Friday, April 10, 2009

A-Meet Update: The Flying Pig

DVOA, US Relay Champions 2009

The Flying Pig is a long-running and well-respected A-Meet usually organized by OCIN (Orienteering Cincinnati) in early spring. This year's edition took place from April 3-5 and featured a middle distance, sprint, and long distance, as well as the US Relay Championships. Just as last week, we have a guest correspondent to report on the happenings at the Pig. Get out your English dictionaries for this fantastic write-up by US Team runner and DVOA star Clem McGrath:

It is not libelous to assert that OCIN’s whimsically titled Flying Pig event is typically visited by blood, sweat, and tears. And mud, most of the time. But not this year. Yes, there was a lot of sweat, may have been some blood, and perhaps tears, but the porcine or goatish offerings the OCIN crowd made in the days before the competition were sufficient to ward off precipitation. Instead, a large, and largely Slavic elite field basked in mostly delightful weather and enjoyed a delightful schedule of fiercely pitched competitions.

Friday featured middle courses at McFarlan Woods, in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. While it didn’t really rain during the competition, the ground was soft from recent rains. But footing was generally good, even on the few steeper slopes. The courses were well done, with conventional middle legs at the beginning and ending of the courses bracketing a high intensity control picking soiree through fairly open karst-like topography. Nothing too difficult, physically or technically.

On the men’s side, as he was to do all weekend, Jon Torrance, a Canuck living in our midst, in the capital of the US no less, showed fine form. He finished nearly a minute up on Eric Bone, who was 30 seconds ahead of Magnus Johansson, a Swede living undercover in Canada. If there is a pattern here, I leave it to the reader to deduce what Eric Bone is doing, but I digress.

On the women’s side, Angelica Riley was 50 seconds in front of Corrine Porter. Peggy Dickison was third, a little further back. Of note, junior Tori Borish was just 2.5 minutes out of the medals.

Corinne Porter, DVOA and Jon Torrance, OOC in the middle distance race

We arose Saturday to a brilliant morning. This day was to feature not just a US Team benefit sprint, but also the US Relay Championships, an event taken very seriously by some, and poorly understood by others.

The Elite Sprint was hotly contested at Burnet Woods in Cincinnati. Corrine Porter led the way for the women, with a nice run in 19:52. Tori Borish also did well, just one minute back. On the mens’ side, the Americans were muscled out by more Slavs. Serghei Logvin, a Canadian, a Slav, a junior, and likely many other things, cruised to an impressive win in 14:43. Magnus was 39 seconds back, and another Canadian Slav edged Mr. Torrance out of the medals for the only time this weekend. However, a notable performance was put in by John Hensley Williams, a 17 year old from GAOC, who came in 5th.

John Hensley Williams, a junior and best American in the sprint

After some lunch and rehydration, the contenders moved across town to the arena at Mt. Airy Forest for the main event of the day: the US Relay Championships. While the Delaware Valley Orienteering Association (DVOA) has won this event many times, and for the past several years, and were ready to take on all comers, even the most cocksure DVOA partisan could not deny that teams from Cascade and a motley crew of Canadians, styling themselves as the “Trans Canada Express” were there to represent.

The crowd would not be disappointed. Leading off, Jon Torrance laid down some smack, opening a lead of over 5 minutes over DVOA stalwart Gregory Balter. Drew Inglis of Cascade was a further 4 minutes back. Some of the crowd in the cheap seats started packing up to go home, assuming that the game was over. Others, who just wanted to see DVOA get their comeuppance, were making themselves comfortable. What was going to happen? Was Jon Torrance setting aside room for yet another medal premature?

The second leg was a lot closer. DVOA started to make its move, with Angelica Riley of DVOA clearing Tori Borish of Cascade by a minute. Tori was 30 seconds up on Andrea Balakova from the TCE. Things were getting interesting, no?

On to the third leg. DVOA’s Wyatt Riley and Cascade’s Nikolay Nachev were locked in a heated battle. While their times were almost the same, Wyatt’s 2 second advantage must not be overlooked. That was just the sort of extra effort that can lead to a championship. But, what about Canada’s 5 minute lead? 2 seconds won’t do much to chip away at Torrance’s smackdown. It turns out that Cascade and DVOA were able to exploit a relative weakness in Canada’s lineup. Wyatt (and Nikolay) ran through the Express. It was an entirely new ballgame going into the last inning.

DVOA was now where they always like to be. In the lead. This year, Sergei Zhyk came forth to run the last leg. Well rested, he just had to hold on to a few minute lead. But, Eric Bone, a seasoned pro and a fierce relay competitor is one to be reckoned with. So is Magnus Johansson. What would happen? Could Sergei do it?

The winning DVOA Team: Greg, Sergei, Angelica, and Wyatt

Of course. Although Magnus and Eric (on slightly different forkings) had kicking runs (Eric had almost 3:30 on Sergei on the last leg) the overall outcome was never in doubt. The battle for second was, however. But, Eric’s clutch play could not be overcome. He fished 20 seconds clear of Magnus to take 2nd.

After all that excitement on Saturday, who could possibly rise to the occasion to do battle in Sunday’s long? Jon Torrance, that’s who. But, in what was probably the most competitive race of the weekend, Jon had his work cut out for him. He finished only 19 seconds clear of Magnus and a minute clear of Eric. And Eric just barely (by 4 seconds) edged out Wyatt Riley. Wyatt, in 4th, was a minute clear of Nikolay. Wow! 5 guys in 2.5 minutes. Not bad. The women’s elite race was also tight. Corinne Porter would take her 2nd of the three available F21 golds in Sunday’s race, while Tori Borish edged out Angelica Riley for silver.

Tori Borish of COC, one of the week-end's stars

It was a glorious weekend of racing in Ohio. Your correspondent, who has been to numerous Flying Pig races over the years, rates this as one of the finest. The weather was no doubt a factor, but the high quality event organization, fine maps, and good course setting, earned many plaudits.

Maps (from RouteGadget)

Middle distance

Long distance

US Relay Championships

Summary of Results

Middle distance

1 Nathaniel Lyons 92 ROC 36:05
2 John Hensley Williams 92 GAOC 36:50
3 Carl Underwood 93 NEOC 38:51

1 Taylor Daughtry 94 HOC 39:04
2 Mary Hamilton 91 OLOU 45:34
3 Shania Bridges 94 HOC 63:41

1 Jon Torrance 71 OOC 33:37
2 Eric Bone 74 COC 34:25
3 Magnus Johansson 73 GVOC 34:53

1 Angelica Riley 70 DVOA 42:08
2 Corinne Porter 84 DVOA 42:59
3 Peggy Dickison 60 QOC 48:28


Men, 2.25km, 60m, 15c
1 Serghei Logvin 91 GHO 14:43
2 Magnus Johansson 73 GVOC 15:22
3 Igor Palagnyuk 86 TOC 15:34

Women, 2.25km, 60m, 15c
1 Corinne Porter 84 DVOA 19:52
2 Tori Borish 89 COC 20:54
3 Andrea Balakova 77 GVOC 22:38


M20, 8.2km, 400m, 14c
1 Carl Underwood 93 NEOC 58:49
2 Nathaniel Lyons 92 ROC 60:31
3 John H Williams 92 GAOC 62:24

F20, 5.8km, 290m, 10c

1 Taylor Daughtry 94 HOC 60:04
2 Shania Bridges 94 HOC 66:43
3 Mary Hamilton 91 OLOU 74:16

M21, 11.5km, 490m, 17c
1 Jon Torrance 71 OOC 76:12
2 Magnus Johansson 73 GVOC 76:31
3 Eric Bone 74 COC 77:18

F21, 8.2km, 400m, 14c

1 Corinne Porter 84 DVOA 74:52
2 Tori Borish 89 COC 78:14
3 Angelica Riley 70 DVOA 78:55


1 DVOA 2:22:19
(Gregory Balter(2), Angelica Riley(3), Wyatt Riley(1), Sergei Zhyk(1))
2 Cascade 2:23:39
(Drew Inglis(6), Tori Borish(4), Nikolay Nachev(2), Eric Bone(2))
3 TransCanadaExpress 2:23:58
(Jon Torrance(1), Andrea Balakova(1), Eugene Mlynczyk(3), Magnus Johansson(3))

Complete results are available here


Anonymous said...

I think Eric is under cover by being not under cover in the midst of a top-3 list of people who are under cover.


Anonymous said...

As the "correspondent", a DVOA member, and photographer, I have to say I find the picture of the DVOA championship team a little absurd. In a good way.

It looks like something out of some campy movie. In a video, set to slow motion, with a late 70s soundtrack... the possibilities are striking.

Also, it is notable that two "couples" are defined by the vintage of DVOA jerseys worn. Both are striking, but the pairings they generate are also funny. Appropriate, but funny.