High Performance News #98 – February 2023
By Malcolm Ingham - Sun 5 Mar 2023 9:11pm

February has been dominated by the weather. Firstly, the repercussions of the massive flooding in Auckland over its anniversary weekend, followed almost immediately by Cyclone Gabrielle. While it seems that only a few orienteers may have been directly impacted by these events, and our hearts go out to them, one consequence, as you will by now be aware, has been the postponement of the ONZ champs from Easter to Labour Weekend. Amid all this, as we move into the start of what is the traditional orienteering season, there has been some orienteering activity, starting with three exhausting days of SOW in 30+ temperatures, and, more lately with a training camp in St. Arnaud.

Malcolm Ingham


Postponement of ONZ Champs and Easter replacement events.

As indicated above, the devastation on the east coast (and elsewhere) due to Cyclone Gabrielle has led to the decision to postpone the ONZ Championships from Easter to Labour Weekend. There has been some intense discussion as to finding a replacement event for Easter which fits as far as possible with travel arrangements that may already have been made. The result of this is that there will be 4 days of orienteering in the Manawatu from 7-11 April.

Friday 7 April: Sprint – Palmerston North (PNBHS/Queen Elizabeth College). These are adjacent schools which, to my knowledge have never been used for an event although there has been some limited training.

Saturday 8 April: Multi-day distance – Waitarere Forest (Watchtower). Watchtower was logged in the early 2000’s and has now grown back up into a predominantly slow run area with relatively complex topography.

Sunday 9 April: Multi-day distance – Waitarere Forest (Hydrabad). Hydrabad was first used in 1994 for the APOC relays and has since been logged and regrown, and is now undergoing its second cycle of logging. However, enough remains of the southern part of the area to be worthy of a visit.

Monday 10 April: Multi-day distance – Waitarere Forest (Whirokino). Whirokino was last used for QB several years ago, but was slated for the ONZ Relays in 2020 before they fell victim to Covid. Mature forest with considerable undergrowth and a real challenge.

All the events will have 8 courses: Open Men (essentially M21E/M20E), Open Women (W21E/W20E), Open Long, Open Medium, Open Short, Orange, Yellow, White. Grades (other than the elites) will not be assigned to courses and competitors will be free to choose. The sprint will be a stand alone event, while the 3 forest days will be a 3-day competition decided on cumulative time. Entries, managed by Wellington Orienteering Club, should be open very shortly.

Thanks are due to Wellington, Hutt Valley and Red Kiwi clubs for being willing to put this together.

Impact of postponement of ONZ Champs on NOL and NSL.

The ONZ Champs were to form an integral part of both the NOL and NSL – the middle and long distance were to be key events in the former, and the sprint and follow-on knock-out sprint in the latter. As outlined in the November HP News the scoring for the NOL was the best 3 scores out of 6 events in rounds 1, 2 and 3 (all now completed) plus the best 3 scores out of the middle and long distance races at the ONZ Champs and King’s Birthday. This will remain the same. Thus, the NOL will actually culminate with the rearranged ONZ Champs at Labour Weekend.

The situation for the NSL is more complex. The original intention was to have the best 3 scores from SI Champs 2022 sprint, SOW sprint, 2 sprints at Kato-PO weekend and ONZ Champs sprint, plus the best KO sprint score from SOW and ONZ Champs. As there will now not be a KO sprint following the ONZ Champs, the NSL will now include the King’s Birthday sprint as well as the postponed ONZ sprint, giving 6 normal sprints plus the KO from SOW. The scores from the latter will be reworked to be a similar distribution to a normal sprint, and the best 5 out of what are now 7 results will count.

SOW – Waitangi Weekend

Following on a week after the South Island Champs in Nelson, Southern O Week(end) provided an intense 3 days of competition for the all involved, but especially the elites who had not only a KO Sprint, complete with qualification race, but also a double middle distance with a chasing start. All in temperatures which were in the low 30’s.

Spice was added to the men’s elite field by the presence of Tim Roberston, en route to the World Cross Country Champs in Australia. Not unexpectedly, Tim reigned supreme in the individual events, which started with a sprint on Lincoln schools. The race started in some rough open land adjacent to the schools and the biggest controversy of the weekend was related to this when two of the leading junior elites punched a wrong control on entry to the school grounds. The fact that prize money was on offer may have been a contributory factor, but mis-punching turned out to be a feature of the weekend (see below). Tim’s time on M21E of11;16 was 50 seconds ahead of Matt Ogden, while Daniel Wood, in winning M20E, had the 5th fastest time on the course. Lizzie Ingham was similarly comfortably ahead of second placed Amelia Horne in W21E, with Amber Morrison, making a rare appearance in 3rd. Second fastest on the course, however, was kaia Joergensen, 40 odd seconds slower than Lizzie in winning W20E.

Matt Ogden in action in the KO quarter-finals.

M21: 1. Tim Robertson (HV) 11:16, 2. Matt Ogden (NL) 12:06, 3. Angus Haines (AUS) 12:30, 4. Duncan Morrison (AK) 12:39, 5. Kieran Woods (AK) 13 :53, 6. Jonty Oram (AK) 13 :54.

W21 : 1. Lizzie Ingham (TK) 12:05, 2. Amelia Horne (NL) 13:06, 3. Amber Morrison (HB) 13:13, 4. Amber Riddle (DN) 13:39, 5. Rachel Duckworth (GBR) 14:17, 6. Tessa Ramsden (RK) 15:41.

M20: 1. Daniel Wood (CM) 12:57, 2. Zefa Fa’avae (NL) 13:10, 3. Callum White (AUS) 13:17, 4. Eddie Swain (NL) 13:18, 5. Tyler McCavitt (PP) 13:23, 6. Toby Cazzolato (AUS) 13:35.

W20: 1. Kaia Joergensen (PP) 12:46, 2. Anna Babington (PP) 13:18, 3. Molly McGowan (AK) 13:25, 4. Zara Stewart (AK) 13:36, 5. Rachel Baker (WN) 13:49, 6. Anna Duston (PP) 14:03.

The morning race was used to sort the athletes into heats for the KO Sprint rounds which would take up the rest of the day. The first of these was also on Lincoln Schools with a set of short butterfly loops, before the Semi-Finals and Finals moved to Lincoln University. The only organisational hiccup of the day came in the Semis where the map choice option of splitting was used – the choice of 3 options being reduced to 2 for the women as not enough option B maps had been printed! Perhaps the only surprise of the quarter and semi-finals was Duncan Morrison, after finishing 4th in the morning, suffering a mis-punch and being eliminated.

The finals were hectic affairs 6 for the men (A-F) and 4 for the women (A-D). The men’s A final turned into a 3 way contest between Tim, Matt and visiting Australian Angus Haines. An early mistake by Tim saw him at the back of the field before he caught up and then coasted away over the second half of the race, winning by 5 seconds from Angus, with Matt another second back. Felix Hunt, Dougal Shepherd and Nathan Borton filled out the A final.

Tim Robertson trails in the men’s KO Final, before winning in a canter, following up next day with victory in the double middle distance.

A Final – Men: 1. Tim Robertson 6:00.7, 2. Angus Haines 6:05.2, 3. Matt Ogden 6 :06.9, 4. Felix Hunt (PP) 6 :45.5, 5. Dougal Shepherd (NL) 7 :49.5, 6. Nathan Borton (AK) 6:53.8.

B Final – Men: 1. Callum White 6:52.9, 2. Aryton Shadbolt (PP) 6:57.3, 3. Daniel Wood 6:59.9, 4. Toby Cazzolato 7:01.1, 5. Zefa Fa’avae 7:07.4.

C Final – Men: 1. Kurtis Shuker (CM) 6:54.6, 2. Kieran Woods 7:32.7, 3. Wataru Teragauchi (JAP) 7:37.6, 4. Tyler McCavitt 7:41.9, 5. Riley Croxford (NL) 7:45.4, 6. Jonty Oram 7:48.0.

D Final – Men: 1. Alex Jobbins (AK) 7:28.2, 2. Finn van Kuelen (PP) 7:29.9, 3. Daniel Vickers (PP) 7:38.2, 4. Jacob Knoef (PP) 8:03.0; 5. Patrick Hayes (UC) 8:37.3.

E Final – Men: 1. Duncan Morrison 6:51.5, 2. Eddie Swain 7:14.5, 3. Oliver Egan (PP)7:39.7, 4. Tane Cambridge (PP) 7:43.0, 5. Fergus O’Neill (PP) 7:54.9.

F Final – Men: 1. Richard Greatrex (NL) 8:14.8, 2. James Wright (PP) 8:49.9, 3. Matt Bixley 11:03.0.

The women’s A final was just as close. Coming in to the complex arrangement of accommodation blocks near the finish, Lizzie led with Kaia, Amber and Amelia close behind. Leaving the next block Lizzie made a small mistake letting both Kaia and Amber past, with Kaia holding out in the lengthy final sprint to win her second KO sprint following victory in the one in Auckland in 2021. Amber was 2nd ,Lizzie 3rd, and with Amelia and juniors and sisters Anna and Katherine Babington filling out the places.

A Final – Women: 1. Kaia Joergensen 7:40.0, 2. Amber Morrison 7:43.0, 3. Lizzie Ingham 7:46.0, 4. Amelia Horne 7:53.0, 5. Anna Babington 8:19.0, 6. Katherine Babington (PP) 8:21.0.

B Final – Women: 1. Zara Stewart 8:30.1, 2. Juliet Freeman (PP) 8:38.6, 3. Molly McGowan 8:40.8, 4. Alicia McGivern (CM) 8:52.4, Amber Riddle mp.

C Final – Women: 1. Rachel Duckworth 8:32.0, 2. Rachel Baker 8:43.9, 3. Anna Duston 8:57.2, 4. Phoebe Hunt (PP) 11:23.5.

D Final – Women: 1. Anya Murray (NL) 9:56.0, 2. Tessa Ramsden (RK) 10:37.0, 3. Kyla Moore (PP) 10:45.8, 4. Lani Murray (PP) 11:27.1.

Lizzie leads the field in the women’s KO Final as they leave a control by one of the accommodation blocks, before Kaia takes over at the last.

Sunday saw the scene change to the coastal sand-dunes with a double middle distance which, for the elites, featured a chasing start in the afternoon. Joseph Lynch, having missed the sprints a=through being one of the course planners, was within 10 seconds of Tim in the morning prologue, Matt being about a minute back. In the junior elites Zefa Fa’avae and Felix Hunt led the way. Lizzie had a comfortable lead over Kaia after the morning race, with juniors well to the fore further back. With the midday break came the rain, although the temperature stayed high, making the longer afternoon courses somewhat of a test of navigation, strength and perseverance. Despite his close finish in the morning Joseph could not catch Tim, who pulled away to a 2 and a half minute win. Matt, Zefa and Felix filled the next three places, while Duncan Morrison, 4th in the morning, slipped to 6th. In the women Lizzie was never troubled, coming I not quite 4 minutes ahead of Kaia. Katherine, having started 57 seconds behind Kaia, dropped only another 48 seconds on her to finish 3rd. The big improver was Amber Morrison who, having been well back in the morning, pulled into 4th place ahead of Anna and Zara Stewart.

Men: 1. Tim Robertson (24:22 36:26) 60:46, 2. Joseph Lynch (PP) (24:32 38:44) 63:16, 3. Matt Ogden (25:19 39:34) 64:53, 4. Zefa Fa’avae (29:29 49:00) 70:29, 5. Felix Hunt (29:45 41:09) 70:29, 6. Duncan Morrison (28:29 49:37) 78:06.

Women: 1. Lizzie Ingham (26:43 43:33) 70:16, 2. Kaia Joergensen (28:00 46:00) 74:00, 3. Katherine Babington (28:57 46:48) 75:45, 4. Amber Morrison (35:45 44:43) 80:28, 5. Anna Babington (31:01 51:54) 82:55, 6. Zara Stewart (30:57 53:10) 84:07.

Monday saw a sprint relay on the Canterbury Showgrounds, a very open area without much technical difficulty. The main feature of this race was the huge number of mis-punches. This was possibly partly related to the effect of a third day of high temperatures following what had been two intense days of competition, and maybe also a lack of concentration in such apparently  “easy” terrain. Wjat it did generate was a subsequent Facebook discussion and survey on how frequently the elites check control codes during sprints. This produced some interesting, and possibly alarming, results. The survey asked how frequently control codes were checked in each of the three different kinds of sprint – normal, sprint relay and knock-out. As shown below, despite the normal dictum that checking codes is a must, clearly speed seems to over-ride the norm in sprints. Out of about 33 responses to the survey, 20% admitted to pretty much never checking codes in sprints and sprint relays. This, perhaps understandably given the nature of the event, rose to 40% in KO sprints. Food for some thought.

HP Camp St. Arnaud

The last weekend of February saw about 25 elites and junior elites attend a HP camp based at St Arnaud. A huge thanks is due to Scott Smith for being the lead organizer of this, and to Lizzie Ingham for the following report.

The Southerly Storm rounded out February with their Thunder-struck weekend training camp based at St Arnaud. With solid attendance from across the Christchurch, Nelson and Dunedin Storm troops, plus a token Auckland attendee, the composition and competition at the camp was equal to that of a NOL round.

For the Nelson contingent, the weekend kicked off on Friday evening with a course on an auto-generated map of the Kiwi-zone East side of Rotoiti. While the mapped features were arguably easier to find than kiwis in daylight, Felix and Lizzie found the tables were more balanced in the night version of the course.

Saturday morning saw a team choose-your-own-adventure up onto Robert Ridge, with the keenest running as far as Lake Angelus Hut and back. Joe, taking the WOC relevant training a touch too seriously, ensured he had close contact through the rockiest section of the course and spent the rest of the weekend recovering from his high-intensity session (ed. Broken wrist occasioning a visit to Nelson A&E).

Saturday afternoon saw a return to West Bay, a map many struggled to understand or stay in touch with 3 weeks prior at South Island champs. Displaying smart and effective coaching, this issue was resolved by removing the majority of detail from the map for the exercise, with the resulting multi-tech exercise a great success. For those that could cope with more storm based puns, the day was rounded out with a Matt Ogden presentation on performance Thundermentals. Somewhat surprisingly, no-one took up Lizzie’s alternative offer of night multi-tech on West Bay, leaving her to head out alone to single-handedly mess with Tasman SAR’s carefully planned and unfortunately timed night training exercise.

Relay training on Teetotal Flat.

Never mind however, as another 10km of  West Bay and Teetotal mayhem was on the menu for Sunday. This time the crew headed out in groups for a relay exercise, before reconvening for the hotly anticipated MP mile. With decoy controls cunningly placed in nearby parallel features at every control, this camp champs was more about not losing than it was about winning. To save embarrassment, names shall not be named, however don’t be surprised to see a couple of fresh faces on the North Island teams next season.

All in all a great couple of days was had, with quality training run and valuable advice both given and received. A huge thanks to Scott, Matt, Joe and helpers for making the weekend happen.

Oceania Sprint Champs 2024

The final proposal to go to IOF for the Oceania Sprint Champs in January/February 2024 is in the final stages of preparation. A program covering Auckland Anniversary and Waitangi weekends, and the week in between, is proposed. The main features of this for the elite classes are as follows.

Saturday 27 January 2024: Sprint WRE (Taranaki)

Monday 29 January 2024: Oceania Sprint Relay Champs (Taranaki)

Saturday 3 February 2024: Oceania Sprint Champs

Monday 5 February 2024: Oceania KO Sprint Champs

A full series of public races will be scheduled around these.

World Cup Round 1 – Norway 26-30 April

New Zealand will have a team of three men at the first round of the 2023 IOF World Cup being held in Ostfold in April. Tim Robertson and Toby Scott will run in the middle and long distance and be joined by Cameron de L’Isle in a relay team. Cameron will be added to the middle and long distance depending on demonstration of form and fitness by the end of March.

World Cross-country Champs and Godzone 2023

As most will be aware, following his appearance at SOW, Tim Robertson proceeded on to Australia as part of the New Zealand team at the world cross-country championships in Bathurst. Tim finished 61st, and 3rd Kiwi, in the field on a day when the weather gods threw a whole mix at the field. The New Zealand senior men finished in 9th place in the teams competition, their best for 39 years.

Also just finished is Godzone 2023, held in the deep south starting in Te Anau, and featuring kayaking on lake Manapouri and traversing the Takitimu Mountains. Once again, congratulations to Nathan Fa’avae, Chris Forne, Stu Lynch and Sophie Hart for a comfortable (not sure that is the right word!) win in just over 4 days. Sixteen hours behind in 4th place was the team Rab Wahine which included Georgia Whitla and Aaron Prince. Tim Farrant and Tane Cambridge were another 5 hours behind finishing in 8th place.

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