21 July 2014

NZSS Orienteering Champs last weekend

Taranaki entrants: Tom Spencer senior boys championship, Sassafraz M-J intermediate girls championship and Sam Evans intermediate boys championship.

The sprint event  was held in Manurewa’s,  Mountfort  Park  map adjoining  James Cook High School and Leabank School , and by ‘sprint’ it was just that,  a runners map, with dead  flat field area and a basic grid set out of the adjacent school buildings there was nothing that would even challenge a non-navigator. The highest placing’s were rewarded for maximum running speed with a few ‘unknowns’ high in the results coming off the recent cross country nationals event and training.

Tom looked primed for full speed in his warm up at the sprint and in both disciplines finished oh so close to the podium, 4th in both sprint and long. The times were so tight that he was just in the background of the podium, photo bombing it.

The Long course was set in Waiuku Forest north of the Waikato river mouth; this was slightly hilly, open pine forest running with some dunes and pampas grass.
For Sam it was easy to get lost in the biggest field of the event with 87 contestants. Sam ran solidly and consistently finishing high up in 22nd sprint and 18th long. He would have been aided by a more technical course too, with some leg 2nds and 3rds popping into his win splits where the controls were on the technical side.
Sass finished high up in the field too, but without participating in the NISS event had unfavorable early start seeding’s;  mind you standing first on results screen for most of the event running time must have felt good. Her final results suffered like Sam by have one or two legs that were a bit longer that the norm time. She finished credibly 7th in sprint and 8th in long course out of a field of 61.

For the Final day the three combined to run at the Senior Boys level for the relay (orange) this was partially in the forest from the day before and on open hilly farm land. For Sass and Sam this would have been the hardest maps they would have run at the event and they did credibly well placing mid field with their individual results, which is where the team finished 12th (though not classified because they were not big boys, in fact one of them wasn’t even a boy) out of 17 .Tom’s first leg was outstanding. Looking at the win splits for his leg in the field he whooped the field on every leg (bummer that this wasn’t his long course map). He finishing nearly a full minute ahead of the next team, Sass then Sam both ‘appreciated’ the extra pressure supplied from Tom’s early return. Each of the three relay maps where similar but with 2-3 small leg/feature variations that differentiated each map.
Had the maps been more technical our entrants would have finished up higher in their fields possibly, but the event sets were balanced more towards courses that were easily approachable for the majority of the field, where I guess they should be aimed at this age. Counties Manukau Orienteering  did a sterling job running the event with no complaints or errors , the starts ran smoothly even in the cold fog of the relay, the catering organization  was good too.  Lorna Fox will testify to the quality of the coffee and we all needed its warmth both days in the Waiuku forest.

[From the Editor] We need more Taranaki entries at this event in the future. The standard of most of our local juniors would have them finishing highly at a national level. The events are set for the majority (who are non orienteers) so no real technical proficiency is required to compete and do well. Think about it for next year!

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