High Performance News #99 – March 2023
By Malcolm Ingham - Sun 2 Apr 2023 1:26pm

As we move into autumn, March has seen the season move into full swing with 2 National Sprint League races in Taupo, followed the next weekend by the first series of JWOC trials. The latter saw some intense competition among a healthily large field vying for places in the team for Romania. Meanwhile, intense preparations have also been underway for the replacement events at Easter, which will feature the second set of JWOC trials, as well as WOC trials for Switzerland. Also below, details of the next HP Camp to be held in association with the NISS Champs at the end of April, and a catch-up on who has been doing what overseas.

Malcolm Ingham

(mandg.ingham@xtra.co.nz)

Selection Notice – World Cup Round 2

The second round of the 2023 IOF World Cup will be held in Ceska Lip, Czechia from 2-6 August 2023, and will consist of a sprint distance, a sprint relay, a middle distance, and a long distance. New Zealand is entitled to enter up to 4 men and 4 women. Selection will be based on known form .

All athletes interested in selection for Round 2 of the IOF World Cup should notify their interest, year of birth, and cell phone number to the Convenor of Selectors Al Cory-Wright (alistaircorywright@gmail.com) by 1 May 2023.

Advance Notice – World Cup Round 3/European Sprint Champs

The final round of the 2023 IOF World Cup will be held in Verona, Italy from 3-8 October 2023. This round forms the European Sprint Championships and will have an individual sprint, a knock-out sprint and a sprint relay. As WOC2024 will be a sprint WOC, NZL is seeking to send as full a team as possible to Italy, possibly using it as the opportunity to give some junior elite athletes with sprint potential the chance to experience the top level of competition. A preliminary booking for accommodation for a full team of 4 men and 4 women has already been made.

To assist in forward planning for WC3/EOC, serious expressions of interest are invited. These should be send to Convenor of Selectors Al Cory-Wright (alistaircorywright@gmail.com) by 31 May 2023, and copied to HP Leader Malcolm Ingham (mandg.ingham@xtra.co.nz).

It is possible that some funding may be available to support travel from New Zealand.

National Sprint League Katoa-Po Weekend

The National Sprint League resumed on the second weekend in March with two races in Taupo straddling the Kato-Po all night relay. The timing and location meant that entry from the South Island was very limited, although it gave an opportunity for several Auckland (and other) juniors and seniors to finally get a crack in the series. The relative lack of the top sprinters was unfortunate as the weekend presented two very contrasting types of sprints compared to the usual school/university campuses that we generally see.

The men’s course on Waipahihi Botanical Reserve.

Saturday’s race was in what was completely unfamiliar terrain to anyone outside Taupo – the local Waipahihi Botanical Reserve. Indeed, comments suggested that most people did not even know that Taupo had a botanical gardens! With the vast majority of the actual bush marked as out-of-bounds the challenge was in picking the fastest route amid the multiplicity of tracks. Most adept at this on the day were Kurtis Shuker (taking a weekend off from the farm) and, not surprisingly in the women, Lizzie Ingham. Kurtis was 73 seconds ahead of one of the few South Island competitors, Scott Smith, with Kieran Woods a shade behind Scott. Molly McGowan took second place in the women ahead of Bay of Plenty’s Hannah Lynch, who put in the first of what were to be two strong performances over the weekend.

Men: 1. Kurtis Shuker (CM) 14:43, 2. Scott Smith (PP) 15:56, 3. Kieran Woods (AK) 16:01, 4. Sam Carryer (AK) 16:54, 5. Jonty Oram (AK) 17:42, 6. Ethan Bloemen (TK) 17:53.

Women: 1. Lizzie Ingham (TK) 14:12, 2. Molly McGowan (AK) 16:26, 3. Hannah Lynch (BP) 16:38, 4. Heidi Stolberger (PP) 17:36, 5. Charlotte Wood (AK) 19:55, 6. Lucy Parsons (AK) 21:17.

With most of the athletes also lining up in Katoa-Po, and many of them on the longer legs and out until the early hours, it is not clear if Sunday’s flatter, but longer, offering on Tongariro Domain was welcome or not. In any case Kurtis and Lizzie repeated their victories. In fact, the first three in the men’s race was a repeat of Saturday, with Kurtis winning by almost an identical margin. Hannah Lynch took second in the women’s race and was within a minute of Lizzie, while Alicia McGivern took third place ahead of Molly.

Men: 1. Kurtis Shuker 15:55, 2. Scott Smith 17:11, 3. Kieran Woods 17:41, 4. Jonty Oram 17:49, 5. Ethan Bloeman 17:52, 6. Sam Carryer 17:54.

Women: 1. Lizzie Ingham 14:36, 2. Hannah Lynch 15:32, 3. Alicia McGivern (CM) 17:58, 4. Molly McGowan 18:16, 5. Zara Toes (AK) 18:57, 6. Georgia Lindroos (AK) 19:14.

The first part of the women’s course on Tongariro Domain.

As was reported last month, The NSL is now reorganized to be the best 5 scores out of 7 races with the points from the KO sprint recalculated to bring them more into line with the other races. This has now been done by adopting a similar calculation to the way WRE points are awarded for a KO sprint (not perfect, but look it up if you want to know!).  The end result is that in the women, Lizzie (the only person currently with 5 scores) has already sewn up victory, and the race will be for second and third places, probably between Molly McGowan, Anna Babington, Amber Riddle and Alicia McGivern. The men’s race is still open, and will come down to the final 2 races at King’s Birthday and the reorganized ONZ Champs in October. Although Kieran Woods and Jonty Oram currently hold the top 2 positions, Matt Ogden and Kurtis Shuker are possibly the two to watch. The top 10 positions in each are as shown below.

JWOC Trials Canterbury

A week after the NSL races in Taupo, the first set of trials for JWOC2023 took place in and around Canterbury on 3 very contrasting terrains. The Saturday morning sprint on Hill Morton High School saw some especially close racing. Indeed, in the women’s race Anna Babington and Kaia Joergensen tied for first place, ahead of Zara Stewart and Kate Borton. There was also a tie for 5th between Katherine Babington and Molly McGowan. Things were also close in the men’s race where Felix Hunt showed his best form to win from Zefa Fa’avae by just 2 seconds, and with Nathan Borton only another 4 seconds back. With both a sprint and a sprint relay on the timetable for Romania in early July, sprints therefore being 40% of the program, up from 25%, the sprint trials for JWOC now take on a larger significance than previously.

Men: 1. Felix Hunt (PP) 12:18, 2. Zefa Fa’avae (NL) 12:20, 3. Nathan Borton (AK) 12:24, 4. Riley Croxford (NL) 12:46, 5. Alex Jobbins (AK) 12:53, 6. Tyler McCavitt (PP) 12:58, 7. Fergus O’Neill (PP) 13:09, 8. Daniel Wood (CM) 13:13, 9.Jacob Knoef (PP) 13:21, 10. Callum Wishart (AK) 13:24.

Women: 1=. Anna Babington (PP) 12:26, 1=. Kaia Joergensen (PP) 12:26, 3. Zara Stewart (AK) 12:47, 4. Kate Borton (AK) 12:58, 5=. Katherine Babington (PP) 13:16, 5=. Molly McGowan (AK) 13:16, 7. Tide Fa’avae (NL) 13:55, 8. Juliet Freeman (PP) 13:56, 9. Rachel Baker (WN) 13:59, 10. Phoebe Hunt (PP) 14:28.

Clustering round the results board after the sprint.

In the afternoon attention switched to the middle distance at Butlers Bush, out beyond Sheffield and on the approach to Porters Pass. Butlers is a small and steep mix of pine and native vegetation with route choice crucial. In many respects simply surviving in this terrain is a win, although Zefa did far more, smashing the men’s field by nearly 7 minutes. Ryan Moore, after a wobbly sprint, took second place ahead of Riley Croxford who backed up his 4th place in the sprint with 3rd, swapping places from the morning with Nathan. Fergus O’Neill and Felix rounded out the top 6. In the women’s race, Rachel Baker took the honours ahead of Kaia, with Zara and Molly not much further behind.

Men: 1. Zefa Fa’avae 34:24, 2. Ryan Moore (PP) 41:21, 3. Riley Croxford 42:58, 4. Nathan Borton 45:11, 5. Fergus O’Neill 45:52, 6. Felix Hunt 46:39, 7. Eddie Swain (NL) 47:15, 8. Alex Jobbins 47:56, 9. Daniel Wood 50:12, 10. James Wright (PP) 52:48.

Women: 1. Rachel Baker 36:56, 2. Kaia Joergensen 37:44, 3. Molly McGowan 38:26, 4. Zara Stewart 40:01, 5.Tide Fa’avae 41:07, 6. Anna Babington 41:49, 7. Katherine Babington 41:57, 8. Juliet Freeman 45:07, 9. Karin Prince (PP) 55:18, 10. Phoebe Hunt 55:27.

The men’s course from Butler’s Bush.

The long distance trial on Sunday saw a return to Mt Ellen, scene of the not the Oceania Champs long distance in 2022. As any who ran that event can testify the steep, but generally open, forest is a real challenge for both route choice and legs. Rachel Baker,who finished 4th in the women, commented “I (and others) found it was … really nice to do technical orienteering that wasn’t in sand dunes. The physical side of the course was hard, but not unbearable which made the course really good.” Kaia again came out on top, with Anna backing up her good Saturday with 2nd, and Zara in 3rd.

Among the men, Felix and Zefa again took the top 2 places with Ryan in 3rd, and Riley rounding out a food weekend in 4th. While 5 of the women featured in the top 6 in all three races, only Felix, Zefa and Riley achieved this in the men.

JWOC trial – women’s long distance.

Men: 1. Felix Hunt 1:13:24, 2. Zefa Fa’avae 1:18:23, 3. Ryan Moore 1:19:38, 4. Riley Croxford 1:25:50, 5. Sam Carryer (AK) 1:26:09, 6. Eddie Swain 1:29:09, 7. Alex Jobbins 1:29:50, 8. Daniel Wood 1:30:04, 9. Nathan Borton 1:34:05, 10. Jacob Knoef 1:34:11.

Women: 1. Kaia Joergensen 1:06:50, 2. Anna Babington 1:12:40, 3. Zara Stewart 1:12:59, 4. Rachel Baker 1:13:12, 5. Katherine Babington 1:16:14, 6. Molly McGowan 1:24:38, 7. Juliet Freeman 1:31:15, 8. Phoebe Hunt 1:32:30, 9. Tide Fa’avae 1:44:26, 10. Kyla Moore (PP) 1:50:20.

The second set of trials will take place at Easter with a sprint, followed by two days on Waitarere sand-dunes of vastly different character.

Kiwis abroad

While JWOC trials have been the most recent focus at home, the orienteering season has really only just started elsewhere. Now residing in Europe, Cameron de L’Isle has mixed results at the Danish Spring Weekend. The weekend started promisingly for Cameron with 14th place in the sprint, 2minutes back from joint winners Andreas Bock Bjoernsen and Ralph Street.  Only just returning from injury, Cameron passed on the long distance before mispunching in the middle distance, apparently omitting control 7. Tim Robertson, although entered for the weekend, was a non-starter.

The same weekend Briana Steven made the long trek from California to Cincinnati for the US National Champs, imaginatively referred to as “Flying Pig XXV”. Briana finished 5th in the sprint, 3 minutes back from Evelyn Brautigan who took 3rd place in the Oceania Sprint in Tasmania back in January. Briana followed this with 6th in the long and 7th in the middle, both won by Alison Crocker.

Amelia Horne selected for World Trail Running Champs

Congratulations to Amelia Horne who has been named in the New Zealand team for the World Trail Running Championships which will held in Innsbruck from 7-10 June. One of 5 senior women in the team, Amelia faces (I assume) one of two races – the “short” trail race is 44.6 km with 3132 m of climb, while the “long” trail race comes in at 85.6 km and 5554 m of climb.

The course profile for the short trail race at the World Trail Running Champs.

HP Camp – 21-25 April

As previously announced the HP camp flagged earlier in the year for late April will go ahead from Friday 21 April through Tuesday 25 April (Anzac Day). It will be based around the North Island SS Champs which take place from 21-23 April.

The draft programme is:

Friday 21 April: NISSC Sprint (Wanganui HS) – run public courses (or schools race for those still at school) plus additional training exercises.

Saturday 22 April: NISSC Long (Knottingley) – run public courses (or schools race for those still at school) plus possible additional training exercises.

Sunday 23 April: NISSC Relay (Westerlee Farm) – possibly run public courses but more likely separate training exercises.

Monday 24 April: Training on Knottingley.

Tuesday 25 April: Training at Foxton Beach.

So transport and accommodation can be organized as required, those interested should let Malcolm Ingham (mandg.ingham@xtra.co.nz) know by the end of Easter weekend at the very latest.

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