In January 2015 when I first started putting out a monthly High Performance News it was an attempt to address what some had described as a lack of communication between ONZ and their top athletes. I never imagined that I would reach issue 100. What has surprised me is that there is rarely a dearth of things to write about. I certainly can’t promise another 100 issues, but hopefully it has helped to fill the perceived information gap.
JWOC and WOC teams
Congratulations to those announced in the New Zealand teams for JWOC (Romania 1-9 July) and WOC (Switzerland 11-17 July). The JWOC team in particular shows the current strength of orienteering in the South Island, with 8 of the 12 from southern parts, and another 2 currently students in Christchurch.
JWOC: Men – Nathan Borton (AK), Riley Croxford (NL), Zefa Fa’avae (NL), Felix Hunt (PP), Ryan Moore (PP), Fergus O’Neill (PP); Women – Anna Babington (PP), Katherine Babington (PP), Rachel Baker (WN), Kaia Joergensen (PP), Penelope Salmon (AK), Zara Stewart (AK).
WOC: Men – Gene Beveridge (NW), Joseph Lynch (PP), Matt Ogden (NL), Tim Robertson (HV), Toby Scott (AK); Women – Amelia Horne (RK), Lizzie Ingham (TK), Kaia Joergensen (PP), Briana Steven (PP).
The JWOC team is potentially the strongest New Zealand team for many years, although it will be substantially younger than the Europeans. With the postponement of last year’s JWOC forest events, only Kaia (both 2019 and 2022) and Zefa (2022) have experienced JWOC middle and long distance races. Both will be keen to at least match their results in Portugal in these. In the sprint Felix, Nathan, Zara and Penelope in particular all have the potential for at least the top 20. Rachel will look forward to the complex contour detail expected in at least the middle.
Similarly, the first full forest WOC team since 2019 has considerable promise, but to a certain extent foreshadow a changing of the guard. Both Toby and Lizzie are possibly looking at their last forest WOC, while Kaia, Amelia, Briana and Joseph are all at their first. If qualification can be safely negotiated the middle distance line up for the men of Matt, Tim and Joseph could may give us our best ever middle results. Likewise, the yet to be finalised men’s relay team. Lizzie has previous form in Switzerland from both World Cup and Swiss-O Week and will be looking for top results. In the middle Kaia will be looking to qualify for the final, but much may depend on how well she can recover from JWOC, which finishes less than a week before WOC starts.
World Cup Round 1
Over the last week the opening round of the IOF World Cup has been taking place in Østfold, Norway, site of the 2019 World Championships. Although NZL originally had three entrants, injuries to Tim Robertson and Cameron de L’Isle meant that Toby Scott was ultimately the only Kiwi in the field.
Racing started with the long distance – 15k for the men with a 660 m climb. This featured several really long legs through the largely undulating terrain, interspersed with short steep climbs through the rock faces lining the edges of valleys. In an intensely exciting men’s race, victory went to reigning long distance world champion, and home favourite, Kasper Harlem Fosser by a mere 3 seconds over Sweden’s Emil Svensk, and only another 6 seconds ahead of Martin Regborn, also of Sweden. Only 9 seconds covering the three top places in a men’s long distance at this level is pretty well unprecedented. In the large field of nearly 130, Toby, after a steady run with just a couple of errors towards the end, finished 75th, 22 minutes down on Fosser.
The women’s race, 12 k in length, went to Tove Alexandersson, who had a margin of just uner a minute over fellow Swede Sara Hagstrom, with Norway’s Marie Olaussen in 3rd.
Men: 1. Kasper Harlem Fosser (NOR) 1:28:06, 2. Emil Svensk (SWE) 1:28:09, 3. Martin Regborn (SWE) 1:28:15, 4. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 1:30:26, 5. Joey Hadorn (SUI) 1:31:18. 6. Ruslaan Glibov (UKR) 1:31:24, 75. Toby Scott (NZL) 1:50:14.
Women: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 1:22:07, 2. Sara Hagstrom (SWE) 1:23:02, 3. Marie Olaussen (NOR) 1:26:50, 4. Andrine Benjaminsen (NOR) 1:28:27, 5. Marika Teini (FIN) 1:29:08, 6. Natalia Gemperle (SUI) 1:29:52.
The middle distance was not quite as dramatic. Fosser completed the double with a 16 second margin over Kyburz, there being 14 seconds back to Gustav Bergman in 3rd. Toby was again steady, finishing in a similar position to the long distance, 9 minutes down. Toby’s comment was that it was timewise expensive to deviate from the straight line, and his estimated dropped time of about 3 minutes was worth about 30 places. In the women’s race Hagstrom gained revenge over Alexandersson with a 10 second win. Natalia Gemperle, recently “transferred” from Russia to Switzerland, was 3rd.
Men: 1. Kasper Harlem Fosser 33:55, 2. Matthias Kyburz 34:11, 3. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 34:25, 4. Emil Svensk 35:37, 5. Olli Ojanaho (FIN) 35:41, 6. Lucas Basset (FRA) 35:43, 80. Toby Scott 42:57.
Women: 1. Sara Hagstrom 34:58, 2. Tove Alexandersson 35:08, 3. Natalia Gemperle 35:49, 4. Hanna Lundberg (SWE) 35:55, 5. Simona Aebersold (SUI) 36:29, 6. Marika Teini 36:43.
Organized at relatively short notice to replace the postponed ONZ Championships, the Easter 4-day in the Manawatu drew close to 300 competitors. With a reduced selection of classes the main focus was on the Men’s and Women’s open which encompassed both 21E and 20E, and were JWOC trials on days 1, 2 and 4, and WOC trials on days 2 and 4. Although it has appeared in a couple of training camps, Friday’s sprint was the first time the map of Palmerston North Boys HS and the adjacent Queen Elizabeth College has been used for an actual event. The limited, and devious, connections between the two schools saw planner Gillian Ingham come up with long route choice legs to link the two schools. These offered the choice of left around the footpaths, although getting out of PNBHS was necessarily straightforward, or right, round the edges of the playing fields. Depending on the chosen route there was then the problem of choosing whether to go clockwise or anti-clockwise around the main block of QEC. As can be seen below, the three fastest runners in Women’s Open, Lizzie Ingham (W21E winner), Laura Robertson )2nd W21E) and Kaia Joergensen (W20E winner), all took different routes. Lizzie, taking the right hand option had the fastest split of 2:07, while Laura (2:42) and Kaia (2:37), both about 30 s slower, went left but took different options in QEC. There were similar differences, on a slightly different leg) in the men where M20E winner Felix Hunt, 2nd and 3rd in M21E, Scott Smith and Jonty Oram, all went right and took significant time out of M21E winner Kurtis Shuker, who went left. To be fair, Kurtis also ran up a dead-end at the start of his route choice.
Behind Lizzie and Laura, Amber Riddle had a strong run to take 3rd in W21E, while the Babington sisters Anna and Katherine followed Kaia home in W20E, and Nathan Borton and Zefa Fa’avae took the minor placings in M20E.
M21E: 1. Kurtis Shuker (CM) 13:59, 2.Scott Smith (PP) 14:14, 3. Jonty Oram (AK) 14:35, 4. Will Tidswell (UC) 14:56, 5. Cillin Corbett (IRE) 14:59, 6. Oliver Egan (PP) 15:00.
W21E: 1. Lizzie Ingham (TK) 12:38, 2. Laura Robertson (HV) 13:13, 3. Amber Riddle (DN) 13:53, 4. Amelia Horne (RK) 14:10, 5. Niamh Corbett (AK) 15:20, 6. Heidi Stolberger (NW) 15:31.
M20E: 1. Felix Hunt (PP) 13:18, 2. Nathan Borton (AK) 13:38, 3. Zefa Fa’avae (NL) 14:22, 4. Eddie Swain (NL) 14:34, 5. Riley Croxford (NL) 15:02, 6. Tom Aish (AK) 15:11.
W20E: 1. Kaia Joergensen (PP) 13:22, 2. Anna Babington (PP) 13:50, 3. Katherine Babington (PP) 14:08, 4. Zara Stewart (AK) 14:31, 5. Rachel Baker (WN) 14:39, 6. Alicia McGivern (CM) 14:43.
Day 2 on Watchtower presented athletes with relatively low visibility forest where maintaining contact was crucial. No-one did this better than Zefa Fa’avae who had the fastest time on Course 1 by nearly 5 minutes. In M20E both he and Felix in second were faster than any of the M21Es. There was also an exceptional run in W20E from Rachel Baker who was 3rd fastest on Course 2 behind Lizzie and Laura, and well ahead of Kaia, 2nd in W20E.
M21E: 1. Will Tidswell 50:55, 2. Oliver Egan 50:57, 3. Kurtis Shuker 51:38, 4. Scott Smith 51:50, 5. Ed Cory-Wright (WN) 53:49, 6. Tane Cambridge (PP) 53:55.
W21E: 1. Lizzie Ingham 51:13, 2. Laura Robertson 53:27, 3. Amelia Horne 55:55, 4. Piret Klade (HB)1:00:09, 5. Tessa Ramsden (RK) 1:00:28, 6. Katie Cory-Wright (PP) 1:02:15.
M20E: 1. Zefa Fa’avae 43:39, 2. Felix Hunt 48:06, 3. Alex Jobbins (AK) 51:58, 4. Nathan Borton 54:33, 5. Fergus O’Neill (PP) 54:51, 6. Eddie Swain 56:45.
W20E: 1. Rachel Baker 53:46, 2. Kaia Joergensen 58:49, 3. Phoebe Hunt (PP) 59:34, 4. Katherine Babington 1:01:45, 5. Morag McLellan (HV) 1:06:14, 6. Zara Stewart 1:06:15.
Unfortunately, both days 3 and 4 fell victim to control removal. On Hydrabad, day 3, persons unknown cut the lock to the forest gate late at night and, as part of their unauthorised excursion in the forest, removed a control from Course 1. A mis-communication on the morning of the event meant that, even when this was discovered, the control was not replaced before the first M20E runners came to it. Thus, M20E was invalidated. In the 21Es wins went to Carsten Joergensen and Laura, while Kaia made it a family double by winning W20E.
M21E: 1. Carsten Joergensen (PP) 1:00:21, 2. Oliver Egan 1:03:46, 3. Liam Stolberger (NW) 1:06:42, 4. Tane Cambridge 1:07:40, 5. Will Tidswell 1:08:13, 6. Kurtis Shuker 1:09:03.
W20E: 1. Laura Robertson 59:11, 2. Amelia Horne 1:01:02, 3. Niamh Corbett 1:06:34, 4. Piret Klade 1:09:35, 5. Sarah O’Sullivan (WN) 1:11:56, 6. Tessa Ramsden 1:13:03.
M20E: Invalidated due to a control being removed.
W20E: 1. Kaia Joergensen 56:12, 2. Rachel Baker 59:34, 3. Katherine Babington 1:05:57, 4. Zara Stewart 1:10:34, 5. Phoebe Hunt 1:11:50, 6. Anna Babington 1:14:28.
The final day on Whirokino was even more eventful, with one competitor getting sufficiently confused as to convince him/herself (erroneously) that one control was in the wrong place and taking on the responsibility of moving it. By the time the control was replaced both the 20E classes had to be invalidated. In the 21Es Kurtis and Lizzie repeated their day 1 wins, with Will Tidswell and Laura in the runners-up positions.
M21E: 1. Kurtis Shuker 42:24, 2. Will Tidswell 42:26, 3. Scott Smith 45:16, 4. Carsten Joergensen 46:21, 5. Ed Cory-Wright 47:06, 6. Oliver Egan 47:25.
W21E: 1. Lizzie Ingham 38:29, 2. Laura Robertson 39:05, 3. Amelia Horne 40:20, 4. Katie Cory-Wright 42:13, 5. Claire Flynn (BP) 45;37, 6. Tessa Ramsden 47:21.
M20E: Invalidated due to a control being temporarily moved.
W20E: Invalidated due to a control being temporarily moved.
The sprint on Day 1 of Easter was part of the National Sprint League. With 5 events to count out of 7, and with just the rearranged ONZ Sprint to come, the position in the men’s and women’s competitions are very different. In the women, Lizzie Ingham has the competition sewn up, now with the maximum 500 points. Molly McGowan, the only other, at this stage, with 5 races counting, sites second, but only about 60 points ahead of Anna Babington and Amber Riddle who both have only 4 scores to date. In the men, similarly Kieran Woods and Jonty Oram are the only 2 with 5 scores and sit 1st and 2nd. However, Kurtis Shuker, after 2 wins in taupo in March and a strong Easter race is well within striking distance. Felix Hunt and Nathan Borton, both likely contenders have been badly hurt by their controversial mis-punches in Lincoln.
The top 10 in each of the men and women are as follows, with number of counting scores in brackets. Full tables can be found on the ONZ web site.
Men: 1. Kieran Woods 425.4 (5), 2. Jonty Oram 415.7 (5), 3. Kurtis Shuker 374.4 (4), 4. Tyler McCavitt 323.6 (4), 5. Riley Croxford 323.3 (4), 6. Eddie Swain 319.3 (4), 7. Felix Hunt 292.7 (3), 8. Matt Ogden 291.0 (3), 9. Nathan Borton 281.8 (3), 10. Scott Smith 262.4 (3).
Women: 1. Lizzie Ingham 500.0 (5), 2. Molly McGowan 422.8 (5), 3. Anna Babington 360.0 (4), 4. Amber Riddle 359.0 (4) 5. Alicia McGivern 338.2 (4), 6. Phoebe Hunt 313.3 (4), 7. Heidi Stolberger 310.8 (4), 8. Kaia Joergensen 289.2 (3), 9. Amelia Horne 277.4 (3), 10=. Katherine Babington 267.8 (3), 10= Zara Stewart 267.8 (3).
Anzac Training Camp
Two weeks after Easter another long weekend of orienteering hit Horowhenua/Manawatu in the form of a 5-day High Performance camp built around the North Island Secondary School Championships. This was attended by about a dozen, mainly junior elite, athletes, including about half of the selected JWOC team. For the first 3 days training was planned for after the respective NISS event (although it was so wet on day 2, that this was abandoned), and followed by more training exercises on the two subsequent days.
Following the NISSC sprint on Wanganui High School, which features a complex, but compact, there was a series of mass start sprint intervals. The long distance on Knottingley, on Saturday, was extremely wet, and the planned post-race exercise was deferred to Monday. However, the day was not lost as, on return to Waitarere Beach, and in much improved weather, there was an excursion on to the north end of Hydrabad for night training. Following control collection after the NISS Relay on Sunday, an expanded group stopped off at Foxton Beach for relay training in the forest, followed by an excursion on to the extensive rough open dunes.
Monday saw a full day in Knottingley which started with exercises testing direction, pacing, terrain recognition and relocation. These were followed by a mass start star exercise and the day finished with a standard course. The final short day, Anzac Day, saw a return to Watchtower for O intervals, a short line course, and again finishing with a short course. Unfortunately, since Easter, 2 weeks early, thinning has started at the southern end, and a wonderful technical, low visibility, area is slowly being changed dramatically.
Thanks must go to Michael Croxford and Gillian Ingham who helped with transport, and to Red Kiwi and Taranaki clubs for allowing us to intrude around the NISS Champs.
Oceania Sprint Championships 2024
The joint NZL/AUS proposal for the introduction of a separate Oceania Sprint Championships, starting next year, has now been through the IOF Foot-O Commission and will go the next IOF Council meeting in mid-May.
King’s Birthday Pinestars-Bushrangers Test Match
After a Covid-induced hiatus of a few years, King’s Birthday will again host a NZL Pinestars v AUS Bushrangers Test Match in M21E, W21E, M20E and W20E. The Australians have asked for team sizes of 2 each in M21E, W21E, 3 in W20E and 6 in M20E.
A NZL team will be selected from those entered in the appropriate classes by the closing date.