Mikayla Cooper and Josh Allen, both 16, crossed the ditch over the weekend to don the green and gold. Joining them was our now Melbourne based elite Brodie Nankervis. They were all representing Australia in the Bushrangers Team against the New Zealand Pinestars for the annual ANZ Challenge.
This is a friendly competition between our two nations and has a focus on development. It's an opportunity for aspiring elites, like Mikayla and Josh, to gain international race experience and learn from the advice of established elites like Brodie. And for Brodie, it's a chance to orienteer in unfamiliar terrain prior to the World Championships in Latvia this August.
Located just north of Auckland, there were four events over three days - all in complex sand dunes with low visibility. Many Tasmanians will be familiar with the maps used from their participation in Oceania and the World Masters Games back in 2017.
Both Mikayla and Josh took away a lot from their trip. Coping with independent travel and facing new terrain under pressure, the young orienteers managed to produce a lot of clean controls including some very impressive splits. Brodie also ran well which bodes well for his World Championships campaign. But the New Zealanders were much stronger and more consistent at home and comfortably took out the competition. Here are the Results