Today saw the opening race of the 2009 Australian Schools Orienteering Championships provide plenty of spectacle and suspense.
Today’s individal race near Bendigo Vic saw all our categories have race wins of less than 50secs. On a map that was predicted to be a fast running map and with far better weather than the 3 previous days, the competition was fast and furious.
In the Junior Boys category WA created history with Oscar McNulty becoming the first ever West Australian male to win an individual gold at the australian schools championships in the 20yrs that WA have competed. Oscar won by 36secs from Oliver Poland (ACT) with Liam Paterson placing 3rd from NZ. The race was effectively decided at the first control; Oscar had a 35-second lead there, and the margin was between 24 and 40 seconds for the rest of the race.
Jacqui Doyle from Qld took the win in the junior girls with a 12 sec win from Michele Dawson (NSW). Qld showed their strength in the junior girls class with Rebecca Freese placing 3rd.
Local hope Max Neve stole a win on local terrain to take a win in the Senior Boys, as the lead changed several times throughout the mornings race. Max ran the senior boys course of 8.1km in a time of 37.16, 50secs ahead of Lachlan Dow (ACT) followed by Gene Beveridge of NZ.
Suspense came in the result of the Senior Girls class as Angela Simpson of NZ stealing a win from Belinda Lawford by 1sec after trailing for virtually the entire course. Belinda was the only Australian in the top four, with Laura Robertson from NZ a further 39secs back and Selena Metherell just behind that.
New Zealand are comfortable leaders of the Southern Cross Junior Challenge, but the state competition looms as a thriller. Queensland are three points ahead of a three-way tie between the ACT, NSW and Tasmania.
Tommorrow’s relay on the same map shapes up to be a block buster as everyone has now had a run on the fast open terrain and have dialed in their understanding of the area.