Season 2020 is underway! A highly successful Lonely Mountain Sprint series saw a strong international field and gave a great demonstration of the new IOF knock-out sprint format. A full report follows, including an analysis of the map choice option of splitting that was used in the semi-finals. Also, as we move into 2020 a few notices of what is coming up and what we can expect from the Brave New Year.
Lonely Mountain Sprints
The 2020 orienteering season started with a bang at the Lonely Mountain Sprint series over Auckland Anniversary Weekend with a turnout of over 250. The feature was the WOC trial of the first knock-out sprint to be run in New Zealand and it did not disappoint in terms of excitement and drama. By late afternoon the big fields of nearly 60 men and 40 women had been whittled down to the 6 finalists. What followed was totally unexpected as both pre-race favourites, Frederic Tranchand in the men and Lizzie Ingham in the women, suffered disasters which changed the complexion of both races.
However, to begin at the beginning, the day started with the qualification race. Both fields were divided into 3 heats (the make-up of which was unknown to the runners) with the top 12 in each heat to advance to the knock-out quarter finals. The courses took in part of Te Henui cemetery before finishing in New Plymouth Girls High School. All the top runners made it safely through this stage with World Junior Sprint Champion Aston Key posting the fastest time of the men (10-15) and Lizzie Inghamof the women (11-12).
Qualification Men Heat 1 1. Frederic Tranchand (FRA) 10-32, 2. Joe Lynch (PP) 11-01, 3. Jess Laukkarinen (FIN) 11-35, 4. Jason Bond (OT) 11-47, 5. Simeon Burrill (AUS) 11-51, 6.Brodie Nankervis (AUS) 12-14.
Qualification Men Heat 2 1. Chris Smithard (GBR) 10-38, 2. Peter Hodkinson (GBR) 10-52, 3. Fryderyk Pryjma (POL) 10-52, 4. Tommy Hayes (AK) 11-07, 5. Ed Cory-Wright (PP) 11-16, 6. Toby Scott (NW) 11-29.
Qualification Men Heat 3 1. Aston Key (AUS) 10-15, 2. Dante Afnan (AUS) 10-44, 3. Alastair George (AUS) 10-58, 4. Simon Uppill (AUS) 11-15, 5. Ronan Lee (HB) 11-35, 6. Jonny Crickmore (GRB) 11-42.
Women Qualification Heat 1 1. Krystal Neumann (AUS) 11-42, 2. Elin Erne (SUI) 11-50, 3. Ella Cuthbert (AUS) 12-12, 4. Kaia Joergensen (PP) 12-24, 5. Natasha Key (AUS) 12-32, 6. Briana Steven (PP) 12-42.
Women Qualification Heat 2 1. Lizzie Ingham (WN) 11-12, 2. Tessa Burns (HB) 11-59, 3. Iida Lehtonen (FIN) 12-09, 4. Zoe Melhuish (AUS) 12-20, 5. Penelope Salmon (NW) 12-21, 6. Alice Tilley (NW) 12-33.
Women Qualification Heat 3 1. Laura Robertson (HV) 12-02, 2. Tara Melhuish (AUS) 12-24, 3. Evellina Hirvonen (FIN) 12-39, 4. Jess Sewell (NW) 12-46, 5. Asha Steer (AUS) 12-54, 6. Amelia Horne (RK) 13-06.
Under the IOF formula for the knock-out sprint the finishing order in the qualification heat dictated the make-up of the 6 mass-start quarter-final fields for both the men and the women. The quarter-finals used butterfly loops, all within Girls High School, to give 6 variations of the course to provide splitting of the field.
With the top 3 from each quarter-final progressing to the semis nearly all the main contenders had relatively easy passages. The only surprise was the elimination of Dante Afnan. Jensen Key was the only one to lose out in a sprint finish. However, an initial disqualification of Jensen’s brother Aston was overturned when it transpired that a control, not used up until that point, had not registered for him as he was the first to reach it after it had automatically turned off. Unfortunately, Aston had also taken the butterfly loop in question in reverse order and the missing control meant that this was not detected until later – leading to his ultimate disqualification from the final!
Four other men were disqualified for taking loops in the wrong order! In the men, Joe Lynch was the only Kiwi to win a quarter-final with the rest being shared between a Frenchman, a Finn, an Aussie and two Brits – demonstrating the depth and quality of the men’s field.
Men QF1 1. Aston Key 7-45, 2. Cameron de L’Isle 7-59, 3. Jason Bond 8-24, 4. Ryan Stocks 8-51, 5. Ed Cory-Wright 9-28, Jonty Oram mp.
Men QF2 1. Peter Hodkinson 8-06, 2. Alastair George 8-16, 3. Brodie Nankervis 8-17, 4. Liam Thomson 8-39, 5. Bruce Arthur 8-55, 6. Patrick Hayes 8-59.
Men QF3 1. Frederic Tranchand 7-35, 2. Tommy Hayes 8-05, 3. Oliver Egan 8-31, 4. Cameron Bonar 9-00, 5. Brody McCarthy 9-04, Ronan Lee mp
Men QF4 1. Jesse Laukkarinen 8-00, 2. Toby Scott 8-09, 3. Calum Sutherland 8-10, 4. Jensen Key 8-10, 5. Max Griffiths 8-16, 6. Dante Afnan 8-35.
Men QF5 1. 1, Chris Smithard 7-54, 2. Simeon Burrill 7-57, 3. Simon Uppill 8-05, 4. Liam Stolberger 8-47, 5. Scott Smith 10-13, Toby Wilson mp
Men QF6 1. Joe Lynch 7-39, 2. Fryderyk Pryjma 7-49, 3. Jonny Crickmore 7-57, 4. Will Tidswell 8-15, 5. David Stocks 9-44, Angus Haines mp
The home athletes fared better in the women’s quarters with both Lizzie ingham and Penelope Salmon winners, Penelope over Laura Robertson in quarter-final 1. The other winners being two Finns and two Australians.
Women QF1 1. Penelope Salmon 8-13, 2. Laura Robertson 8-24, 3. Kaia Joergensen 8-30, 4. Katie Cory-Wright 9-19, 5. Tessa Ramsden 9-32, 6. Victoria Brautigam 9-37.
Women QF2 1. Evellina Hirvonen 8-44, 2. Bridget Uppill 8-55, 3. Tessa Burns 9-23, 4. Amber Riddle 9-40, 5. Marisol Hunter 9-44, 6. Briana Steven 10-35.
Women QF3 1, Zoe Melhuish 8-27, 2. Krystal Neumann 8-27, 3. Lara Molloy 8-47, 4. Asha Steer 8-56, 5. Georgia Skelton 9-21, 6. Emily Hayes 9-41.
Women QF4 1. Tara Melhusih 8-30, 2. Ella Cuthbert 8-31, 3. Ellie de Jong 8-32, 4. Zara Stewart 8-48, 5. Alice Tilley 8-57, 6. Ellie Molloy 9-32.
Women QF5 1. Lizzie Ingham 8-02, 2. Natasha Key 8-37, 3. Kayla Fairbairn 8-52, 4. Jess Sewell 8-56, 5. Heidi Stolberger 9-11, 6. Sabethe Koesch 11-19.
Women QF6 1. Iida Lehtonen 8-27, 2. Elin Erne 8-34, 3. Jenna Tidswell 8-51, 4. Amelia Horne 9-06, 5. Evelyn Brautigam 10-02, Hannah Mangnall mp.
The semi-finals saw a shift in location from Girls High to the south side of the cemetery and the grounds of New Plymouth Boys High School and the adjacent Western Institute of Technology (WITT). The semi-finals also saw the first use of the map choice option for splitting the field. In this, there is a split control(s) somewhere on the course and, on the start line, competitors are given 20 seconds to decide which option out of 3 they wish to take. A fuller analysis of this is given below, but it was clear from the outset that the choice on offer was not easy to decide between. Interestingly, in both the men’s and women’s semi-finalists there were qualifiers for the final who took each of the three options.
Despite not heading the quarter-finals, three NZL men made it through to the final. Toby Scott holding out Tommy Hayes to finish second in SF2, while both Joe Lynch and Cameron de L’Isle progressed following mispunches or disqualifications.
Men SF1 1.Peter Hodkinson 8-29, 2. Cameron de L’Isle 8-42, 3. Alastair George 9-13, 4. Brodie Nankervis 9-48, 5. Jason Bond 10-01, Aston Key dsq
Men SF2 1. Frederic Tranchard 8-27, 2. Toby Scott 8-46, 3. Tommy Hayes 8-49, 4. Jesse Laukkarinen 9-08, 5. Calum Sutherland 9-14, 6. Oliver Egan 9-33.
Men SF3 1. Jonny Crickmore 8-37, 2. Joe Lynch 8-48, 3. Chris Smithard 8-54, 4. Simon Uppill 9-19, 5. Fryderyk Pryjma 12-08, Simeon Burrill mp
The qualifiers for the women’s final were split evenly between New Zealand and Australia, the latter having sisters Zoe and Tara Melhuish separated by only 1 second in SF2. A quirk of the IOF format is that the top 3 in each quarter-final all go into the same semi-final. Thus in SF1 Penelope Salmon and Laura Robertson again lined up against each other, finishing 1-2 in that order and with Lizzie Ingham a comfortable winner in SF3.
Women SF1 1.Penelope Salmon 9-53, 2. Laura Robertson 9-59, 3. Kaia Joegensen 10-15, 4. Evellina Hirvonen 10-25, Tessa Burns mp, Bridget Uppill dnf.
Women SF2 1.Zoe Melhuish 10-06, 2. Tara Melhuish 10-07, 3. Ella Cuthbert 10-10, 4. Ellie de Jong 10-17, 5. Krystal Neumann 10-24, 6. Lara Molloy 11-27.
Women SF3 1. Lizzie Ingham 9-44, 2. Natasha Key 10-28, 3. Elin Erne 10-33, 4. Iida Lehtonen 10-36, 5. Jenna Tidswell 10-46, 6. Kayla Fairbairn 11-18.
And so to the drama of the finals, with a big crowd both following the runners in the grounds of WITT and watching live tracking in the event centre. Both women and men started with 1 or 2 controls in the cemetery before a long leg back into WITT where there was combination of butterfly and phi-loops requiring detailed navigation prior to another relatively long leg back towards the finish.
The women ran first and Lizzie Ingham led as they exited the cemetery for the long leg to 2. Reaching it Lizzie found that her SIAir did not register and backtracked to re-punch, only to beat the control in frustration when she realised that she had not cleared and checked to activate the card! Although, after a pause to collect herself, continuing and manually clipping at each control, her race was over!
With the Australian contingent falling behind it was a race, for the third time in the day, between Penelope Salmon and Laura Robertson. With the two of them having different orders of loops, who was in the lead was unclear and indeed, they arrived at control 11, at the end of the loops, together. It was the next leg from 11-12 which decided the race, Laura (red on the tracking) swinging to the left to use the smooth running road, while Penelope (blue) went right but had to climb two flights of steps to exit the main WITT buildings. Although the distances were equal Laura’s smoother route was 12 seconds faster, enough to make the difference even though Penelope closed the gap to 4 seconds at the finish.
Women Final 1. Laura Robertson 10-47, 2. Penelope Salmon 10-51, 3. Zoe Melhuish 11-09, 4. Natasha Key 11-39, 5. Tara Melhusih 11-57, 6. Lizzie Ingham est. 13-00.
The men’s final was just as dramatic. Coming out of the loops Frederic Tranchand had a commanding lead, but then, reading ahead for the long leg back from 14-15 (the same as the women’s 13-14), he completely overshot control 14 and was suddenly in 4th place as Peter Hodkinson, Joe Lynch and Jonny Crickmore all went past him. The mistakes were not yet over as Jonny, on the way to 15, mistakenly entered a wrong gap between buildings and Cameron completely omitted 15. This left Peter to take the win with Cameron crossing the line next, only to be disqualified, giving Joe 2nd and Frederic, benefitting from Jonny’s mistake, recovering to 3rd.
Men Final 1. Peter Hodkinson 9-59, 2. Joe Lynch 10-04, 3. Frederic Tranchand 10-08, 4. Jonny Crickmore 10-21, 5. Toby Scott 10-37. Cameron de L’Isle mp.
Overall this first knock-out sprint and WOC trial was a great success. Congratulations are due to all the finalists who made it through a gruelling day. Certainly, the experience shows that success in this format requires not just the usual sprint orienteering skills but also both the ability to run tactically and to survive four hard races in a single day.
A great deal of thanks is due to Orienteering Taranaki and especially Nick Collins and Annie Sanderson for facilitating the knock-out sprint amid the effort of organizing an entire weekend of orienteering. Thanks also to all the overseas entrants who helped make the field big enough that the IOF format could be used in full.
The second day of LMS saw the arrival of Tim Robertson on an early morning international flight into Auckland and then on to New Plymouth. Not to be discouraged by jetlag, Tim duly won both the two sprints held in the lovely setting of Pukekura Park, ahead of Chris Smithard and a joint 3rd place between Aston Key and Dante Afnan in the first, and Peter Hodkinson and Aston in the afternoon race. Lizzie, after the frustration of the previous evening was a clear winner in both the women’s races, with Emma Bjessmo 2nd in both and Tara Melhuish and Laura Robertson filling 3rd in the morning and afternoon respectively.
LMS3 M21E 1. Tim Robertson (HV) 15-09, 2. Chris Smithard 15-32, 3=. Aston Key 15-51, 3=. Dante Affnan 15-31, 5. Peter Hodkinson 15-54, 6. Cameron de L’Isle 16-19.
LMS3 W21E 1. Lizzie Ingham 15-06, 2. Emma Bjessmo (SWE) 16-03, 3. Tara Melhuish 16-46, 4. Laura Robertson 17-16, 5. Evellina Hirvonen 17-22, 6. Lara Molloy 17-29.
LNS4 M21E 1.Tim Robertson 14-39, 2. Peter Hodkinson 15-25, 3. Aston Key 15-30, 4. Chris Smithard 15-55, 5. Frederic Tranchard 16-02, 6=. Fryderyk Pryjma 16-07, 6=. Toby Scott 16-07.
LMS4 W21E 1. Lizzie Ingham (WN)14-09, 2. Emma Bjessmo 14-59, 3. Laura Robertson (HV) 15-14, 4. Evellina Hirvonen (FIN) 15-45 5. Elin Erne 16-05, 6. Natasha Key 16-09.
The highly successful Lonely Mountain weekend finished on the Monday with a wonderfully entertaining and competitive 2-person mixed relay. This was won by Tim and Emma ahead of Peter Hodkinson and Krystal Neumann, with Chris Smithard and Lizzie in 3rd.
1.Tim Robertson/Emma Bjessmo 24-58, 2. Peter Hodkinson/Krystal Neumann 25-32, 3. Chris Smithard/Lizzie Ingham 25-35, 4. Jesse Laukkarinen/Evellina Hirvonen 26-03, 5. Aston Key/Natasha Key 26-35, 6. Fryderyk Pryjma/Elin Erne 27-08.
Map choice – the new challenge
As is detailed above, the semi-finals of the knock-out sprint used the map choice option of splitting competitors. In this, on the start line each athlete was given 20 seconds to choose between Options A, B or C as shown on the map below. Only the start control of the split (marked by a triangle), the split control, and the finish of the split are shown. Although of the 36 semi-finalists, nearly two-thirds chose A, the best option is not necessarily so clear-cut. Both A and B end with a steep climb through rough open, while C, though longer, has a more gradual, and lesser climb.
The able below shows the extreme, and average (with standard deviation) times taken by both men and women on the three options. Although at first sight it seems apparent that Option A was the fastest, other factors are evident. Four of the fastest 5 times on A for the men were in semi-final 2 where, in fact, 5 of the 6 athletes chose this option and thus ended up racing each other through it. Similarly, in men’s semi-final 1, 4 of the athletes chose Option C and, again, presumably were racing each other. In the women’s semi-finals it was only in semi-final 3 that a significant majority (5 out of 6) chose the same option (A).
|A||10||2-20||3-27||2-43 ± 0-20||11||2-58||3-40||3-22 ± 0-11|
|B||3||2-49||3-02||2-55 ± 0-06||3||3-31||3-46||3-40 ± 0-08|
|C||5||2-32||2-55||2-38 ± 0-09||4||3-09||3-31||3-23 ± 0-09|
As was discussed at the Under 23 Camp in December all this probably helps to illustrate that route choice, or rather the best route, is very much a personal thing. The strong athlete will not be phased by the steep climb (in this case at the ends of Options A and B) whereas the faster runner may seek the less steep but longer option (C in this case). However, it also emphasises the need to be able to make rapid and accurate route choice decisions, something which in a sprint setting typically needs to be done in 2-3 seconds at most rather than in the 20 seconds given here.
Of course, the choices used at LMS are probably not typical of what is likely to be given in a WOC knock-out sprint where the choices will most likely be in a more urban setting. For example, try the one below which was set as part of a training exercise done by a group of elites after the finish of the LMS series.
What is apparent is that pre-WOC 2020 there will need to be an emphasis on dealing with this kind of situation.
IOF is inviting applications for the 2020 O-Ringen Academy to be held in Uppsala from 17-26 July. The academy is aimed at helping young people to both improve their own orienteering and to help to develop, or become more fully involved in, orienteering in their home country. The Bulletin for the Academy can be found at https://orienteering.sport/iof/global-development/globaldevelopmentandexchange/o-ringen-academy/ and there are a number of scholarships available with information at https://orienteering.sport/iof/global-development/globaldevelopmentandexchange/o-ringen-academy/ .
IOF Fair Play Survey
IOF are also conducting a survey into fair play in orienteering. It takes only about 5 minutes to complete and can be found here https://hlwl.typeform.com/to/mtSA0v?src=feds .
JWOC/WUOC Trials – 21/22 March
As detailed in December the primary JWOC/WUOC trials on 21/22 March will be on newly mapped areas in the north of Woodhill Forest. These races will aslo be the second round of the National-O League. Course planner Gene Beveridge rates the terrain as some of the most variety and best he has come across in New Zealand. Again, as stated earlier, both races will have starts for triallists from 9.30 am so out of towners will need to be in Auckland on Friday evening. Don’t miss it by being late.
Self-nominations for consideration for selection are due with Al Cory-wright by 1 February (possibly with a few days grace).
Wellington Regional Camp 18-20 January
The 2020 Wellington Regional Camp took place the weekend before LMS and was based in Masterton in most un-Wairaraoa like weather. Saturday and Sunday were spent on the Glenlean/Mingmingi map and it was most unusual to see low mist and light drizzle hovering around the tops of the rocky tors. Attendees were largely from the Wellington area although there was also a small Christchurch contingent keen for any extra training.
Saturday’s start was somewhat delayed by various participants being held up by road closures associated with the NZ Cycle Classic, but concentrated on route choice on the farmland part of Glenlean, across the bushy gullies and around the rocky hills. Sunday moved into the highly technical forest of Mingimingi for, first, a verbalization exercise done in pairs. This was followed by a middle distance course over the same terrain before the day finished back on the farmland with a mass start race around the rocky bits.
Both Saturday and Sunday utilized tracking as a training tool and finished with an evening session discussing the excersises and how people had gone about them.
With half an eye on LMS Monday was dedicated to sprint training. This started with a route choice corridor exercise on Rathkeale. This was followed by three short courses with loops done in pairs to simulate racing in the forthcoming KO sprint. The whole shebang then moved to Hadlow Preparatory School for a sprint course.
Thanks to Paul Teesdale-Spittle for his impeccable organization of food and accommodation as well as leading the training of the junior attendees.
HP Camps 2020
Matt Ogden has, so far, about 15 expressions of interest for the Nelson camp from February 21-23. There is still a link (https://forms.gle/mJ78cP1NWhhocPiL8) for others to express interest.
Information on what is planned for the camp between the ONZ Championships and the final WOC Trials on 18/19 April will be available in February.