.

Archers from Quesnel will also be taking aim at a spot on the Zone 8 team. Two athletes, McKayla Bolitho and Alison Dewling, from Quesnel will be friendly competitors for the recurve bow position on the team.

“Unfortunately for them, they are both shooting the same bow so they are competing against each other for the same spot,” says Lora Lee-Murray, a local national archery champion and coach based out of the Quesnel River Archers Club, “but we have been preparing them by pitting them against each other for the last two months, creating many competitions within our club practices for them. We use all kinds of distracting techniques to keep them focused.”

Murray says the camaraderie is high for local athletes competing against each other.

“Probably the most amazing thing about archery is that at the line, we are competitors and then as soon as we walk off, if I shot a bad set, the guys beside me are cheering me on and me the same to them.

“The kids are exactly the same way. On the line, they are focused, and off the line, they are friends.”

Williams Lake archer Al Campsall has been named the coach for the Zone 8 team, and he has high hopes that a few of the local youth from the area will make the team.

“There are some rising stars in the youth archery programs from our area,” Campsall says. “Ty Thurow has been consistently shooting over 297/300, with several 300/300 scores, in the last month. Ty has won 13 B.C. and six Canadian Championships and set four B.C. and Canadian archery records in the past five years. Isaac Bedford is not far behind Ty, finishing second to him in the last two B.C. Championships. His practice scores are consistently around 295/300. Additionally, Kylie Sharman started shooting only last year and recently shot her best score of 285/300. In her short tenure, she has made it to the podium for two silvers and a bronze in three B.C. Championships in 2019. My hope and expectation is that Ty, Isaac and Kylie shoot well enough to be chosen to the Zone 8 Team.”

The archers competing this weekend will find out if they have been selected to the Zone 8 team on Dec. 15 and will then begin training for the BC Winter Games, which take place Feb. 20-23 in Fort St. John.

READ MORE: Quesnel archers win 14 medals in Prince George