Waggaroos juniors excel at NSW Schools Champs

Post date: Aug 25, 2015 10:40:24 AM

At the NSW Schools Orienteering Championships held on the weekend of 15-16 August, Waggaroos juniors and school students competed with distinction gaining three first placings, two seconds and a fourth. The Championships included a sprint event on Saturday and then a longer distance Classic Championship event in bushland on Sunday. Over 150 students aged 9 to 17 competed in 18 age-classes over two days.

The sprint event involved two short races with times combined to determine final places. Held at the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury campus, the young orienteers had to think quickly to cope with the many changes in direction as they navigated between the buildings. The scale and symbols used differ between sprint orienteering maps and bush orienteering maps which was another adjustment that had to be made.

Wagga TRAC student Lachlan Billett (M14A) did brilliantly to win both sprint races in style and win overall by 37 seconds which is a large margin in sprint orienteering. In doing so he outclassed some more experienced orienteers.

Joannah McDougall (WWHS) came second in the W13A class sprint. She was just 4 seconds off the pace after the first sprint race but could not peg back Alison Naylor (RGHS, Sydney) in the second.

Cameron McDougall (St Josephs Primary) went like wildfire in the first race of the M12A class winning by an extraordinary 90 seconds. Unfortunately he mis-punched a control in the second race and missed out on what could have been another Wagga podium finish.

The classic event was held on the Knapsack Lagoon map at Glenbrook. The intricate track network and many rock faces put a premium on maintaining map contact, and there were quite a few students overshooting controls as a result.

Cameron McDougall made up for his disappointment in the sprint race by winning the 2.3 km bush event and the M12A Schools Orienteering Championship title comfortably. He started very carefully and was so slow to the first control he was almost in last position. He remained composed and maintained a steady pace and as others made mistakes he gradually worked his way through the field. He hit the front at the fifth control of 9 and from there literally ran away from the other participants to win by almost 5 minutes.

Joannah McDougall went one better than her second place in the sprint to win the 2.7km W13A NSW Schools Orienteering Championship title very comfortably despite a significant error at the fifth control. She was clearly a class above the other competitors in her age-class having fastest time to 6 of the 10 controls.

Lachlan Billett after an excellent Saturday came a very creditable second in the M14A class. He started well and was in the lead after Tom Kennedy made an error going to the first control. Lachlan continued steadily throughout the race but the more experienced Kennedy hit his straps midway through the race and went on to win recording the fastest time to 5 of the last 7 controls. Lachlan finished in second place just over a minute behind and almost 5 minutes ahead of third placegetter Finn MacKay (Sydney).

Wagga High School student, Ed McDougall, also had a very good run in the M14A class to finish in fourth place.