April was always going to be dominated by the ONZ Championships and these turned out to be exceptional in both organization and the racing on offer. The hardy and keen also enjoyed to further days of top sprint racing in Nelson and Blenheim as part of the National Sprint League. Now that the dust has settled and the teams for JWOC and WOC have been named, sit back, relax and read all about it.
ONZ Champs 2022
The 2022 ONZ Championships put on by Nelson OC provided 4 days of technical and physical challenges ranging from the complex buildings and walkways of Nelson College, through the limestone sinkholes and rocks of Canaan Downs, to the sand-dunes of Rabbit Island.
The sprint on Good Friday was held on very varied terrain with most having the first few controls in a small but varied patch of woodland which not only include a reasonable amount of climb to get the blood pounding, but set up a long leg across the college which was a feature of many of the courses. Thus far in M21E, and indeed for the last two years, Joseph Lynch has dominated domestic sprint racing and the 2022 ONZ Championships gave him his 3rd consecutive title. It was not all plain sailing however, as Tommy Hayes held the lead through the first loop, but after the arena passage Joseph pulled level and then gradually pulled away to record victory by just over half a minute. For Tommy this was his first serious race of the year after being on rural medical duty in Taumaranui for the last several months and he had a 17 second margin over Gene Beveridge in 3rd. With the three individual races being World Ranking Events the 20E classes were on the same course as 21Es for the sprint and middle distances and the M20E title went to Felix Hunt with the 4th fastest time of the day about 80 seconds slower than Joseph. Unusually there were ties for both 2nd and 4th in this class with Nathan Borton and Ryan Moore sharing the silver medal place on the podium.
Like Joseph in the men, Lizzie Ingham, notwithstanding a loss to Penelope Salmon in the NSL in early March, has dominated women’s sprint racing since returning from Norway in late 2019. With Penelope absent due to Covid, Lizzie’s main challenges were most likely to come from Imogene Scott and Amber Morrison. In the event early mistakes by Imogene meant that Lizzie caught her early and the two were more or less together for the rest of the race, although Lizzie had to recover from a 180 leaving control 11, where Amber also made a mistake. Imogene’s early problems were sufficient to let Georgia Whitla in for 3rd behind Lizzie and Amber. In W20E Zara Stewart took out the title in a time that would have placed her 6th in the 21 field. Tessa Burns and Katherine Babington filled 2nd and 3rd positions on the podium.
M21E: 1. Joseph Lynch (PP) 14:59, 2. Tommy Hayes (AK) 15:31, 3. Gene Beveridge (NW) 15:48, 4. Duncan Morrison (AK) 16:22, 5. Ronan Lee (HB) 16:51, 6. Chris Forne (PP) 17:39.
W21E: 1. Lizzie Ingham (TK) 17:02, 2. Amber Morrison (HB) 17:53, 3. Georgia Whitla (NL) 17:57, 4. Imogene Scott (AK) 18:01, 5. Briana Steven (PP) 18:29, 6. Amber Riddle (DN) 18:35.
M20E: 1. Felix Hunt (PP) 16:20, 2=. Nathan Borton (AK) 16:55, 2=. Ryan Moore (PP) 16:55, 4=. Fergus O’Neill (PP) 16:58, 4=. Cameron Bonar (NW) 16:58, 6. Zefa Fa’avae (NL) 17:30.
W20E: 1. Zara Stewart (AK) 18:38, 2. Tessa Burns (HB) 18:56, 3. Katherine Babington (PP) 19:07, 4. Sylvie Frater (AK) 19:36, 5. Molly McGowan (AK) 19:50, 6. Emily Hayes (AK) 19:56.
The middle distance on Saturday provided a mix of open terrain dotted with numerous large (and small) depressions and a southern extension of a relatively large area of beech forest on a moderately steep slope incorporating the same range of features but with much reduced visibility.
In M21E Gene took out his first ONZ title for a number of years with a run marred by only two minor errors. He might well have been run very close by Joseph had not the latter mis-punched at control 17 after misreading the large-re-entrants and stream bends on the approach to the control. In the technical and physical terrain it was the steady experience of Chris Forne who came through for 2nd, with Brent Edwards taking a clear 3rd. However, perhaps the run of the day on this course came from Zefa Fa’avae who posted a time faster than Chris in winning M20E by over 5 minutes with Felix in 2nd place, backing up his win in the sprint, and Alex Jobbins getting up into 3rd ahead of a few of the more fancied runners.
Even allowing for a small time loss at control 5 W21E turned out to be a progression from start to finish for Lizzie. Her sub-30 minute winning time was exceptional and 4 and a half minutes ahead of Imogene in 2nd. Imogene was only 20 seconds ahead of Briana Steven in 3rd. In winning W20E Rachel Baker suggested that she has inherited er mother’s abilities while Katherine Babington produced another good performance to take 2nd about 2 minutes back ahead of sprint winner Zara.
M21E: 1. Gene Beveridge 31:57, 2. Chris Forne 33:46, 3. Brent Edwards (NL) 37:50, 4. Jonty Oram (AK) 39:00, 5. Nick Smith (PP) 40:39, 6. Duncan Morrison 42:01.
W21E: 1. Lizzie Ingham 29:43, 2. Imogene Scott 34:06, 3. Briana Steven 34:26, 4. Georgia Whitla 36:09, 5. Amber Morrison 36:28, 6. Kirsty Coombs (NL) 37:34.
M20E: 1. Zefa Fa’avae 33:33, 2. Felix Hunt 38:38, 3. Alex Jobbins 39:11, 4. Ryan Moore 41:38, 5. Oliver Edwards (HV) 42:36, 6. Fergus O’Neill 44:45.
W20E: 1. Rachel Baker (WN) 39:09, 18:38, 2. Katherine Babington 41:09, 3. Zara Stewart 42:12, 4. Emily Hayes 42:26, 5. Molly McGowan 44:36, 6. Tessa Burns 45:06.
The long distance served up much more of the same with courses starting in an open area filled with deep depressions before entering the beech forest above the track down to Harwoods Hole. The elite courses, both 21s and 20s then exited the bush with long legs back out to the open before re-entering the beech for a second round. It was in the bush that most of the mistakes occurred that would determine the outcome of the races – once contact was lost identifying which depression was which became very difficult. There were no such problems for Joseph though who, recovering from his middle distance mis-punch, had an absolutely storming run to take out M21E by a full 10 minutes from Gene with Chris dropping to 3rd. It was a similar story in W21E although Lizzie’s margin over Imogene was only 5 minutes. Briana, despite dropping 4minutes in the first 3 controls, had enough to beat out Amelia Horne for 3rd. The M20E title again went to Zefa, pushed hard by Felix who of the top 4 was the only one not to drop time on the early bush controls. After suffering at the March JWOC trials, post-Covid infection, Tessa Burns came good to win W20E just over a minute ahead of Rachel, with Zara rounding off a good weekend in 3rd.
M21E: 1. Joseph Lynch 1:21:15, 2. Gene Beveridge 1:31:13, 3. Chris Forne 1:32:22, 4. Duncan Morrison 1:36:41, 5. Tommy Hayes 1:40:59, 6. Nick Smith 1:41:49.
W21E: 1. Lizzie Ingham 1:10:15, 2. Imogene Scott 1:15:46, 3. Briana Steven 1:23:11, 4. Amelia Horne (RK) 1:25:08, 5. Amber Morrison 1:29:30, 6. Heidi Stolberger (NW) 1:30:46.
M20E: 1. Zefa Fa’avae 1:12:40, 2. Felix Hunt 1:14:58, 3. Fergus O’Neill 1:16:50, 4. Cameron Bonar 1:17:12, 5. Ryan Moore 1:21:56, 6. Alex Jobbins 1:22:50.
W20E: 1. Tessa Burns 1:07:47, 2. Rachel Baker 1:09:05, 3. Zara Stewart 1:11:26, 4. Emily Hayes 1:12:41, 5. Katherine Babington 1:16:30, 6. Molly McGowan 1:18:30.
With the individual races over the scene moved to Rabbit Island for the relay. Nelson, as defending champions were weakened by the fact that they were on organizational duty, while both PAPO and Auckland had Covid-related absences. The first leg saw two PAPO teams, led by Chris and Aryton Shadbolt, and Brent for Nelson all within 3 seconds of each other. Georgia, running the second leg for the home club, then took them into a nearly 2-minute lead over chasing Briana and Phoebe Hunt for the Christchurch teams. At this stage two more PAPO teams and North West were a further 4 minutes back. With Joseph on the last leg for PAPO 1 it was always ging to be a hard ask for Zefa to hold the lead for Nelson and that proved to be the case, although he probably didn’t count on a charging Gene to take away 2nd place for North West.
1. PP1 (Chris Forne, Briana Steven, Joseph Lynch) 1:37:04, 2. NW1 (Cameron Bonar, Heidi Sto;berger, Gene Beveridge) 1:43:19, 3. NL1 (Brent Edwards, Georgia Whitla, Zefa Fa’avae) 1:43:28, 4. PP2 (Felix Hunt, Katherine Babington, Ryan Moore) 1:45:43, 5. NL2 (Callum Hill, Amelia Horne, Riley Croxford) 1:54:02, 6. AK2 (Nathan Borton, Zara Stewart, Alex Jobbins) 1:54:58.
So a very successful national championships came to an end. Thanks must go to all the Nelson volunteers who helped over the 4 days, but especially to Matt Ogden, Michael Croxford and Nathan and Jodie Fa’avae who were all crucial to making it happen. Roll-on Hawke’s Bay in 2023.
The middle and long distance races at the ONZ champs formed the third round of the National O League, and with two rounds to go – Queen’s Birthday and Matariki Weekend – the pecking order is becoming clearer. With these two multi-race weekends to go the total number of races will be 13 and the best 8 results will count, although absences through JWOC and WOC may ultimately play a part.
This is particularly so in M21 where Gene Beveridge currently leads with 561.5 points from 6 races. Four of the next 7 are in fact M20’s with Will Tidswell, who missed the ONZ Champs in second with 402.9 from 5 races. Joseph Lynch in third, with 3 wins out of 4 scores would possibly be favourite but will almost certainly miss the remainder of the races as he heads to Europe. Perhaps the dark horse at this stage, although not a surprise, is Matt Ogden, currently back in 11th place but with only 3 scores counting.
M21: 1. Gene Beveridge 561.5 (6 scores), 2. Will Tidswell 402.9 (5), 3. Joseph Lynch 387.9 (3), 4. Zefa Fa’avae 372.9 (4), 5. Chris Forne 356.9 (4), 6. Ryan Moore 344.3 (4).
In W21 Imogene Scott leads with 647.5 from 7 races, about 120 points ahead of Briana Steven who has one less counting score. However, it is difficult to look past Lizzie Ingham who has a perfect 500 from her 5 races and will almost certainly contest Queen’s Birthday.
W21: 1. Imogene Scott 647.5 (7), 2. Briana Steven 521.6 (6), 3. Lizzie Ingham 500.0 (5), 4. Kaia Joergensen 361.2 (4), 5. Tessa Ramsden 351.4 (5), 6. Heidi Stolberger 343.6 (5).
The junior classes are marked by generally higher scores as the 20’s have the March JWOC trials, which were missed by most of the seniors, counting. In M20 Zefa leads from Ryan Moore and Fergus O’Neill, while in W20 Zara Stewart, Katherine Babington and Molly McGowan head the field.
M17-20: 1. Zefa Fa’avae 687.9 (7), 2. Ryan Moore 623.1 (7), 3. Fergus O’Neill 590.6 (7), 4. Oliver Edwards 509.6 (7), 5. Riley Croxford 460.5 (6), 6. Ollie Bixley 436.9 (6).
W17-20: 1. Zara Stewart 658.6 (7), 2. Katherine Babington 635.6 (7), 3. Molly McGowan 596.9 (7), 4. Anya Murray 566.4 (7), 5. Emily Hayes 524.7 (6), 6. Anna Cory-Wright 513.8 (7).
Full tables can be found at https://www.orienteering.org.nz/national-orienteering-league/ .
National Sprint League Round 2
The two days following the culmination of the ONZ Champs saw the next round of the National Sprint League. This consisted of a sprint relay based at Waimea College in Richmond followed by a hotly contested knock-out sprint in Blenheim.
Matt Bixley’s sprint relay courses produced an intense competition between the top teams from Southerly Storm and Central Magic. The first few controls were amid the buildings of Henley Primary School before heading across the fields to the College, returning back into Henley with an excellent spectator leg before the final few controls. All with enough splits to ensure that following was not an option. With 11 full open teams joined by 6 masters teams the start provided a great spectacle in its own right.
The first leg saw Imogene Scott take the lead for Central Magic 1 over the three juniors of Zara Stewart (Northern Knights 1), Anna Babington (Southerly Storm 3) and Kate Borton (Northern Knights 4). At this stage Storm 1 were well back in 8th place but this changed dramatically as Matt Ogden took over from Briana Steven and charged through the field. Coupled with Gene Beveridge hitting problems this led to Storm heading the field at the end of leg 2 but with the first 5 teams all within 19 seconds. With Joseph lynch on the 3rd leg and Georgia Whitla lining up for the anchor leg, victory for Storm looked certain. A gutsy 3rd leg from Nicholas Green for Magic 1 saw Joseph sent Georgia off with a lead of 80 seconds on Lizzie Ingham, with Jonty Oram sending Molly McGowan (Knights 1) only 1 second further back. Despite pulling back all but 9 seconds, and being in the finish chute at the same time, lizzie could not overhaul Georgia and victory did indeed go to the Storm. Molly comfortably held out Phoebe Hunt to take 3rd for the Northerners.
1. Southerly Storm 1 (Briana Steven, Matt Ogden, Joseph Lynch, Georgia Whitla) 49:42, 2. Central Magic 1 (Imogene Scott, Gene Beveridge, Nicholas Green, Lizzie Ingham) 49:51, 3. Northern Knights 1 (Zara Stewart, Ronan Lee, Jonty Oram, Molly McGowan) 51:21, 4. Southerly Storm 2 (Katherine Babington, Nathan Borton, Cameron Bonar, Phoebe Hunt) 52:34, 5. Southerly Storm 3 (Anna Babington, Felix Hunt, Fergus O’Neill, Juliet Freeman) 52:45, 6. Southerly Storm 5 (Daniel Vickers, Tane Cambridge, Brent Edwards, Patrick Higgins) 55:09
And so the scene moved to Blenheim for the final act of 6 days of racing. The women’s field for the knock-out looked somewhat diminished by the absence of the winners of the last two such events, Kaia Joergensen and Penelope Salmon, but the late entry of Georgia and the performances of Zara, Molly, Kate and the two Babingtons meant it was never going to be straightforward for the favourites. With Matt, Joseph, Gene, Ronan Lee and Felix Hunt, the mens’ field was enticing.
The quarter-finals were based entirely in Marlborough Girls College and used butterfly loops to split the field. With the top 3 in each of 6 men’s races and 5 women’s to qualify the only major surprises were the mis-punches of both Felix and Phoebe, relegating to last in the races. The semis also used the Girls College but only for the final few controls, with a remote start seeing the splitting loops, using multiple controls which were visited twice, being in the adjacent Bohally Intermediate. There were no real surprises in these, with only the top 2 in each semi progressing to the final, with perhaps the only slight eye-openers being Juliet Freeman claiming 2nd place in Women’s semi 1 and Tyler McCavitt doing likewise in Men’s semi 3. One notable absence though was Ronan who withdrew after feeling pain in his hip during his quarter-final.
The finals saw a move across town to Marlborough Boys College and the bordering St. Marys school and had A-E finals for the men and A- C finals for the women. With an eye on the knock-out sprint at WOC which seems to be suggesting a straight race, there was no splitting in the final’s course but sufficient route choice to give runners pause as to whether or not it was worth following the leader or trusting your own instinct. The first major choice was from control 3 o 4 which had the option of using the crossing point over the fence between the two schools or exiting St. Mary’s by the southern gate and using the road to reach the college. It was interesting to complete 3-3 splits in choice in some races, yet the entire field taking the same route in others. The second major planned route choice from 10 to 11 proved to be a non-event as no-one took the northern option which needed a turn out of 10 but led to a more direct approach into 11.
The minor finals, run first, produced some close races. Men’s C saw a sprint finish between Riley Croxford, Ollie Bixley and Eddie Swain with 3 seconds separating them in that order. The Women’s B final was just as close between Anna Babington, Alicia Mcgivern and Molly Mcgowan, Anna crossing the line 1 second ahead of Alicia only to discover she had mis-punched!
The Women’s A Final saw a cacophony of errors by Lizzie and Imogene. Lizzie led out of the grounds from 3 but turned right not left through the entrance to the college, going the long way round the building to 4, giving the lead to Imogene. Imogene held the lead back into St. Mary’s but then hit disaster as she mis-read the buildings from 14 to 15, not only opening the door for Lizzie, but also letting Zara and Kate through it into 2nd and 3rd. Such is the pressure of head-to-head racing that New Zealand athletes will experience at WOC.
The men’s A Final had all the appearance of a classic and it did not disappoint. Joseph and Matt both took the crossing point route from 3 to 4, leaving the rest of the field in their wake. Coming back over the wall to 11 Joseph held a marginal lead which he maintained right to the penultimate control from where Matt edged him out. Gene and Nathan Borton had an almost equally close tussle for 3rd with Gene coming out on top.
Men A Final: 1. Matt Ogden 6:46, 2. Joseph Lynch 6:48, 3. Gene Beveridge 7:27, 4. Nathan Borton 7:29, 5. Fergus O’Neill 8:00, 6. Tyler McCavitt 8:00.
Women A Final: 1. Lizzie Ingham 8:36, 2. Zara Stewart 8:49, 3. Kate Borton 8:51, 4. Imogene Scott 8:53, 5. Georgia Whitla 8:57, 6. Juliet Freeman 9:10.
Men B Final: 1. Cameron Bonar 7:55, 2. Tane Cambridge 8:00, 3. Simon Jager 8:08, 4. Nicholas Green 8:18, 5. Jonathan Green 9:55, Sam Carryer dns.
Women B Final: 1. Alicia McGivern 9:28, 2. Molly McGowan 9:35, 3. Phoebe Hunt 9:45, 4. Katherine Babington 9:52, 5. Briana Steven 11:57, Anna Babington mp.
Men C Final: 1. Riley Croxford 8:34, 2. Ollie Bixley 8:35, 3. Eddie Swain 8:37, 4. Daniel Penney 9:54, 5.Matthew Greenwood 9:54.
Women C Final: 1. Anja Murray 10:58, 2. Helen Howell 11:04, 3. Rebecca Greenwood 11:23, 4. Christine Freeman 12:08, 5. Zoe Karantzas 13:00, 6. Fleur Murray 14;25, 7.Sara Stewart 14:38.
With two rounds of the NSL now completed the points table is beginning to take shape. There have now been 4 individual sprints in which, as in the NOL, the winner gets 100 points and others a number points dependent on their time relative to the winners. There have also been two KO sprints for which the scoring, as outlined last month, is slightly different with runners in A Finals getting the higher of 100, 99, 98, 97, 96, 95 points according to placing or (100 * winners time/your time), in B Finals the higher of 94, 93, 93, 91, 90, 89 or (94 * winners time/your time) etc. With, ultimately, there being 6 individual sprints and the two KO sprints, an individual final score will be from their best 4 individual scores plus their best KO score.
Even at this stage Joseph Lynch has what is an unassailable score of the maximum 500 points. Gene Beveridge follows with 376.6, although a mis-punch in NSL1 means he only has 4 scores counting. With most of the other men having missed either Round 1 or Round 2 there is plenty of opportunity for movement further down.
Men: 1. Joseph Lynch 500.0 (4+1), 2. Gene Beveridge 376.6 (3+1), 3. Kurtis Shuker 364.9 (3+1), 4. Nathan Borton 353.8 (3+1), 5. Jonty Oram 344.8 (3+1), 6. Eddie Swain 313.4 (3+1).
What was looking like an intriguing competition between Penelope Salmon and Lizzie Ingham in the women has evaporated with Penelope’s absence from Round 2 due to Covid and the fact that she now travels overseas and will mass Round 3. As a result Penelope, having led after Round 1, has now dropped to 7th in the standings and Lizzie has a commanding lead which is unlikely to be overtaken. Zara Stewart has moved up to 2nd with Briana Steven in 3rd.
Women: 1. Lizzie Ingham 492.3 (4+1), 2. Zara Stewart 455.2 (4+1), 3. Briana Steven 437.2 (4+1), 4. Molly McGowan 421.5 (4+1), 5. Anja Murray 418.4 (4+1), 6. Tessa Ramsden 396.5 (4+1).
In the teams competition, with the larger entry for Round 2, the teams scores for that round have been calculated as the best 3 men’s scores in each race plus the best 3 women’s scores. In addition, points for the top 2 teams from each region in the sprint relay are included. Adding all this up shows that there is all to play for in Round 3 with Southerly Storm holding a lead of only 41.2 points over Northern Knights, Central Scorchers being a further 267 points behind. However, with entries so far indicating a low turnout from the south at Round 3, things may yet change.
1. Southerly Storm 3035.6, 2. Northern Knights 2994.4, 3. Central Scorchers 2727.5.
Full tables can be found at https://www.orienteering.org.nz/national-sprint-league/ .
JWOC and WOC teams announced
As posted on the ONZ website the teams for both JWOC and WOC have been announced signalling a return to international competition after a 2 year hiatus. The JWOC team has 8 of the 12 named athletes either from the South Island or studying there – surely some kind of record and recognition of the huge amount of training that has been delivered in the Christchurch area, especially by Canterbury University Orienteering Club.
Men: Cameron Bonar, Zefa Fa’avae, Felix Hunt, Ryan Moore, Fergus O’Neill, Will Tidswell
Women: Katherine Babington, Rachel Baker, Tessa Burns, Kaia Joergensen, Penelope Salmon, Zara Stewart
This will be the first time at this level for most of the team with only Kaia and Will previously attending JWOC. Nevertheless, there is some serious pedigree with offspring of two previous WOC gold medallists and a world adventure racing champion!
With 2022 seeing the first ever sprint-only WOC, the team which has been named is, by contrast, highly experienced. Led by sprint medallist Tim Robertson and Lizzie Ingham, a World Cup medallist and WOC top 10 in the sprint, as well as JWOC silver medallist Tommy Hayes, the team has the potential to produce NZL’s best ever series of WOC results.
Men: Gene Beveridge, Tommy Hayes, Joseph Lynch, Tim Robertson
Women: Lizzie Ingham, Laura Robertson, Penelope Salmon, Imogene Scott
With Tim and Lizzie having personal places in both the sprint and KO sprint due to being the top ranked sprint athletes in Oceania, all eight will start in both individual races.
With such a busy month in New Zealand it is sometimes easy to forget that orienteering is continuing overseas. The month began with the Antwerp sprint meet which, in WOC year, included a highly competitive and quality KO sprint. Tim Robertson was the only NZL representative and finished 11th in his heat (of 41 athletes), with apparently 16 qualifying for KO stages (compared to only 12 at WOC). With that behind him, Tim finished 3rd in his quarter-final before missing out on the final, finishing behind the two Swiss Mattyhias Kyburz and Joey Hadorn in his semi-final. In the individual elite sprint run alongside the KO, Toby Scott was 5th.
Easter weekend in the UK is the JK – the biggest event in the UK outside the national championships. Laura Robertson finished 4th in the women’s sprint, set by top British sprinter Megan Carter-Davis, and repeated this placing in the following day’s middle distance.
Also of more than passing interest to Kiwis was the Ko sprint held on the Gold Coast the week after Easter. At one stage this was going to be the Oceania sprint for the elites until the remaining travel restrictions made it untenable. The event effectively had 4 Ko rounds rather than the normal 3 and had an entry of over 60 men and only slightly fewer women. The end result was victory in the final for Aston Key (JWOC spring champion in 2019) in the men and Zoe Carter in the women. As a result of this the Australians have named a team of 6 men and 5 women for WOC2022.