Saanich Peninsula top shots off to national cadet competition

Two air cadets from the Saanich Peninsula are at the top of their game as their marksmanship team eyes the nationals in May.

Flight Sergeant Kyra Tuggle of the 676 Kittyhawk Squadron Air Cadets Corps scored the 24th perfect target of her career at the provincial marksmanship championships, held in Vernon earlier this month.

She now holds the record for perfect targets for 676 Squadron.

“It’s what you always want to have,” Tuggle said at a recent parade night at the Kittyhawk building at the Victoria International Airport.

She added it doesn’t always happen, but scoring a 10 out of 10 possible points on a prone target is always a shooter’s goal.

Cadets use air rifles for their marksmanship program and youth from all three branches of cadets — air, navy and army — gather at the Vernon Cadet Camp each year for provincials.

Tuggle, who has for years been the local squadron’s top shot, had a little competition from one of her squadron-mates this year.

Cadet Juliana Speier had an excellent competition, winning the top shot in the Open category (over 15 years) by one point — over Tuggle. Yet the more experienced Tuggle said she’s happy for Speier.

“I love competing,” Tuggle said, adding for her, it’s about team success, rather than her own.

Speier also has experience in the competition, having shot at provincials and nationals with 676 Squadron last year. She said the local squadron’s marksmanship team has high standards, which fosters good competition among themselves — and against other cadet teams.

Coach Lt. Doug Tellier said his team placed first for the first time at provincials — over their perennial competition from 907 Squadron (White Rock). He said the team took top spot by one point, following a tiebreaker.

“It was Kyra’s last target that got us that one point,” he said.

Going to nationals next month, he continued, is all the better for taking first place among B.C. cadet teams — a goal they’ve had for years. The local team was actually in third place overall in the province going into this month’s provincials in Vernon.

Tuggle said she got into marksmanship as a cadet at 676 Squadron.

“I just kind of showed up,” she laughed. “My sister started before me and I started late. I was 15 and in Grade 10. I tried it, had a blast and fell for it.”

Tuggle ages out of cadets this summer and is looking for other opportunities to keep up her marksmanship skills.

Speier, meanwhile, has a few years of cadets left and will be helping set the example for up-and-coming youth interested in the sport.

The 676 Kittyhawk marksmanship team of Tuggle, Speier, Benjamin Berenshtyen, Hanne Brenan and Connor Scott will be off to Gimli, Manitoba for the national cadet marksmanship event May 9 to 13.

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