OrangeA strong contingent of Tasmanian orienteers made its way to Orange over Easter to take part in the Australian 3-day championships. This series of races was scheduled to take place in 2020, but due to COVID, was postponed until 2021. While this gave us an extra year to hone our orienteering skills, it also gave the forest another year to grow a little thicker, the visibility to reduce to nearly zero and the technical challenge to escalate to AMOST IMPOSSIBLE.

On Day 1, we were treated to a new area of tightly-packed rock, unusual cliff formations and criss-crossing middle-distance courses that kept us on our toes. Most of us rose to the challenge, shook off the ‘Day 1’ nerves and started to relax, secure in the knowledge that we hadn’t ‘blown it’ out of the blocks.

This turned out to be a huge mistake.

Day 2 threw out a whole new challenge, introducing many orienteers to brand new levels of ‘hard navigation’. On top of the incredibly complex rock, scattered areas of slow run meant that the visibility was low, making it extremely difficult to navigate confidently. And as soon as confidence wavered, small mistakes compounded into large mistakes, even larger mistakes, and finally, the realization that being ‘lost’ in the forest wasn’t just a figure of speech.  Despite this, many of those who managed to soldier on and finish their courses were pleasantly surprised that, far from being last, they were in the top half of the field; or in some cases, were actually winning.

Fortunately, Day 3 took us to a different part of the map, introducing us to some fast, open hillsides covered with scattered rock. However, the second half of most courses threw us back into the low-visibility forest, resulting in a few more blow-outs – even from those who had fared well the previous day.

Overall, however, Tasmanians continued to punch above their weight, with many age-class wins and top five results. Special mention must be made of our junior orienteers, who performed exceptionally well on very challenging courses.

Top 5 placegetters:

M18 E – Niko Stoner – 3rd

W18E – Zali McComb – 4th

W18E – Julia Powell-Davies – 5th

W20E – Arabella Phillips – 3rd

M14A – Eddie Stoner – 2nd

W14A – Liana Stubbs – 2nd

M16 A – Jett McComb – 4th

W16A – Tara Powell – 4th

W21A – Anna Dowling – 1st

W21AS – Nicola Marshall – 1st

M40A – Matthew Cohen – 4th

W45AS – Clare Hawthorne – 1st

M50A – Jon McComb – 3rd

W50A – Cathy McComb – 2nd

M55A – Jemery Day – 3rd

W55A – Sue Hancock – 1st

W55A – Christine Marshall – 3rd

M55AS – Geoff Powell – 3rd

W60A – Christine Brown – 1st

M65A – David Marshall – 3rd

M65A – Jeff Dunn – 5th

W65A – Jan Hardy – 5th

M70A – Greg Hawthorne – 5th

Women Open B – Hermione Powell-Davies – 1st

Family Relay - Nico, Eddie and Anthony Stoner - 3rd