After the drought, the flood. So it was in November with all 3 regional championships in a space of 4 weeks. There was also some interesting information coming out from IOF regarding the prospects and intentions for WOC/JWOC2021, as well as the positive impact of the WREs held at the ONZ Champs. Also, below, the new National Squads for 2021 and the wrap-up of the Covid-impacted O League for 2021.
WRE and the ONZ Championships
A perennial question has been the worth of holding World Ranking Events in New Zealand given the apparent extra work that is required in doing so. The main argument for such events has been the impact that a good ranking has on start positions at both WOC and in World Cup races where having higher ranked athletes around you can have a very beneficial effect on performance. However, the majority of domestic athletes do not compete overseas often enough to have ranking points from enough (5) events to achieve decent rankings, especially with a time limit on how longer any individual event can be counted. Holding two such events at the ONZ Champs has clearly shown the benefit of this to New Zealand athletes.
Following the ONZ Champs the rankings of all those who competed have improved dramatically. With a win in the long distance and a close second in the middle Matt Ogden, for example, has moved up 273 places to 174th. The points gained by Joseph Lynch, who took the middle and was a close second in the long, has moved him up a phenomenal 562 places, while Cameron de L’Isle moved up exactly the same number of spots as Matt. Biggest movers in the women were Greta Knarston (up 227 places) and Lara Molloy, who after rising to 181st is now our second highest ranked woman. Even Lizzie Ingham, who was already ranked 57th, has reaped the benefit of domestic WRE and moved up to 39th in the world.
These moves are essentially independent of the impact of Covid-19. Whilst WRE elsewhere in the world have been restricted, although there have been events in major nations such as Finland and Switzerland, the movement of the NZL athletes is generally the result of now having 4 or 5 counting events rather than only 2 or 3. Whether NZL athletes will be able to reap the benefit of these changes at World Cups and WOC in 2021 is still an unanswered question, but more about that below.
Held two weeks after the ONZ Champs, the newly re-named Northern Champs (AKA the Auckland Champs) presented a mixture of terrain to a field which, as was the case for all the regional championships) was relatively small and mostly local.
Proceedings started with a sprint at Wesley College just to the north of Pukekohe. The complex of school buildings is sufficiently dense and irregular to provide a good challenge, however, the triple crossing of the playfields below made the majority of courses on the long side. In M21E Cameron de L’Isle produced the first of what as to be three wins over the weekend, as did Lizzie Ingham in W21E. University and approaching school exams largely decimated the 20 fields where Cameron Bonar and Kaia Joergensen took the wins.
M21E (3.84k): 1. Cameron de L’Isle (NW) 16:32, 2. Jonty Oram (AK) 17:53, 3. Scott McDonald (HB) 19:01.
W21E (3.28k): 1. Lizzie Ingham (TK) 18:33, 2. Amelia Horne (RK) 21:06, 3. Renee Beveridge (NW) 21:46.
M20 (3.84k): 1. Cameron Bonar (NW) 18:04, 2. Liam Stolberger (NW) 19:12
W20 (3.28k): 1. Kaia Joergensen (PP) 19:53, 2. Zara Stewart (AK) 21:40, 3. Emily Hayes (AK) 22:58.
The afternoon middle distance provided the highlight of the weekend on the lovely high open dunes and small intricate forest that make up Kohekohe. In M21E Cameron Tier took 2nd behind the other Cameron, holding out Jonty by 8 seconds, whilst in the women 1-2-3 was exactly the same as in the ONZ Champs long distance, with Lara getting within a minute of Lizzie on this occasion.
M21E (5.26k): 1. Cameron de L’Isle 31:44, 2. Cameron Tier (NW) 37:11, 3. Jonty Oram 37:19.
W21E (4.45k): 1. Lizzie Ingham 35:53, 2. Lara Molloy (WN) 36:38, 3. Greta Knarston (CM) 39:33.
W20E (4.20k): 1. Kaia Joergensen 37:37, 2. Zara Stewart 41:24, 3. Emily Hayes 51:47.
Sunday’s long distance, in contrast, proved a bit of a slog as the vegetation on Plantation had gone somewhat wild meaning that, with tracks and fences overgrown, the only effective navigation was on the contours. Despite these being accurate there were a few places where the density of vegetation meant survival was paramount over navigation! Perhaps not surprisingly, times were long and margins were larger than normal.
M21E (8.48k): 1. Cameron de L’Isle 1:36:14, 2. Jonty Oram 2:07:48, 3. Jake Hanson (WN) 2:39:22.
W21E (5.94k): 1. Lizzie Ingham 1:22:21, 2. Greta Knarston 1:25:34, 3. Lara Molloy 1:45:01.
M20E (5.94k): 1. Daniel Monckton (NW) 1:22:04, 2. Liam Stolberger 1:31:05, 3. Michael McCormack (AK) 2:08:48.
W20E (3.28k): 1. Kaia Joergensen 1:22:18.
As at the Northern Champs the Southern Champs produced a varied experience for the predominantly South Island entry. Saturday’s long distance was on Acheron, a lovely area of mainly wilding pines with generally good runnability but very variable visibility and with a large flat area in which the main features are small clearings and frost pans – mapped differently but on the ground looking like…. clearings! It was this area of the map that caused a lot of problems for those on the longest courses. At the end f a long leg across the flat many good orienteers dropped up to 30-45 minutes on a single control in a clearing. As a consequence the results were somewhat distorted, although Chris Forne and Sara Prince appeared to have no problems in winning the 21E classes, while the top 3 in M20E similarly had little trouble.
M21E (10.65k): 1. Chris Forne (PP) 1:24:19, 2. Aaron Prince (PP) 1:34:13, 3. Tane Cambridge (PP) 1:53:41.
W21E (8.18k): 1. Sara Prince (PP) 1:20:27, 2. Katie Symons (PP) 2:01:51, 3. Becky Gray 2:18:44.
M20E (8.18k): 1. Felix Hunt (PP) 1:17:18, 2. Ryan Moore (PP) 1:19:13, 3. Dougal Shepherd (PP) 1:35:19.
W20E (6.45k): 1. Kaia Joergensen (PP) 1:23:25, 2. Jessie Fa’ave (NL) 1:54:18.
The middle distance was back in Christchurch on the remapped sand-dune terrain of Kairaki, an area with very irregular formations of hills and a maze of tracks, both distinct and indistinct. On a very hot day few classes had winning times close to 35 minutes, with most struggling to be under 50. In W21E, after a disaster on Acheron, Briana Steven took out her first senior title, although Kaia Joergensen, continuing her impressive run of almost all the national and regional titles, was marginally faster on the course. Southern O Week in January will give a wider audience the opportunity to test themselves in this fascinating terrain.
M21E (5.58k): 1. Tane Cambridge 50:09, 2. Chris Forne 52:20, 3. Oliver Egan (PP) 53:16.
W21E (4.48k): 1. Briana Steven (PP) 57:46, 2. Sara Prince 58:52, 3. Jodie Fa’ave (NL) 1:16:43.
M20E (5.58k): 1. Zefa Fa’ave (NL) 54:25, 2. Felix Hunt (PP) 55:18, 3. Dougal Shepherd 58:47.
W20 (4.48k): 1. Kaia Joergensen 56:31, 2. Jessie Fa’ave 1:25:57, 3. Isabella Zinzan Dickie (PP) 1:27:58.
Pokapu (Central) Champs
The round of regional championships finished with the Central Champs on the final weekend of November. As with the Northern and Southern Champs fields were largely local. The middle distance enjoyed a completely new area at Foxton Beach comprising primarily high open dunes with areas of bare sand, but also an interesting fringe of forest. Stuart Engleback, like Briana Steven at the Southern Champs, won his first M21 title, but, also like Briana saw the fastest time on the course go to a junior athlete, in this case Will Tidswell who was nearly 2 minutes faster. Jenna Tidswell made it a family double in the 20’s by holding out Kaia Joergensen who made a rare error in the dunes, while Lizzie Ingham was untroubled in winning W21E.
M21E (4.98k): 1. Stuart Engleback (WN) 55:51, 2. Karl Dravitzki (TK) 56:58, 3. Jonty Oram (AK) 57:00.
W21E (4.01k): 1. Lizzie Ingham (TK) 37:25, 2. Amelia Horne (RK) 45:39, 3. Lara Molloy (WN) 46:07.
M20E (4.98k): 1. Will Tidswell (HB) 54:07.
W20 (4.01k): 1. Jenna Tidswell (HB) 48:20, 2. Kaia Joergensen (PP) 53:39.
Kyle Higham’s long distance courses were on a re-mapped Hydrabad which included a small westward extension into the complex vegetation adjacent to the coastal dunes, as well as a myriad of logging tracks marked as narrow rough open strips. As well as Will and Jenna, Carsten Joergensen stepped up to the 21E class for this and experience nd strength showed as he had a seven minute winning margin over Jonty Oram. Will, in possibly his first M21E outing, was a commendable 3rd, as was Jenna in W21E behind Lizzie and Lara Molloy.
M21E (13.85k): 1. Carsten Joergensen (PP) 1:51:12, 2. Jonty Oram 1:58:24, 3. Will Tidswell 2:00:04.
W21E (9.02k): 1. Lizzie Ingham 1:18:54, 2. Lara Molloy 1:30:44, 3. Jenna Tidswell 1:33:30.
W20 (6.50k): 1. Kaia Joergensen 1:01:54.
2020 National O League
The National O League was originally conceived to run from January through June to give serious competition for those bound overseas for WOC and JWOC. Obviously Covid-19 wreaked havoc with that timetabling in 2020. The extension through until the end of November to accommodate the rearranged ONZ Champs as well as the three regional championships certainly reduced the buy-in and impact for many, particularly the junior elite grades for whom the season extended into exam preparation and sitting time.
Notwithstanding this some classes had clear winners who would probably have prevailed even had the season run to its normal programme. Others less so. In W21E Lizzie Ingham achieved maximum points, winning every race except the knock-out sprint final. Kaia Jopergensen was also near the maximum 800 in W20E, but Penelope Salmon in the runner-up position had half that total from only 4 races. A fascinating duel that never really eventuated. Similarly, in winning M21E, Cameron de l’Isle might well have had a harder task has Joseph Lynch and Matt Ogden carried their ONZ Champs duel through to the regional Champs. In M0E, where the top 4 all ran only 5 races, Will Tidswell was comfortably clear.
So, congratulations to Cameron, Lizzie, Will and Kaia. Hopefully a medal presentation can be organized for early in 2021. Listed below are the top 6 in each class, showing total points (best 8 out of a total of 11 races) and, in brackets, the number of races actually counting for each individual.
M21E 1. Cameron de L’Isle (7) 486. 2. Joseph Lynch (5) 460, 3. Jonty Oram (8) 449, 4. Matt Ogden (4) 360, 5. Tane Cambridge (6) 308, 6. Scott Macdonald (7) 285.
W21E 1. Lizzie Ingham (8) 800, 2. Lara Molloy (8) 520, 3. Amelia Horne (7) 337, 4. Sara Prince (5) 280, 5. Greta Knarston (5) 268, 6. Kaia Joergensen (4) 223.
M20E 1. Will Tidswell (5) 480, 2. Cameron Bonar (5) 335, 3. Ryan Moore (5) 330, 4. Ronan Lee (5) 320, 6. Liam Stolberger (3) 220, 6. Felix Hunt (2) 180.
W20E 1. Kaia Joergensen (8) 760, 2. Penelope Salmon (4) 400, 3. Emily Hayes (6) 266, 4. Marisol Hunter (5) 237, 5. Tessa Burns (4) 215, 6. Zara Stewart (3) 205.
National Squads 2021
The naming the National Squads have several criteria which have time limits on them. For example, being selected for WOC or JWOC in the last 2 years and consideration of international performances over the last 3 years. Given the lack of all of these things in 2020 it has been decided to extend the time periods for these criteria for another year. Thus, the only changes to the Senior and Under 23 Squads are the addition of a small number of athletes following their performances at the ONZ Championships. Hence, welcome to Thomas Reynolds into the Senior Forest Squad, Joseph Lynch for promotion from the Under 23 Squad to the Senior Forest Squad, and to Ronan Lee and Penelope Salmon for joining the Under 23 Squad. The full list is (bold – elite member – World Cup entry fees paid by ONZ):
Senior Sprint Squad: Cameron de L’Isle, Tommy Hayes, Matt Ogden, Tm Robertson, Toby Scott, Lizzie Ingham, Laura Robertson, Imogene Scott.
Senior Forest Squad: Gene Beveridge, Nick Hann, Tommy Hayes, Cameron de L’Isle, Joseph Lynch, Matt Ogden, Thomas Reynolds, Tim Robertson, Toby Scott, Nick Smith, Renee Beveridge, Lizzie Ingham, Greta Knarston, Lara Molloy, Kate Morrison, Laura Robertson, Imogene Scott
Under 23 Squad: Ed Cory-Wright, Max Griffiths, Callum Hill, Ronan Lee, Daniel Monckton, Kurtis Shuker, Will Tidswell, Tessa Burns, Marina Comeskey, Katie Cory-Wright, Meghan Drew, Marisol Hunter, Kaia Joergensen, Tegan Knightbridge, Penelope Salmon, Georgia Skelton, Briana Steven, Jenna Tidswell
The latest from IOF
The latest IOF Council meeting has discussed criteria regarding whether WOC and JWOC20201, assuming they take place, can be considered as qualifying as global major events. The proposals for this are somewhat different for the two events.
It is suggested that WOC2021 in Czech Republic will go ahead as a “true” World Championships if either 4 of the top 6 or 6 of the top10 ranked nations are able to compete. Being able to compete in this context means competitors are able to travel and enter the host country. The ability to return home, or restrictions on doing so, are not taken into account. Clearly, once again, this is a very Eurocentric criterion. There are no such limitations on JWOC2021 in Turkey – this will be considered as a full JWOC irrespective of the make-up of competing nations.
As the General manager has written (https://www.orienteering.org.nz/iof/covid-19-is-disrupting-nzs-chance-to-compete-at-events/) from the point of view of New Zealand these decisions have significant ramifications. It is highly unlikely that by June/July 2021 Covid vaccines will be widely available in this part of the world and, therefore, it has to be assumed that border restrictions will still apply i.e. returning athletes will be subject to 14 days of managed isolation. Furthermore, present policy seems to dictate that managed isolation will have to be paid for by any individual who chooses to go overseas for a short period. Thus, New Zealand JWOC/WOC athletes may well be liable, if they choose to travel, for up to $4-5000 of additional cost. This is without considering the fact that there is the potential lack of being unable to acquire travel insurance.
ONZ is currently considering, as far as is possible from this distance, the implications of this for NZL teams to these events. This will include a questionnaire to elite and junior elite athletes regarding intentions to be available for selection in the event of different sets of circumstances. However, at this stage it seems unlikely that there will be what we in New Zealand might consider to be “true” WOC and JWOCs until 2022 at the soonest. Watch this space….