Grace Crane and Aston Key took the honours in today’s National Orienteering League long distance race, at the SA State Championships at Crooked Straight near Renmark. It was Key’s seventh win from nine rounds, while Crane took her third victory of the season, all of them in long distance races.
Key ended up with a reasonably comfortable win, over three minutes clear of the rest of the field. Alastair George, having an impressive first senior year, challenged for a time, but Key had broken away by the one-hour mark and was not seriously pushed thereafter. The main excitement was in a three-way battle for second between George, Brodie Nankervis and Patrick Jaffe, eventually resolved over the last couple of controls with Nankervis edging away from George.
Crane was also a comfortable winner in the end, with her most likely challenger, Saturday winner Krystal Neumann, falling out of contention after losing seven minutes at #17. Olivia Sprod always stayed within striking distance but never quite got to the front, with Crane a bit under two minutes clear at the finish, and Neumann recovering to take third.
The women’s result sets up a close race for the League individual title, with Sprod holding a narrow edge over Crane going into the final, while the Southern Arrows have the edge over Victoria in the team event, with the Canberra Cockatoos and Queensland Cyclones also still in contention. Key has a commanding lead in the men’s competition, as does Victoria in the team event.
David Stocks and Emily Sorensen both backed up their Saturday junior wins to end up in front on Sunday, too. The result further consolidates Sorensen’s overall lead, and brings Stocks within a few points of current leader Ewan Shingler with the final to come at Broulee in three weeks.