Nate Lyons (ROC) sprinting into 2nd place
Here comes the latest update, this one from last weekend's Buffalo Orienteering Festival. This week's guest reporter is DVOA's Greg Balter.
Last weekend provided us with some interesting competition as our busy spring season of orienteering racing is winding down. Buffalo Orienteering Club hosted us at 3 fine new venues and 3 new maps done by Bulgarian mapper Valentin Vladimirov. Valentin also served as a course designer for this meet and the course setting was done by Jackie Novkov from Buffalo.
In all 3 races presented to us this weekend courses emphasized extreme running speed and tested all in quick decision-making, working with map and terrain on a run with very little time to spare. The middle distance was set to begin in fairly steep erosion terrain with small marshes, reentrants and knolls as control features, exiting later into flatter plateau with rootstocks, trails and vegetation boundaries to deal with. As it is seldom done in US courses followed contour lines rather than crossing them and it opened possibilities for various rout choices (low, high or contouring).
Man’s middle course race was decided between Erin Shirm, Sergei Zhuk, and William Hawkins who started in that order 2 min apart from each other. Sergei’s task was to stay out of William’s sight, and he pushed the pace right out of start gate. By control # 8 Sergei caught Erin and competition between these two pushed pace even higher. William on his side attacked the course early on and by control # 10 he gained 40 sec on Sergei. At the end it proved to be the difference in this race. Will finished in blistering hot 26:57 for the 4.5 km course with 17 controls, showing one more time that his top position in North American rankings is well-earned. Sergei was second: 27:49, Erin was third in 29:43, followed by Canadian team member Nick Duca in 30:27. US Team members Clem McGrath and Ross Smith completed top 6 with 31:25 and 31:36 respectively. Ross had a good start but a 3 min mistake on control #9 pushed him out of contention in this race.
Ross gained nice amount of running speed since last season and must pull his navigational skills up to new level in order to take full advantage his legs.
Ladies and top juniors competed on 3.9 km course with 16 controls, designed very similar to Blue course. Our top juniors Andrew Childs and Nate Lyons showed that they could handle fast running and fine navigation at the same time and finished in 29:27 and 30:28 respectively. Samantha Saeger won F21+ race in 32:09 (two small mistakes on 6 and 15), followed by Pavlina Brautigam in 35:48 and Kseniya Popova was 3-rd in 38:50.
Later same day we faced a super fast sprint at Emery Park North. Buffalo Club provided loudspeaker announcement at the finish. 2.54 km course in the park was featuring somewhat limited woods running (only 2 legs), going over playgrounds fields and finishing down local ski slope.
I was predicting the tough battle between Ross and Erin, and was very anxious to see how it will play in real world. Ross started earlier and finished in super fine 11:29. Lacking orienteering racing this season,
Canadian phenom Emily Kemp won the females’ race, while competing in M21+ category this year, with fine time of , with Samantha Saeger in second: , followed by Kseniya in .
Sunday morning met us with 27-degree temperature drop and blistering wind. Cool weather (45-50F) and plenty of sunshine allowed us to run fast and drink little. One more time the courses played very fast, may be even too fast: last 2.5 km on Blue and Red felt like a very long finish shoot.
Will Hawkins did not run the race for personal reasons. I guess, Ross had something to prove on 12.3 km course with 25 controls, and he did so well. Posting the only result with pace under 6 min/km, he was in control of this race, and won handily in 71:39. Nice exclamation point at the end of the season, and hopefully Ross will have good training in next two and a half months before the WOC in Hungary. Second place went to Erin Shirm with time of 74:22 – nice result considering that it was his 3-rd orienteering session this year. I hope we will see more of Erin in O-races starting next year. I hope he reaches his ambitious goals as college track runner too, and we will see under 4 min mile race produced by one of our own.
Erin Schirm (HVO) flying through the forest
2 Sergeis – Zhuk and Gnatiouk battled on the course, pushing each other hard - at the end Zhuk finished with 3-rd time: 75:35 and Gnatiouk with 6-th: 77:44. Nick Duca was 4-th yet one more time with 76:17 and Igor Palagnyuk was 5th with 77:08. (On a little trivia note Gnatiouk, Palagnyuk and Balter all started to orienteers in the same town of Chernovtcy in Western Ukraine.)
Emily and Samantha battled it out on a Blue course (girls you have to spare our prideJ).
Samantha had a decent race, still made a 4 min mistake on #12, and was 13-th on Blue with 87:26; Emily was 89:41 and placed next to Sam.
Samantha Sager (NEOC) during the middle distance
One more time Red-Y course battle featured top US juniors in close race, and one more time Andrew Childs prevailed over Nate Lyons and John Goodwin. Nate was very aggressive early on mounting 3 min lead over Andrew and John, but a 8 min bomb on 12 pushed him well back, and we have to give him a credit for clawing back into race: Andrew was first in 59:58, Nate – second in 60:18 and John finished 60:44. This is as close as it gets – after 8.5 km course with 21 controls top three got separated by only 46 seconds. Good going kids.
On the ladies side Pavlina won easily over Yekaterina Dvinyaninova and Kseniya Popova: 65:42, 69:27, 69:50.
M21, 4.5km, 145m, 17c
1. William Hawkins CSU 77 26:57
2. Sergei Zhyk DVOA 79 27:49
3. Erin Schirm HVO 89 29:43
F21, 3.9km, 125m, 16c
1. Samantha Saeger NEOC 82 32:09
2. Pavlina Brautigam WCOC 61 35:48
3. Kseniya Popova HVO 86 38:50
Sprint, 2.54km, 50m, 16c
1. Ross Smith CSU 83 11:29
2. Nate Lyons ROC 92 11:45
3. Hans Fransson GHO 70 11:54
1. Emily Kemp OOC 92 13:10
2. Samantha Saeger NEOC 82 14:31
3. Kseniya Popova HVO 86 15:20
Men, 12.4km, 230m, 25c
1. Ross Smith CSU 83 71:39
2. Erin Schirm HVO 89 74:22
3. Sergei Zhyk DVOA 79 75:35
Women, 8.4km, 190m, 21c
1. Pavlina Brautigam WCOC 61 65:42
2. Yekaterina Dvinyaninova HVO 77 69:27
3. Kseniya Popova HVO 86 69:50
Maps (Route Gadget):