Janelle Bruneau wins bronze

NWT's sole snowshoeing medallist from Fort Simpson
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Janelle Bruneau, a snowshoer in the juvenile girls division, runs the 100-metre sprint on Friday. Bruneau won a bronze in the five kilometre race, the snowshoeing team's only medal.

Janelle Bruneau of Fort Simpson won the NWT its only medal in snowshoeing and missed a second due to a technical error.

Placing third in the five-kilometre cross country race, Bruneau said she was happy with the result considering this was her first time competing at the Arctic Winter Games.

“It feels really good to win a medal for Team NWT,” she said. “I expected I would come third to fifth, but I didn't really expect a medal.”

In her bronze-effort, Bruneau said all the racers were evenly matched in the first half of the race.

“For the first lap, which is 2.5 (kilometres), there were four girls who were ahead of everyone else and they were all in a little group and I was a part of it,” she said, adding the pack thinned as the finish line neared. “In the middle of the second lap we started to disperse and I was in second and I just fell back to third and I was OK with that.”

Sonia Gregory, Team NWT snowshoeing coach, said Bruneau has done well all week.

“She should have gotten a bronze on Monday as well but there was a little bit of confusion with the finish line,” said Gregory.

In the 2.5-kilometre race, Bruneau was running “neck-and-neck” with another racer when she pulled up at what she thought was the end.

“Coming into the homestretch she probably had a 15 to 20 second lead and unfortunately as she came in there was a finishing chute and there was sign that said 'finish' but it wasn't the actual finish,” said Gregory.

Coaches and teammates tried to get Bruneau to start running again, but Gregory said by the time she realized her mistake it was too late to catch up.

“I think at the end she lost by 12 or 13 seconds,” said Gregory.

Bruneau, 14, has been snowshoeing since she was 11 and said she started training for the games six months ago and enjoys the sport.

“I like that it's an individual sport and you're mostly competing against yourself,” she said.

Bruneau said the week has been a lot of fun and she is excited to bring her bronze medal home to Fort Simspon.

“I think my town will be proud of me,” she said.