The first round of the SuperSeries at Waitangi weekend offers New Zealand orienteers their first chance to stake claims for selection in the teams for the Senior and Junior World Championships to be held in Scotland and Norway respectively later in the year. The SuperSeries, with an individual’s best 10 of 14 races to count, will be run over 5 rounds culminating at the Queen’s Birthday multiday event in Auckland.
This weekend’s three sprint distance races are part of a series of seven races organized by PAPO, starting at Ferrymead Heritage Park on Friday morning and finishing at Lincoln University on Sunday afternoon. In between separate races will take place at various locations around Banks Peninsula including on Quail Island and at Akaroa. The sprint distance looms particularly important for Kiwi athletes on the world stage with New Zealand eligible to enter 3 men and 3 women in the sprint distance in Scotland, and double that number in Norway,
In the absence of sprint specialist and junior world champion Tim Robertson (OHV) the top men’s performances are likely to come from the trio of Matt Ogden and Gene Beveridge of North West and Nick Hann of Wellington. These three were the stand-out New Zealand men at the recent World Cup races in Tasmania, with Ogden’s performance in the middle distance race there having already gained him automatic entry for the World Championships at that distance. The top junior men are harder to pick although Wellington’s Shamus Morrison and the Auckland duo of Cameron Tier and Matt Goodall should figure prominently. Local PAPO boy Ed Cory-Wright may also be one to watch.
With Lizzie Ingham overseas, it is difficult to go past Hutt Valley’s Laura Robertson in the women’s field. However, having picked up an ankle injury in Tasmania, if Robertson is not at full fitness she may be pushed to hold out PAPO’s Georgia Whitla. There will also be strong interest in the performances of two more juniors, PAPO’s Katie Cory-Wright and Counties’ Danielle Goodall, while North West’s Lauren Holmes, top performer from the New Zealand Schools’ team, is another promising prospect.