From Orienteering Tasmania:
The third round of the 2011 Silva National Orienteering League kicked off yesterday in Northern Tasmania with the round being the final selection trials for the Australian team to contest the World Championships this August in France.
The morning race was held in and around the UTAS Newnham campus with the morning fog persisting for the public race but fortunately clearing for the start of the junior divisions of this sprint distance format event of the National League. The afternoon race was held on a glorious late autumn afternoon on the Ben Bullen map at Diddleum Plains with magnificent views across to the east face of Mt Barrow for this middle distance format event held in conjunction with the Tasmanian Middle Distance Championships.
The morning race was a classic sprint format competition. Quick decision making and execution of precise navigation was a key to success in orienteering in and around the campus. In the junior divisions the top 5 men were separated by less than a minute with Launceston’s Oscar Phillips emerging victorious from Max Neve of the Victorian Nuggets and Ian Lawford of the Canberra Cockatoos. Lawford’s sister Belinda was a clear winner in the junior women’s division from Hobart siblings Claire and Rebecca Butler.
In the Senior Men’s division, Julian Dent of the NSW Stingers again showed he is Australia’s best male orienteer in all formats by taking out the race by 14 seconds from Simon Uppill of the Southern Arrows with Bruce Arthur of the Victorian Nuggets rounding out the top 3. The Canberra Cockatoos dominate the Senior Women’s division by taking out all places. New Zealand national Lizzie Ingham took out her first victory for the Cockatoos by a clear 51 second margin with teammates Mace Neve and Shannon Jones dead heating for 2nd.
Competitors then had a couple of hour’s break which included a 45 minute drive east to Diddleum for the days second race held with the Tasmanian Middle Distance Championships. In the Open Women’s division, Vanessa Round (Southern Arrows) and Kathryn Ewels (Victorian Nuggets) used their international experience to take out the top 2 places with Lizzie Ingham continuing her excellent weekend by rounding out the top 3. Team mate, Belinda Lawford also continued a dominant start to the weekend by easily winning the junior women’s division from Tasmanian duo Amy Buckerfield and Rebecca Phillips.
Speaking of domination, Julian Dent again led the way from Simon Uppill with a comfortable 2 minute margin with Murray Scown (Canberra Cockatoos) having a good race to round out the top 3. Over in the Junior Men’s division Oliver Poland (Canberra Cockatoos) was a narrow victor over Oscar Phillips and Ian Lawford was again 3rd. The junior men’s division was a tight race for orienteering with less than 7 minutes separating the top 12.
As this was a selection trial a lot was on the line in putting your name up in front of the selectors. The wet and boggy marshes from the recent period of wet weather in Tasmania and the cutting grass in one or two of the gullies claimed a few “victims” as competitors strove to “go the extra yard”. The aggressive running NSW Stinger Julian Dent confronted the cutting grass and Victorian Nugget Kathryn Ewels was one of a number to hit one of the extra boggy marshes.