A glorious day welcomed competitors to the NSW Sprint Championships at Lake Alexandra in Mittagong on the Southern Highlands. The terrain was a good mixture of open school buildings, intricate track networks and runnable bush sprinkled with sandstone cliffs. The two start locations thrust the competitors into intricate orienteering immediately, with many inexperienced ‘sprinters’ finding the course a tough technical challenge.
Dave Shepherd, recently returned from the World Orienteering Championships, took the men’s title even though, like many others, he lost some time at the 5th control, with some fresh unmapped tracks causing trouble. This control was the only time he relinquished the lead, with Steve Todkill (making a return to orienteering after a couple of years in the wilderness) stealing it for a solitary leg. The podium spots went to Eric Morris and Rob Preston.
The women’s class was close, with three ACT women jostling for the lead. By the 10th control Anna Quayle had opened a 41 second lead over Jo Allison, with Shannon Jones a further 15 seconds adrift. Unfortunately Quayle lost it all at the 13th, with Allison coming through to lead them home. Jones and Quayle rounded out the top three.
Veteran Rob Vincent showed he can still cut with the big boys with a winning time in the M40A class that would have been good enough for sixth in M21A. Daniel Hill, a young Sydney-sider streaked the field in the M10A to win by a huge5:14, maybe the next big thing for JWOC 2016? The veteran classes seemed to be riddled with mistakes and in a few cases it was the cleanest run that took the victory, although Dave Lotty (M60A) was still able to make errors and win. M75A was decided in the finish chute with Brian Johnson turning an eight second deficit into a one second victory.
Recently returned JWOC manager Hilary Wood took her first State title in winning W50A; she was trailing fellow Central Coast runner Robyn Pallas until Robyn lost three minutes in finding the ninth control. Southern Highlands local Val Hodsdon won the W55A class, though she did punch two extra controls along the way.
Full results and splits can be find on the Southern Highlands Orienteers’ website.