Queensland have easily won the Australian Schools Orienteering Championships after continuing their dominance in today’s relays. They were second in all three relays which were completed, behind two New Zealand teams and one from the ACT. This was enough for them to extend their lead further to 13 points over the ACT.
The closest finish of the day was in the senior boys’ relay. Five of the six official teams were within two minutes of each other after the first leg, but Oliver Crosato (Qld) and Toby Scott (NZ) broke away from the pack on the second leg. New Zealand were heavily favoured from there with individual champion Scott McDonald on the last leg, but Joshua Neumann hung in there and was still just off the lead at the final spectator control. It was not until the last kilometre that McDonald finally broke away, winning by just over a minute. Tasmania just held onto third despite a storming finish by the ACT’s Lachlan Dow.
Queensland and New Zealand might also have been expected to dominate the senior girls, and that was the way it looked after the first leg when they were two of the three leading teams. It was, however, the third member of that trio, the ACT, who emerged to dominate the second half of the relay, as Naomi Mitchell made the decisive break early on the second leg. She gave Belinda Lawford a five-minute lead to take into the final leg, and the JWOC representative was never going to surrender that, extending it further in the day’s fastest run. Queensland were second, whilst, after striking trouble on the second leg, Kate Morrison came through from fourth on the last leg and won a sprint finish for third with Tasmania’s Sarah Buckerfield that could have been crucial for the Southern Cross Junior Challenge.
Rebekah Sunley gave Victoria the early lead in the junior girls’, but New Zealand’s Jula McMillan passed her late on the first leg, and from there it was one-way traffic as first individual winner Selena Metherell, then Laura Robertson, lowered the day’s fastest time. Queensland were equally comfortable from the second leg onwards as the leading state team, ten minutes ahead of the Victorians. The junior boys’ relay was declared a no-race after some teams received incorrect maps.
New Zealand retained the Southern Cross Junior Challenge by three points from Queensland. It was an unfortunate result for the Queenslanders who would have tied but for the problem in the junior boys’ (which did not affect either team).
Team points for Australian Schools Championships: Qld 47, ACT 34, Tas 32, NSW 30, Vic 27, SA 9, WA 7.
Southern Cross Junior Challenge: NZ 52, Qld 49, ACT 36, Tas 32, NSW 30, Vic 27, SA 9, WA 7.
Full results are expected to be available on the OA results page later today.