Kambarang orienteering carnival – 2023 Aussie Champs & Southern Cross Challenge
By Christo Peters - Sat 4 Nov 2023 8:47pm

The NZ team arrived after what seemed a long-haul flight and it was into intervals & it was time for climate adjusting! There were some orienteers who were running in the snow just before they left NZ! Briana & Joseph had led a rock map training for Christchurch members up at Castle hill just the previous weekend – so WA seemed rather warm. It was over 30C when the NZ teams arrived, but the next day was a cooler day before racing started:

Training day 1
The first day’s training was short, but intense. It was a map focus-day with interval-based sprint training at the University of Western Australia and creative last-minute artificial barriers were in place. The swimming pool back at camp helped with jetlag and temperature adjustment followed by an in-depth analysis of the training exercise in the evening.

Training day 2
It was misty and cooler for the second day of training. The NZ teams grouped-up to get to grip with Australian terrain with a focus on rock features. They were figuring out what rocks are mapped,  testing how grippy they are for running on, and searched for the elusive Australian watercourses – often disguised as something dry and indiscernible!

The afternoon’s forest training at Jorgensen Park included microsprints to work on leg plans and encourage precision with clear visualisation within control circles. It was encouraging to see juniors who have never been in this style of terrain quickly gain confidence and fluency.

A flurry of domestic flight delays made things difficult for the arrival of various Australian state teams, but the NZ map practice was intense with the start of the Australian Champs almost here. 

Saturday September 30 Australian Middle Distance Championships (WRE)  Impressive podiums in techy terrain. The weather was excellent, the terrain beautiful with challenging orienteering to test the teams. Fast and open running, with very gentle vague contours and rock fields everywhere.

The first leg for some of the red courses was especially tough, throwing runners straight into a boulder field across a vague slope. A huge baptism of fire for some of team’s first ever Oz race! The coaching team described it as one of the most difficult Australian maps they’d been on.

It was impressive that we had an amazing string of results on such unfamilar terrain. The Aussie commentator was especially flabbergasted that NZ took out 5 of the top 6 places in M16 – definitely a wake-up for the Oz school teams! M21E & M16 took all top three places, and two in out of three in W14A. We had three in top 10 for W16, and two in the top 10 for M20E.



Sunday 1 October  |  Australian Relay Championships
It was racing relay action on the second day. It was back to the challenges of Peterdine and the terrain was even faster underfoot than the day before and if anything vaguer! The long legs demanded close attention to maintain map contact with your wits about you to make sense of the inevitable rock cluster in the circle.

A few sore ankles after yesterday so some team members sat out or walked. Also another chance for the managers and coaches to compete along with accompanying families. Areas of bare rock gave new truth to the concept of “stepping stones”. Once again, many on the podium, although the Aussie commentators seemed to assign glory to random NZ clubs.

Fabulous team work by all, but noting these great results:

M21E 1st another dramatic sprint finish for ASOC coach Joe Lynch

W21E 2nd (with ASOC coach Briana Steven)

M20E 2nd and 3rd with a flying sprint finish

M16 2nd with Matthew Greenwood pulling them from 4th to 1st in leg 2

W16 3rd place

M14 1st place

Full results:


Tuesday 3 October   ASOC Sprint Championships

Cooler temperatures & cool heads prevailed at the Australian Schools Orienteering Champs (ASOC) Sprint at Aquinas College. Fast times and perfect running conditions with moments of drama as some succumbed to the cunning of the planner. The commentary was thick and fast New Zealand names supplanting each other for the top placings.

A large blue dinosaur made a first appearance at the ASOC sprint day aka NSW runner Sam Woolford. He not only provided much support for the Schools competitors but also completed the Kambarang Classic Sprint until he was abruptly tackled to the ground after the finish!

In the end we had medal winners in Junior boys and girls and the Senior boys and established a clear initial lead on provisional points: Karahiwi 34, Harua 33, NSW 21, ACT 18, TAS 16, SA 14, VIC 14, WA 8.

NZ podium place getters: 

Junior boys: 1st Blake, 3rd Harry 
Junior girls girls: 1st Greta Prince,  2nd Zara 
Senior boys 1st Zefa Fa’avae, 2nd Felix Huunt;

There is a long way to go over the next 2 days with a prolonged drive to the Long distance, but we’re in for the long-haul! 

Wednesday 4 October   |  ASOC Long Championships
Kiwis are early birds. It was another beautiful Western Australia day, and another early start – breakfast at 6:30am before a long drive. Early starters get the best of things, and a cooler start.

The day heated up to feel well past its advertised 22-25 deg in the sun and out of the breeze. We were in classic Australian dusty/rocky kind of ‘forest’ that offers little shade. Frazzle Rock/Boyayambeliin was hard work – so all the more kudos for some great runs. The NSW Dinosaur was out and active at the long but retired early from the heat and sensibly didn’t venture out in the spiky bush.

And a few comments from NZ athletes in the live commentary from the long event yesterday. The “Babington train” mentioned was Katherine overtaking Anna on the course, and more comments & tactics from the athlete interviews:

Zefa Fa’avae was asked by commentator if he red-lined or went around the green after looking at his legs, but just Zefa mentioned “just doing our thing through the bush.”

Felix Hunt replied ”Mostly red line, and found some random fence at the end which I nearly ran into.. it was really cool and unique to what we were running on a few days ago. It reminded me of Portugal last year”

Phoebe Hunt ”slow and steady, least mistakes = faster time…I tried to avoid the green with lots of broken sticks”

Anna Wright “Using map contact, but use the bare rock where you can go faster”

Zara Toes “ Slow and steady”, also commenting that it was “quite hot on the bare rock”

For Luke Jansen it was the first time running in Australia, he mentioned “ I took a fence opportunity to control 2 that didn’t work too well”, so after that he used “a lot of bare rock” . And that the training before the champs helped “to get used to the bare rock and rock clusters”

Tide Fa’avae mentioned she used” the contours the most , and the rocks were added on .. and the flowers were really pretty”

It is worth a mention that we had 5 out of 10 athletes in top 10 places in Senior boys long distance yesterday!

When the points were calculated, Karahiwi had pulled away from Harua a bit, Harua still holding off the Australian states by a narrow margin.

Hoping for solid runs in today’s relays and care with punching… as the temperature climbs up to 27 plus, the pressure is on!

NZ podiums:

Senior boys: 1st Zefa Fa’avae, 2nd Felix Hunt

Senior girls: 2nd Tide Fa’avae

Junior girls: 2nd Luke Jansen

Junior girls: 1st Anna Wright, 2nd Zara Toes

Thursday October 5   ASOC Relays
We won! The event was boisterous, noisy, and fun, with lots of colour and crazy hairstyles, but the NZ teams remained focussed.

Senior boys and girls took first and third places with NSW sandwiched in between in second place. The junior boys came in after ACT & NSW, but junior girls went for the top and grabbed the first two podium places.
And the running dino update:  a member of the NSW senior boys team was required to don the suit in the heat for the team finish as “penalty” for forgetting his o shoes. Despite running in borrowed shoes the NSW boys did a fabulous job. 

So in the final wrap-up, yet again the NZ teams take 1st and 2nd places against the Australian States and will be bringing home the Southern Cross shield. Congratulations!

Senior boys

1st Team Karahiwi 1- Eddie Swain, Jake McLennan & Zefa Fa’avae. 1:33:43

3rd Team Hārua 1- Sam Carryer, Riley Croxford & Felix Hunt 1:48:1 +14:28

Senior girls

1st Team Karahiwi 2- Anna Babington, Tide Fa’avae & Katherine Babington 1:41:44

3rd Team Hārua1 – Juliet Freeman, Alicia McGivern, Phoebe Hunt 2:00:29 +18:45

Junior boys

3rd Team Karahiwi 3 – Luke Jansen, William Wood, Blake McKinnon 1:25:16 +7:23

Junior girls

1st Team Hārua 4 – Zara Toes, Anna Batcheler, Greta Prince 1: 11:31

2nd Team Karahiwi 4 – Torun Joergensen, Niamh Hoare, Anna Wright 1:11:57 +0.26

Saturday 7 October    Australian Long Distance Championships (WRE)
Hard hot yakka!  The Southern Cross challenge is back on in the ASOC Long Distance Championship. It was, not surprisingly, a long, tough course but we ain’t dead yet!

The event started an hour early to beat the heat but with temperatures reaching 35C degrees we still snagged M21E with our turbo trio leading seven & a half minutes before the first Aussie M21E runner. Briana Steven came fourth & Amber Riddle in fifth in W21E after a blistering win led by Eureka’s Aislinn Prendergast.

In W20E Katherine Babington led the pack by over 5 mins in the brutal heat with her sister Anna coming in 6th. In M20E Our first runner was Eddie Swain from Nelson coming in 6th place .

Top ten placings:

M21E 1st Joseph Lynch 1:40, 2nd Zefa Fa’avae +5:11, 3rd Felix Hunt +5:30

W21E 4th Briana Steven +35:51, 5th Amber Riddle +43:55

M20E 6th Eddie Swain +8.41

W20E 1st Katherine Babington 1:07: 25

M18A 1st Marcus Brennan 1:00:35, 2nd Jacob Knoef +5:13

W18 1st Lily West 1:04:01, 2nd Anya Murray +3:50, 3rd Katelin Toes +15:10

M16A Blake McKinnon +4:07

W16A 2nd Lani Murray +1:06

M14A 2nd Tahi Harris +1:49

W14A 2nd Anna Wright +2:06

M21AS 3rd Jamal Murray +16:16

W21AS 2nd Zoe Karantzas +4:1

Tomorrow is the final day of the champs, keep-up the cheering from afar for the Sprint.

Sunday 8 October   Australian Sprint Championships (WRE)
Neck-and-neck! What an ending to the Kambarang Carnival! Felix Hunt described it as a “Absolutely hectic sprint. Super fun map.” Two ties in the M21E and W20E heaped yet more excitement to the race.

Angus Haines (SA Arrows) busted into the Turbo trio with a riveting equal second placing with Felix, and Zefa slipped back by only 20 seconds. It was a fast run with Jospeh’s winning KM time recorded at 4:40 by Eventor despite doubling back after running past control #14.

In W21E 3rd Amber Riddle dashed in front of Natasha Key to grab the podium.

In the Women’s 20E the Babington sisters had the mighty rivalry race going, with Anna putting on freight train speed to win over her sister and a dead heat to take first place with Ester Kocsik (Garingal Orienteers) with Katherine in fourth place.
Elite podium placings (including 4th placing for the tie races):

M21E 1st Joseph Lynch 15:35, 2nd Felix Hunt = Angus Haines (SA Arrows), 4th Zefa Fa’avae

W21E 3rd Amber Riddle +0:16

W20E 1st Anna Babington = Ester Kocsik 15:47, 4th Katherine Babington +0:30

Many thanks to all those involved in the Kambarang Carnival 2023! The entire team did an amazing job at adapting to the terrain each day, given how unique it was compared to anything in NZ. Even those who had some wobbles had personal wins from each day which is amazing and everyone in the team kept the positive spirit up all week. 

Special thanks to those taking on the training and management of the NZ teams, it was a great supportive team atmosphere:
Managers: Susana Carryer (Auckland) & Lyn Stanton (Auckland)
Coaches: Michael Croxford (Nelson), Rachel Smith (OBOP), Joseph Lynch (PAPO), Briana Steven (PAPO)
If you want to know how the Southern Cross Challenge point scoring works read here

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