Tuesday, March 20, 2018

NSW State League Kicks Off

It was a warm and windy weekend for the opening of the NSW State League, with sweltering summer temperatures making a comeback and strong gusts sweeping clouds of dust across the terrain. This didn’t deter the large gang of orienteers including six Uringans who headed to Southeast NSW for the first two events of the season, which included a range of navigationally challenging courses of varying length and elevation, over hilly bush terrain with no paths or park benches in sight. Termite mounds served as one of the key navigation features, and various species of wildlife including kangaroos, deer, snakes and owls also made an appearance over the weekend. The 2018 State League comprises 16 events in total and incorporates the NSW Orienteer of the Year competition, which is awarded in each age class with the scoring based on a competitor’s best seven results in the hard A category courses.

Event #1 was held on Saturday afternoon at Collector Hill. Many of the participants struggled in the heat and conditions underfoot were challenging, with a proliferation of fallen trees reducing the pace to a stumble in many places. Maggie Mackay competed in the W12A class on a 2.2k course, and persevered to secure the win in a time of 1.01.08. Her brother Finn was 8th in the M16A class over 5.8k, and Shane Doyle was 2nd in the M50A class on the same course in 1.20.56. Linda Sesta finished a close second in the W50A class on the 4.1k course, having stopped to help a clubmate in difficulty. Jim Mackay and Dave Lotty were forced to retire from their races in the M55AS and M65AS classes.

Maggie Mackay at Collector Hill on Saturday. Photo: Clare Jessup

Conditions were slightly better for event #2 at Snows Hill on Sunday morning, although many participants were exhausted from the previous day’s competition. Maggie again won her class in an impressive time of 33.37 for 2.7k, and Linda turned the tables on Saturday’s result to come first in her W50A class by a margin of over six minutes, in a time of 104.49 for the 5.5k course. Shane was again second in the M50A class, and narrowed the gap by over four minutes to finish in 1.17.14 over the 6.2k course. Jim competed in the M55AS class, finishing 6th in 1.47.28 for 3.9k, while Finn bailed out of contention in the M16A class with a mispunch.

Linda Sesta, winner of the W50A class at Snow Hills on Sunday.
Photo: John Harding, Orienteering Australia

Shane Doyle finishing second in the M50A class at Snow Hills.
Photo: John Harding, Orienteering Australia
Jim Mackay in action at Snow Hills.
Photo: John Harding, orienteering Australia
Map of the 5.5 course at Snow Hills showing Linda's splits

Full results for both events are available on the Orienteering NSW site.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Uringans in action over the weekend

It was an active weekend of competition for Uringa, with club members participating in a range of events in various locations. Five Uringans travelled to Victoria for the three-day Melbourne Sprint Weekend, which incorporated the National Orienteering League (NOL), the premier interstate competition for elite orienteers. The six-race series kicked off on Saturday morning at Monash University’s Clayton Campus, with Maree and Serena Doyle representing the NSW Stingers in the National Orienteering League, and Shane Doyle, Melanie Christie and Dave Lotty participating in the open events. Marie and her younger sister Serena, competing in the W21 and W20 elite classes on a 3150m course, both finished in 22nd place, in times of 20.36 and 22.23 respectively. Not to be outdone by his daughters, Shane Doyle scored 3rd place in the 2850 metre M50 race in a time of 14.47, only seven seconds shy of the second placed competitor. Melanie Christie ran 24.47 to finish 9th in the W40 class, also over a distance of 2850m, and Dave Lotty was 10th in the 1675m M70 event in 21.33.
Maree Doyle in action at the Melbourne Sprint Weekend
 Race 2, held at Caulfield Grammar School later that afternoon, was a World Ranking Event (WRE) and all five Uringans picked up the pace. Serena moved up to 15th position in her class in a time of 22.48 for 3100m, and Maree finished 19th W21E in 24.35.  Shane was 3rd M50 again for his 2800m event in a time of 17.35, Melanie was 5th W40 in 25.00, and Dave finished 8th in 25.29 for the 1975m M70 event.
Shane Doyle was well placed in the M50 class at the Melbourne Sprint Weekend
Yarra Valley Grammar school was the venue for the third race on Sunday morning, and included a relay for entrants in the National Orienteering League in which Maree’s team came 9th. Unfortunately Serena's team missed out on a placing due to a mispunch. In the individual rankings, Serena was 12th in her class over 3100m in a time of 19.05, and Maree was 21st in 20.50. Shane had a definitive win in the M50 race in 13.36 on a 2625m course, Melanie was 8th W40 in 21.41, and Dave was 14th M70 in 18.52 over 1675m.
Serena Doyle and NSW Stinger team mate Rebecca George at the start of the relay on Sunday morning.
In Race 4 at Kurunjang Schools on Sunday afternoon, Serena placed 19th in her 3050m race in 17.01 and Maree was also 19th in her class in 18.03. Shane was 2nd in his 2575m M50 race in 12.39 and Melanie was 4th W40 in 19.44. Dave finished 10th in the 1925m M70 race in 20.44.
Melanie and Dave stayed on for the final day of racing, with Melanie placing 7th over 2400m in the W40 category in Race 5 at Royal Park this morning, and Dave again finishing 10th in the 1975m M70 event in 22.39. In the final race at Keilor Downs Schools this afternoon, Melanie was 5th in the 2425m W40 event in 19.48, and Dave was 12th M70 in 18.58 over 1700m.
Dave Lotty competing in the Melbourne Sprint Weekend
Closer to home, Brian Cleland, Mary Jane Mahony, Finn Mackay and Daniel Povah participated in the final event in Term 1 of Bold Horizon’s Saturday Orienteering Series, held at the Christmas Tree Farm in Duffy’s Forest. All four opted for the long line course, which involved navigating through scenic gardens and a maze of Christmas trees. Brian was 33rd in the open category in 39.47, with Mary Jane hot on his heels in 36th place in a time of 47.44. Finn finished an excellent 4th in the High School category in 23.08 and Daniel was 12th in 43.44.
Brian Cleland in action at the Saturday Orienteering Series event at Duffy’s Forest.
Across town, Linda Sesta and Brady Kopriva flew the flag for the club at the Illawarra Kareelah local event in Sans Souci, with Linda finishing 5th in the long line event in 52.20 and Brady completing the short course in 41.12.

Meanwhile, Ant Nolan and Dani Kopriva opted for a break from orienteering to line up for the gruelling 45km Six Foot Track “marathon” in the Blue Mountains on Saturday morning. Ant completed the course in 4.52.57, blowing his target time of 5 hours out of the water, and Dani finished in 5.43.08, a 45 minute improvement on her time last year.

Full results for the orienteering events are on the Eventor site. Results of the Six Foot Track Marathon are available here.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Sydney Sprint Series Event #7, Sir Joseph Banks Park, Botany

Sir Joseph Banks Park was the venue for the grand finale of the 2018 Sydney Sprint Series, hosted in style by Uringa Orienteers. The park is an oasis of calm in the midst of a maze of urban activity, and is home to numerous species of waterbirds and a charming array of animal statues - a legacy of the “pleasure gardens” established in the 1830s which housed Sydney’s first zoo. The park is also the home of Australia’s oldest running race, the Botany Bay Gift, which attracts top track athletes from around the world. There is no need to be a world class sprinter to take part in the Sydney Sprint Series, which caters for all standards of orienteers from the fleet-footed elite to social orienteers seeking an enjoyable stroll in the park. Sprint orienteering is ideal for beginners as the short courses are not too arduous and there is no need for advance planning, as with score courses. The series is also good preparation for the winter orienteering season which predominately features line courses.

52 orienteers from a range of clubs participated in yesterday’s event, including 14 Uringans. The course, laid out by Linda and Aldo Sesta, was blissfully traffic-free and offered plenty of route choice for a line course. It included 16 controls and took in a variety of terrain including hills, grass, trails and one slightly rickety river crossing which fortunately didn’t lead anyone into the realm of underwater orienteering! Fastest to complete the 2.9k course was Aidan Dawson from Garingal Orienteers, whose blistering time of 12.14 put him nearly a minute clear of his nearest rival. His sister Michele Dawson, also of Garingal, won the open women’s category in 16.04, giving her a clean sweep of all seven events in the series. Ewan Shingler of Big Foot Orienteering was fastest junior in an impressive 13.54, and his younger sister Nea Shingler topped the junior women’s category with a time of 17.45. There were some decent performances in the older categories too, with Uringa’s Shane Doyle finishing fastest of the veteran men in 15.54. Joel Putnum of Bennelong Northside Orienteers clocked 16.18 in the master men’s category, Big Foot’s Mark Shingler topped the super veteran men’s leader board in 17.30, and Ross Barr of Garingal led the legend men in 20.52. Uringan members dominated the adult women’s categories, with Melanie Christie fastest of the veteran women in 24.14, followed by Jane Boland in 26.08, and Helen Murphy and Adrienne Kirby finishing first and second in the legend women’s category in 23.48 and 29.47 respectively. Barbara Dawson of Garingal was fastest super vet woman in 26.42.

Full results are available on the Eventor site.