Cockatoos dominate 2013 SILVA National Orienteering League

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The Canberra Cockatoos dominated the 2013 SILVA National Orienteering League, winning three out of four team titles and three individual titles.

The closest team competition was the senior women’s. The Cockatoos and defending champions, the Victorian Nuggets, went into the season’s final race level. The Nuggets had a four-minute lead going into the final leg and were still in front at the spectator control, but, as with last year, the title came down to the last few controls of the last race. Jo Allison slipped through for the Cockatoos when Kathryn Preston made a late mistake, and while Preston did her best to come back over the last few controls she fell 50 metres short. A good final week saw the Tassie Foresters in third place.

The Cockatoos senior men led by only a point going into the season’s final week, but always looked to have something in hand, with the return of Dave Shepherd from injury adding depth to an already strong team. The Nuggets still had a mathematical chance of winning before the last race of the season, but beating the Cockatoos by two places was always going to be a tall order, and never came close to happening. The NSW Stingers were third.

The Cockatoos were even more dominant in the junior men’s competition, securing victory long before the season’s end. The one break to their monopoly came in the junior women’s class, where the Nuggets held off a fast-finishing Stingers team by two points, Tasmania’s relay win preventing the Stingers from getting the points they needed to overhaul their opponents.

Lanita Steer (VIC)- with Silva NOL Junior Women's trophy.

Lanita Steer (VIC)- with Silva NOL Junior Women’s trophy.

The Cockatoos also won three individual titles. Despite missing the first two rounds, Lizzie Ingham’s eight successive wins made sure she had a comfortable lead over Grace Crane in the senior women’s event, while Matt Crane had a similarly easy victory by winning seven races in a season where no-one else won more than one.

Heather Muir was not as dominant as the two senior winners, but a season of consistent performances – three wins and seven seconds – was enough to see her emerge from a closely-bunched junior women’s field and secure the one non-Cockatoos individual title with a round to space. The one class which came down to the final day was the junior men’s, a contest between Cockatoos and JWOC teammates Ian Lawford and Oliver Poland which was settled by Lawford’s win in the Australian Middle Distance Championships.