October brings with it the end of the international season and, with the exception of the rejuvenated CDOA Champs and the Canterbury Champs, also the wind-down of the domestic competition year. Still to come of course are the U23 and Junior Camps in December. Here though we can summarize the last round of the World Cup, the Oz Champs, Labour Weekend, and present the new National Squads as well as a reinvigorated SuperSeries, renamed for 2019 as the National O-League.
National Squads 2019
Last month changes to the criteria for National Squad membership were foreshadowed. Following the final qualifying results for 2018, namely the final round of the IOF World Cup and the Australian Championships, the new squads can now be named. As previously indicated, the two major changes are (i) that the Senior Squad is now split into separate sprint and forest squads, and (ii) that qualification for the Senior Squad through international performance now earns the designation “Elite”. This is not simply a title, however, as ONZ have confirmed that those with Elite status will have entry fees for the 2019 IOF World Cup Races paid by the Federation. A step which conveys some recognition and reward for those have performed for NZL on the international stage. Hopefully also a carrot for others.
Senior Squad Sprint
Men: Cameron de L’Isle (NW), Tommy Hayes (AK-Elite), Ross Morrison (HB), Matt Ogden (NW), Tim Robertson (OHV-Elite), Toby Scott (AK), Cameron Tier (NW)
Women: Renee Beveridge (NW), Lizzie Ingham (WN-Elite), Amber Morrison (HB), Laura Robertson (OHV-Elite), Imogene Scott (AK)
Senior Squad Forest
Men: Gene Beveridge (NW), Chris Forne (PP), Nick Hann (PP), Ross Morrison (HB), Matt Ogden (NW), Tim Robertson (OHV-Elite)
Women: Renee Beveridge (NW), Lizzie Ingham (WN-Elite), Amber Morrison (HB), Laura Robertson (OHV), Imogene Scott (AK)
Men: Devon Beckman (HB), Ed Cory-Wright (PP), Max Griffiths (NW), Callum Hill (NW), Joseph Lynch (PP), Daniel Monckton (NW), Kurtis Shuker (CM), Nick Smith (PP), Will Tidswell (HB)
Women: Katie Cory-Wright (PP), Meghan Drew (AK), Sophie Harrison (PP), Marisol Hunter (PP), Lara Molloy (WN), Briana Steven (PP), Jenna Tidswell (HB)
National O League (SuperSeries reinvented)
Three years after being restarted it has been decided to reinvent and, hopefully refresh, the SuperSeries as the National O League. Although consideration has been given to extending the time period over which events are held, for the time being this will remain from January to June, primarily as the lead in to the international season. For 2019 the events will be as follows.
Round 1 25-27 January: South Island Champs (Marlborough) consisting of Sprint, Long, Middle.
Round 2 30-31 March: JWOC Trials Weekend (Auckland) consisting of Sprint, Long.
Round 3 19-22 April: ONZ Champs (Oamaru) consisting of Sprint, Long, Middle, Relay
Round 4 1-3 June: Queen’s Birthday (Manawatu) races to be decided.
How many races will count will be decided when the programme for Queen’s Birthday is finalised.
Although the full rules will be published later, there will be a change to the points system. Another area of concern yet to be finalised is how to deal with the team’s competition. This has been, frankly, an abject failure. This is largely due to two factors. The first of can best be referred to as a lack of leadership in the regions to motivate athletes to compete under the regional banner – time perhaps for the senior athletes to stand up. The second is inequality between areas. This has to a large extent been brought about by the understandable movement of athletes to clubs who offer greater support to their ambitions. This is most noticeable in athletes who move from one area to another to attend university and is an issue that needs to be addressed by individual clubs.
One thing it would be nice to have is some sponsorship. This has been sought, as yet unsuccessfully, but if anyone out there knows of any possibilities for being able to give some kind of reward to our yearly winners please let me (MI) know.
IOF Introduces a Sprint Relay to JWOC
While team NZL athletes were competing at the final round of the World Cup in Prague (more about which comes later) the IOF General Assembly was voting on a series of proposals brought by various federations. The most significant of these from the NZL perspective was the apparently unanimous endorsement of the Norwegian proposal to introduce a Sprint Relay into JWOC from 2022. As IOF is adamantly opposed to any lengthening of the overall programme, the new Sprint Relay will be at the expense of the Middle Distance Qualification, with the Middle now becoming a one-off race. Along with Knock-Out Sprints, Sprint Relay – previously only of importance at WOC and World Cup level – will need to take a more prominent part in the New Zealand programme.
A side issue to this is that 2022 is the year that ONZ is applying to host JWOC. The change is actually quite significant in this regard as rather than a middle distance area big enough to host both a qualification and a final with a common arena, a smaller area will suffice, with, of course, the addition of a second sprint area.
World Cup Round 4 – Czech Republic
.As reported on the ONZ web page there were mixed results for the 4 New Zealand athletes at the final round of the World Cup. Racing started with the first Knock-out Sprint at a World Cup. This began with a qualification race that saw the top 36 in each of the men’s and women’s field progress to the quarter-finals. Of the Kiwis, Tim Robertson and Lizzie Ingham both made it through with Tim being joint winner of his heat and Lizzie finishing a comfortable 9th in hers. However, unlike the qualification and later semi-finals and final, the courses for the 6 person quarter-finals had little in the way of navigation or route choice. This heavily favoured the speedsters and both Tim and Lizzie finished 5th in their respective races to miss out on the semis. Ti was in good company as several other top sprinters fell at the quarter-final stage and, although both making it through the quarters WOC gold and bronze medalists Daniel Hubmann and Andreas Kyburz both went out in the semis.
Qualification Men Heat A: 1=. Tim Robertson 10:18, 1=. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 10:18, 3. Florian Howald (SUI) 10:22
Qualification Men Heat B: 1. Martin Hubmann (SUI) 10:06, 2. Max Peter Bijrner (SWE) 10:07, 3. Jonas Leandersson (SWE) 10:10, 27. Toby Scott 11:32.
Qualification Women Heat B: 1. Karolin Ohlsson (SWE) 09:02, 2. Sofie Bachmann (SUI) 09:04, 3. Anna Narhi (FIN) 09:04, 9. Lizzie Ingham 09:15.
Qualification Women Heat C; 1. Lina Strand (SWE) 09:03, 2. Sabine Hauswirth (SUI) 09:07, 3. Maija Sianoja (FIN) 09:13, 18. Laura Robertson 09:47.
Men Q-F C: 1=. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 07:45, 1=. Oystein Kvall Osterbo (NOR) 07:45, 3. Matthias Riener (AUT) 07:46, 5. Tim Robertson 08:06.
Women Q-F F: 1. Anna Narhi (FIN) 07:27, 2. Jana Knapova (CZE) 07:31, 3. Amanda Falk Weber (DEN) 07:34, 5. Lizzie Ingham 07:47.
Men Final: 1. Vjoltech Kraal (CZE) 06:37, 2. Jonas Leandersson (SWE) 06:40, 3. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 06:44.
Women Final: 1. Judith Wyder (SUI) 06:16, 2. Karolin Ohlsson (SWE) 06:17, 3. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 06:38
The KO finals had a map change after control 3 and then a series of very short butterfly loops. This was in contrast to the quarter and semi-finals where athletes had 20 seconds to choose which of 3 variants of the course they wished to run. The men’s semi-final map is shown on the left with the three variations shown in different colours. Although an adequate way of splitting the runners up it does seem rather at variance with the over-riding principle that all runners should run the same course. It will be interesting to see if there are changes before WOC2020 in Denmark.
The following day was the sprint relay and was not a mixed one for team NZL. Following their excellent runs in this event at WOC, both Laura and Tim Robertson were somewhat off the pace on the first two legs, with Laura coming in 31st on leg 1 and Tim being an uncharacteristic 90s off the fastest time on leg 2. Toby Scott then picked up 5 places on leg 3 before Lizzie gained another 6 on leg 4 to pull NZL into 19th place. However, once second and third teams from other nations were excluded (Switzerland had 3 teams in the top 4!) from the results this actually equated to an 11th place finish – one place higher than achieved at WOC in Latvia.
1. Switzerland 1 58:59, 2. Sweden 1 59:43, 3. Switzerland 2 1:00:03, 4. Switzerland 3 1:00:04, 5. Czech Republic 1 1:00:06 6, Norway 1 1:00:40, 19. New Zealand (Laura Robertson 16:37, Tim Robertson 15:35, Toby Scott 15:36, Lizzie Ingham 16:09) 1:03:57.
The middle distance on day 3 was very much a trial by rocks. Even to get to the start area athletes had to climb a specially built scaffold to reach the inside of an old fort! It wasn’t a particularly great day for NZL although Tim finished a creditable 20h, again showing the improvement in his forest results throughout 2018. None of the other 3 had a particularly happy time with Lizzie making a large parallel error after somewhat stunning herself descending a cliff that she might have been better avoiding!
With 3 Czechs in the top 8 of the men’s race, and 3 in the top 9 women, local terrain knowledge looks to have played a part. The men’s race was also notable for there being only 1 Scandinavian in the top 10.
Men: 1. Milos Nykodym (CZE) 35:17, 2. Andreas Kyburz (SUI) 36:08, 3. Gernot Kerschbaumer (AUT) 36:34, 20. Tim Robertson 40:26, 57=. Toby Scott 45:06.
Women: 1. Karolin Ohlsson (SWE) 38:30, 2. Julia Jakob (SUI) 39:40, 3. Lina Strand (SWE) 39:41, 67. Laura Robertson 53:12, 69. Lizzie Ingham 53:33.
The World Cup for 2019 finished with an individual sprint. However this was divided into A and B races with the A race made up of the top 40 in the World Cup standings, with others running the B race. This meant that in fact Tim was the only NZL runner in the A sprit, finishing 8th some 30 seconds behind winner Jonas Leandersson. In the B races Toby was well back in the men, but Laura and Lizzie both crept into the top 20 in the women.
Men A: 1. Jonas Leandersson (SWE) 14:53, 2. Yannick Michiels (BEL) 15:00, 3. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 15:01, 8. Tim Robertson 15:25.
Women A: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 14:51, 2. Maija Sianoja (FIN) 15:13, 3. Judith Wyder (SUI) 15:17.
Men B: 1. Adrien Delenne (FRA) 13:47, 2. Eric Borjeskog (SWE)13:59, 3. Emil Ahlbeck (NOR) 14:10, 55. Toby Scott 16:11.
Women B: 1. Emma Bjessmo (SWE) 12:49, 2. Sandra Grosberga (LAT) 12:58, 3. Anna Dvoriankaia (RUS) 13:03, 18. Laura Robertson 13:55, 19=. Lizzie ingham 13:38.
In terms of the overall World Cup, Tim, the only Kiwi to compete in all 4 rounds, finished 15th in the men. The only other man to figure was Matt Ogden in 131st place courtesy of his WOC long distance. In the women Lizzie was 70th and Laura 90th.
The 2019 World Cup looks interesting with the first round to be held in Finland from 7-11 June, Round 2 being WOC in Norway from 12-17 August, Round 3 in Switzerland from 26-29 September, and the final round being held in China from 25-29 October – the first excursion out of Europe since 2013 in New Zealand.
Australian Champs and AUS-NZL Test Match
Results from the first two events of the 2018 Australian Championships, the sprint and middle, were reported last month, with Tommy Hayes finishing 2nd in M21E in both and Katie Cory-Wright and Briana Steven taking 1st and 3rd in the middle, Briana repeating this place in the sprint.
The long distance held the following weekend saw no NZL representation in the 21 Elite grades. However, Briana and Katie again excelled in W20E coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively, while in M20E Oak Jones of Taranaki was also 3rd, ahead of 4 other Kiwis – Jason Bond, Kurtis Shuker, Ronan Lee and Liam Stolberger – in the top 8.
With no NZL 21 teams the Test Match in Australia was run only in the 20 grades, the result being a victory for Australia by 253-173. There is now a proposal that rather than the current separate home and away legs, where the home team almost inevitably wins, from 2019 the Aspin-Key Trophy will be awarded on the basis of the combined scores over both matches.
Labour Weekend – Wellington Championships
Perhaps not surprisingly given the almost complete absence of advertising, with even several locals complaining about difficulty finding information, the Wellington Championships over Labour Weekend were very poorly attended. This was a shame as each of the three days presented completely different challenges. Most interesting was Sunday’s long distance which presented athletes in the elite grades with the kind of course which is seldom seen in New Zealand, but which is excellent preparation for international orienteering – physical, technical in the sometimes
low visibility forest, and offering significant and varied route choice. Almost every elite or aspiring elite in the country could have benefitted from this course. As it was it was left to Ed Cory-Wright and Conor Short to finish only 33 seconds apart after a shade over 110 minutes, while Amelia Horne took the women’s race ahead of the more favoured names.
Monday’s mass start race, wonderfully planned by Stuart Engleback, gave a much different challenge with multiple loops and splits dividing runners up so that it was hard to gauge who was where. Again Ed and Conor were only about 40 seconds apart at the end, although Lara Molloy was a more familiar women’s winner.
The weekend had started with a middle distance in the shallow gulleys and depressions of Riverside, ending with a tough climb up and over the rocky hillside. This was where Ed had his biggest winning margin of the weekend over Conor – about 90 seconds, finishing with blisters that plagued him for the rest of the weekend. Amelia was also the winner here in the women edging out Lara by about a minute.
Men Middle: 1. Ed Cory-Wright (PP) 35:14, 2. Conor Short (WN) 36:41, 3. Carsten Joergensen (PP) 43:57.
Women Middle: 1. Amelia Horne (RK) 35:33, 2. Lara Molloy (WN) 36:28, 3. Ellie Molloy (WN) 39:53.
Men Long: 1. Ed Cory-Wright 1:50:22, 2. Conor Short 1:50:45, 3. Stuart Engleback (WN) 2:42:30.
Women Long: 1. Amelia Horne 1:45:18, 2. Tessa Ramsden (RK) 1:54:14, 3. Lara Molloy 1:55:14.
Men Mass Start: 1. Ed Cory-Wright 1:12:50, 2. Conor Short 1:13:30, 3. Jake Hanson (WN) 1:32:59.
Women Mass Start: 1. Lara Molloy 1:17:30, 2. Ellie Molloy 1:22:49, 3. Tessa Ramsden 1:25:32.
HP Training Camps
The U23 Camp will be held, based in Masterton, from 8-14 December and will, again, have a distinct focus on introducing the level of training, both technical and physical, required to prepare and perform at events such as JWOC, WUOC, World Cup and WOC. Prior to the camp we have Rachel Hendrie, from Scotland, travelling the min centres performing VO2 max tests on some of our developing athletes. Further testing at the camp, and associated discussion, will be aimed at showing how such results can be of benefit in planning and monitoring training.
Following the U23 camp there will be a HP camp in association with the Wellington Regional Camp over Wellington Anniversary Weekend (19-21 January). This will be in the Manawatu and will take in various of the coastal sand-dune maps. The base for this camp is yet to be decided on, but the camp (Saturday to Monday) is the weekend before the first round of the National O League in Marlborough (Friday to Sunday), allowing the two long weekends to be combined into a single trip.