The 2018 Australian Orienteering Championships Carnival, hosted by South Australia, proved to be a fun and worthwhile experience for the Tasmanian Schools Team. While the Team as a whole did not place in the tight Schools Competition, coming 7th, every member showed great potential and skill with some fantastic runs.
Over the Schools Championships the Team only had one individual placegetter - Jed who came 3rd Senior Boy in the Sprint - but the Team picked up a few other medals. The Senior Girls were 3rd in the Relay and both the Sprint Teams Competition and Long Teams Competition. The Senior Boys grabbed 3rd in the Long Teams Competition.
The Carnival began with the Team travelling from Adelaide to Renmark. On the way a few stops were made to some of Coach Jon’s highlights of SA. This included the Nippy’s factory outlet (for chocolate milk) and an adventure playground (it was good in the 70’s according to Jon). The Team was able to bond from the get go travelling in one big bus. Cheers to Mick for being the driver.
The Renmark Hotel found space to fit the entirety of the Australian and New Zealand Schools Teams, although some unlucky people had to sleep on air mattresses that had a habit of deflating. With catering for breakfast, lunch and dinner the Team feasted like royals for the duration of the stay.
The semi-arid terrain of SA's Riverland provided open and runnable terrain, but little shelter from the SA heat. The Australian Middle Championships ("Crooked Straight") proved to be technically challenging with deep erosion gullies and many changes in direction. The Australian Relay Championships ("Bunyip Beach") the next day offered similar terrain and a big cliff to avoid at the start of the race.
Sunday night was the opening ceremony of the Schools Championships, although this competition did not start until Tuesday. Photos were taken of all the teams in uniform despite the fact that Tasmania appears to be missing in the official group photo. The start draw was also held for the Schools Sprint, creating some nerves and excitement for the upcoming events.
Monday was the hottest day of the trip and was the day of the Australian Sprint Championships. This was held at the Renmark District School and was a good challenge with complex buildings and sections of longer running. After the race the Team made their way to Adelaide on a long and hot bus trip. This ultimately ended in an unplanned stop at a McDonald’s for Jack who had drunk too much iced tea during the drive.
The first Schools event, the Sprint Championships at "Keithcot Farm", was held on Tuesday. The sloping campus and buildings close together provided a very technical sprint. Many uncrossable fences, hedge trimmings and a little bit of construction work were also things the Team had to look out for. The Fingal training camp proved to be useful for this event as the sprint training at St Mary’s posed similar issues with construction around the school.
A new type of terrain was seen for the Schools Long Championships, the dreaded vague and thick pine forest with rootmounds as features. A cool change had come through and this made the Team feel more at home and the majority of the Team had fantastic runs. The Schools Relay Championships were held at the nearby Mt Crawford, also in pine plantations.
Friday was the one and only rest day of the Carnival. Some of the Team opted for a sleep in, while most got up early for a trip to the Adelaide Markets and Rundle Mall. Late in the morning they all caught up to complete the scavenger hunt. This scavenger hunt involved activities such as running in unison across the Adelaide Uni footbridge (it moves up and down when you do this), creating the letters FUIC!!!! (Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee!!!!) out of the whole team and hunting for some very small and very large clothing for people it would never fit. The team also had a peek up the giant Scotsman’s kilt and definitely did not use Mena to put a spurposting sticker on his golden undies.
There were also some more personal challenges. Sophie ate a pie floater - a meat pie in pea soup with tomato sauce, Charlie was baptised off the Glenelg Pier and Jack & Jed tried to consume 2 litres of iced coffee and a bag of Fruchocs (dried apricot in chocolate) in the fastest time possible. The latter ended in both members being decidedly and violently unwell.
The Australian Long Championships tested the endurance of the team. The pine forest it was held in was older than the previous events and made it much easier to see and run through. There was also a bit of native bush and a wedding to add some variety. Unfortunately Jon met his match with this course, retiring with a calf injury and having to crawl to a nearby road to be rescued.
The final event for Carnival was the SA Middle Championships on the final day of the trip. After a long trip and daylight savings causing the team to wake up at the equivalent of 4:30 am the Team was tired, but put in a great effort for this race. Coach Chris and Will completed their courses in the Team's cheerleader outfits from the Disco. They looked fab but maybe could have shaved their legs.
Everyone was sad to say goodbye after an enjoyable carnival. While the results may not have been the best in terms of podium placings, everyone put in a great effort and we thank the other competitors for the great competition. The Team also thanks Manager Meisha, her assistant Miriam and of course Jon, Chris and Mick.