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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Wellington Champs Review

I'll post some maps if I get a chance tomorrow, specifically to have a look at a few different legs, but firstly a great weekend of orienteering with a great variety of terrain and courses.

It was good for a change to have a solid farmland classic, with enough detail to keep you interested. Unfortunately the splits on winsplits are incorrect, so don't go drawing too many conclusions. Nick Hann was streets ahead in the mens elite, he seems the complete package at the moment, while Lizzie Ingham was chased harder by both Laura Robertson and Penny Kane in the womens.In the Junior elite womens rising star Kayla Fairbairn was trailed home by locals Lauren Turner and Lara Molloy, while Callum Herries finally managed to hold it together for a whole race to win convincingly.

The highlight of the event for the elite fields at least, was definitely the knock out sprint held on Sunday. Eketahuna was more of a prologue, one for the cameras but it still accounted for Herries and Tane Cambridge as only the top 12 qualified for the final (with the elite and junior elite fields combined). Rathkeale College was the venue for the real deal and it proved more than adequate. Detailed buildings surrounded by nice forested grounds gave just enough challenge at speed.

The format was two semifinals of 6 in each gender, with the top two in each going through to the final along with the two fastest losers. In the womens first semi-final Lizzie Ingham disappeared off the radar early and required a great comeback to recover lost time and outsprint Kayla Fairbairn for the win. Penny Kane finished third and had an anxious wait to see if she would go through as one of the fastest losers. She just made it. It was Laura Robertson, Georgia Whitla and Piret Klade coming through in the second heat, and Lauren Turner just failed to upset Kane by 10 seconds. In the men the first heat had the most depth and the six were only separated by 30 seconds. Surprisingly though it was Jamie Stewart, Shamus Morrison and Devon Beckman who qualifed with Tim Robertson the one left crossing his fingers....to no avail though...Duncan Morrison spoiled our top sprinters party finishing a strong 3rd in the second heat to Matt Ogden and Nick Hann to knock Robertson out.



The final was perhaps slightly less dramatic, but only because of the dominance of two athletes. Matt Ogden and Laura Robertson clearing out. In the latter case it was definitelty an example of the apprentice overcoming the master. Robertson's rival and coach Lizzie Ingham watching her glide into the distance.

After the sprint , the middle distance back on Hacione on the banks of the Ruamahunga River, had a lot to live up to and it damn well did. Tight, intricate and accurate courses with a variety of leg lengths and direction changes. Good, solid orienteering challenge, and back into Hann territory. Too easy for the lanky one after the maestro Matt Ogden made early errors. Lizzie Ingham wasn't expecting Sarah Gray to be her closest challenger...but she was, a morale boosting result for the DSquad Coach. In the junior women two different contenders came to the fore, Sonia Hollands and Rebecca Gray, dominating proceedings and demonstrating their technical proficiency. It could have been Gray's day, but a lonely and late mistake let Hollands through.While in the junior men Callum Herries tore it up, with some of his competition running elites, and Beckman still learning his craft in terrain, it was Herries to win and he had no mercy. Looking forward to Sprint the Bay and the competition for JWOC spaces next year keep an eye on these two guys from the Hawkes Bay.

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