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Riverina Schools a big success

posted 23 May 2016, 04:30 by Alex Davey

More than 90 school children aged 9-17 participated in the Riverina Schools Orienteering Championships conducted by Waggaroos at Willans Hill.

Many of the students were trying orienteering for the first time so the day commenced with a map walk during which coaches explained how the map symbols related to features on the ground and provided some basic navigation instruction.  The courses varied in length from 1000m to 2000m and required participants to use linear features such as tracks and earth embankments to locate various point features such as depressions and distinctive trees.

In the Girls 10-11 age-class Charlotte Priest (Kooringal PS) was a clear winner finishing more than 7 minutes ahead of Ashtyn Quee (Henty PS). Ashtyn was within a minute of Charlotte for most of the race but faltered over the last few controls to enable Charlotte to build her substantial lead. Helena Brown finished third 5 seconds further behind.

In the Girls 12-13 age-class Charlotte’s sister Harriet (Kooringal PS) started very well and by the 8th control of 10 had built up a 4minute lead over Jade Beresford (Wagga High) and Hannah Billett (TRAC). However it all came unstuck on the way to the 9th control where Harriet lost 3 minutes to the other girls. Jade went on to win ahead of Hannah with Harriet third.

Current NSW Schools W13 Sprint Orienteering Champion Joannah McDougall (Wagga High) put in a good steady performance to win the Girls 14-15 age-class. Rebecca Scott (TRAC) also orienteered very well and was just a few seconds slower than Joannah to most controls. Joannah gained a two minute advantage to the fourth control and that proved to be the main difference between the girls. Kimberley Telford (Wagga High) was third but well off the pace.

Annie Cumberlege (TRAC) and Hannah Weedon (Wagga High) went through the first four controls in similar times but then Annie proved to be slightly faster through the remaining 9 controls and eventually won by almost 6 minutes. Abigail Rosser (Wagga High) came third.

Henty PS took out the trifecta in the Boys 10-11 age-class. Blake Roulston started very well but made an error to the third control which allowed Angus White to take the lead. However, when Angus made errors later in the race Blake was able to resume the lead and Harry Doig managed to slip into second place.

In the Boys 12-13 age-class Angus Roche started very well and by the 9th control had established a 3 minute lead over current NSW Schools M12 Middle Distance Orienteering Champion Cameron McDougall (Wagga High). However errors on the way to the 10th and 11th controls cost him dearly and Cameron was able to assume and then build on to the lead. Charlie Murphy (Ladysmith PS) was steady throughout and finished with a well-deserved third place.

Lachlan Billett (TRAC) showed his class in the Boys 14-15 age-class. The current NSW Schools M14 Sprint Orienteering Champion recorded the fastest time to every control in an almost error free run eventually winning by almost 4 minutes from Wagga High’s Will Morton and Saxby Harrison.

Brandon Ellis (Mater Dei) was a surprise winner in the Boys 16+ age-class. Wagga High’s Charlie Cheesley started very well and by the 10th control was 45 seconds ahead of Brandon and almost 3 minutes ahead of the highly fancied Kade Mavroudis (TRAC). On the second half of the course Kade fared much better and started making up time on the other two. Brandon was moving through steadily and hit the lead when Charlie made an error on the way to the third last control. Kade continued to close in but could not quite close the gap and had to settle for second place.

In the Relay event Henty PS teams took the first three places on the Primary School Division. This was a great effort considering none of the children had done orienteering before. The winning team comprised Tyler Watson, Connor Murphy and Hugh Edwards.

In the Secondary School Division Wagga High (Dean McMullen, Saxby Harrison, Will Longmore) were too strong for Mater Dei (Brandon Ellis, James Trevaskis, Kobe Priest).