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State League wrap

posted 18 Sep 2014, 05:57 by Alex Davey

Waggaroo orienteers excelled at the Riverina Orienteering Championships and the NSW Middle Distance Orienteering Championships last weekend.

The Riverina Orienteering Championships were conducted at Pomingalarna on Saturday. The terrain surprised many being more intricate than expected. As such they approached the control sites somewhat casually and suddenly realised they were not where they expected to be. Some found the open terrain to be faster than anticipated and over-ran the target control sites while others, choosing to follow one of the numerous levy banks, missed their target by following the wrong bank.

The Fossum family, recently arrived from Norway, were delighted to see so many kangaroos at close range.

The Riverina Orienteering Championship is awarded to the male and female with the largest percentage winning margin in their age-class. Waggaroo Ed McDougall put himself in contention by winning the M14A age-class comfortably from BigFoot’s Ewan Shingler. Although Ed’s time was 62% better than Ewan’s, he was pipped for the title by Newcastle’s Josh Blatchford who won his age-class by 68%. Canberra's Liz Abbott was declared women’s champion with a 56% winning margin in the W55A class.

Waggaroo Lucy McGarva finished with a very good third placing behind Canberra’s Lizzie Ingham and Bendigo’s Clare Brownridge. Ingham is a New Zealand international based in Canberra and currently ranked 56th in the world. Although Lizzie’s winning margin was clear-cut, the two placegetters were far from outclassed.

The NSW Middle Distance Orienteering Championship on Sunday was quite different. Conducted at Connorton just south of Wagga, the rocky terrain required a major adjustment in navigational techniques. In middle distance orienteering the short legs, numerous controls and frequent changes in direction place the emphasis on rapid decision making over short distances. Small errors can lead to large time losses as navigational corrections are made and the concentration on the map features in tricky terrain has to be intense.

The Women’s Championship was won by Lizzie Ingham who showed her class with a comfortable win. Waggaroo Briohny Seaman, returning to competitive orienteering following the birth of her second child, did exceptionally well to finish second just ahead of Bendigo’s Clare Brownridge. Waggaroo Lucy McGarva again was in the mix finishing a close fourth.

The Men’s Championship was much closer with Canberra’s Dave Shepherd just edging out Southern Highlander Dave Meyer. Newcastle’s Andrew Morris was in third place but well off the pace.

Uringa’s Jones family had an outstanding day with Sophie winning W14, Georgia winning W16, Lawrence winning the M17-20 class and Ian winning the M45A class.

Other notable performances were by Canberra’ Rob Allison who won M60 by a mere 18 seconds from Newcastle’s Ian Dempsey and Basil Baldwin (Goldseekers, Orange) who just beat John Hodsdon (Southern Highlands) in the M70 class, Liz Abbott (Canberra, W55), Ruth Goddard (Yarra Valley, W60) and Jean Baldwin (Goldseekers, W70).

Feedback from competitors was excellent for both events, with many saying they would come back to run on the maps, especially Connorton, again.

The Australian Orienteering Championships will be conducted in the first weekend in October in Perth.

The next local event will be on Sunday October 12 in the Murraguldrie State Forest commencing at 10am. From Tumbarumba Rd turn into the Murraguldrie State forest about 6km south of the Hume Hwy overpass.

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