Aston Key and Grace Crane are the senior National Orienteering League champions for 2021 after today’s final individual round in the sand-dune terrain of Broulee. Key started in front in the chasing-start format and was never headed, doing the day’s fastest time in his eighth win from ten 2021 rounds, with Patrick Jaffe and Brodie Nankervis in the minor placings. It was a much tighter affair for the women, with Crane and Olivia Sprod going out together. Crane edged away over the course to take the overall victory, while Krystal Neumann won the day and did enough to push the South Australian out of second overall.
Both junior classes saw lead changes on the individual season’s final day. In the junior men’s one control was decisive. David Stocks led almost from the start, but needed to make up two minutes on Ewan Shingler, and for most of the course could not quite bridge that gap, but Shingler lost over two minutes at #18, and that was enough. In W20, Nea Shingler needed to catch 2.40 on Emily Sorensen and did so by mid-course, but there was a twist to come – both lost major time on #13, but with third-placed Mikayla Cooper also well off the pace today, they were still battling for the overall lead. This battle was resolved in Shingler’s favour over the last two controls. With the favourites all losing time heavily, Erika Enderby broke through for her first race win, with Natalie Miller also getting easily her best result yet with second.
The senior women will have the closest team competition, with the competition likely to go to whoever finishes highest in tomorrow’s relay out of Victoria, the Southern Arrows and the Canberra Cockatoos, separated by only two points. (A Queensland Cyclones win is also still mathematically possible but would require an improbable set of results). Victoria will win the senior men’s title with a third place or better, with the Cockatoos the closest challenger, and are also in a straight fight with the NSW Stingers for the junior men’s title. The Arrows are in the junior women’s box seat, and will be assured of the title with a second place.