The ACT won the Australian Schools Orienteering Championships for the first time since 2006. They scored consistently across all three races, and had enough in hand to be able to withstand a mispunch in the junior boys’ relay, winning by five points from Queensland. South Australia, who got off to a great start through winning three of the four sprint races (through Angus Haines, Dante Afnan and Joanna George), came third in their best result since 2003.
Patrick Jaffe, after being surprised by Haines in the sprint, came good on the long distance day to win by more than five minutes, and then anchored the Victorian senior boys to a relay win. Caroline Pigerre kept her head whilst others lost theirs to give the Queenslanders something to cheer about in the senior girls (Tara Melhuish having won the sprint), while Tristan Miller took the junior boys. Sofie Safkova gave New Zealand their only individual triumph, but their depth across all classes gave them a comprehensive victory in the Southern Cross Junior Challenge.
The junior boys’ relay was one of the most dramatic run in Australia in recent memory. The top four were within seconds of each other for almost all of the second and third legs, and it looked to have become a race in two when Tristan Miller (ACT) and Alvin Craig (NSW) broke away from Sebastian Sakfa (NZ) on the climb into the final spectator control, but both went too high on the second-last control to allow Safka to slip through for the win (as it turned out the ACT had mispunched anyway).
ASOC scores: ACT 66, Queensland 61, SA 58, NSW 47, Tasmania 43, Victoria 39, WA 13.
SCJC scores: NZ 93, ACT 68, Queensland 61, SA 58, NSW 47, Tasmania 43, Victoria 40, WA 13.
The All-Australian Honour Team was also named at the end of the event:
Senior boys: Ewan Barnett (ACT), Joseph Dickinson (Tas), Angus Haines (SA), Patrick Jaffe (Vic).
Senior girls: Rachel Allen (Tas), Jo-Anna Maynard (WA), Tara Melhuish (ACT), Caroline Pigerre (Qld).
Junior boys: Dante Afnan (SA), Alvin Craig (NSW), Ryan Gray (Qld), Noah Poland (ACT).
Junior girls: Joanna George (SA), Mikaela Gray (Qld), Zoe Melhuish (ACT), Emily Sorensen (SA).