ORIENTEERING

NZ Orienteering Championship Sprint

Friday 10 April 2009, 7:14PM
By Auckland Orienteering Club
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NEW ZEALAND ORIENTEERING CHAMPIONSHIPS
MEDIA RELEASE

April 10, 2009

 

THE “mystery man” at the New Zealand Orienteering Championships, Taranaki dairy farmer Karl Dravitzki, took the national sprint title in Auckland today – a remarkable achievement considering it was his first serious orienteering event in six months.

The 30-year-old went into the full-bore 3.3-kilometre dash around a tricky course through the Epsom College of Education campus, insisting that he really had no idea how well he’d go.

“I hoped I could win it. I knew I was reasonably fit,” said the New Plymouth athlete, who’s been concentrating on running in recent months. The lack of orienteering, he added, had been “a worry – going into an event like this.”

But his 13m 9s sprint saw him secure his third national title – finishing 15 seconds faster than 18-year-old Aucklander Jourdan Harvey. Waimauku junior Thomas Reynolds – Harvey’s regular training partner – completed the shutout of the more-fancied runners.

Reynolds, last year’s sprint champion and 14th in the 2007 junior world champs, is competing in the elite grade as a warmup for the junior worlds – “because, to win JWOC you’ve really got to be the best…you’ve got to be able to beat all the elites in NZ.”

Dane Carsten Joergensen, a 38-year-old former world champion now living in NZ, finished fourth while co-favourite, six-time national champ Darren Ashmore, missed the third-to-last control and was not classified.

Wellington university student Lizzie Ingham continued her dominant form to take the elite women’s title – thanks to being able to just squeeze through a narrow gap between college buildings on her chosen route. If it had been any tighter, the 20-year-old reckoned, she’d have been forced to back-track…and lose valuable time.

She ended up 11 seconds faster than a surprise second-placegetter – first-year orienteer (but well-performed track runner) Elizabeth Orchard. The 23-year-old Aucklander had been treating orienteering as “a fun, enjoyable way to keep up some fitness while I recovered from a knee injury.”

Another young Aucklander Greta Knarston – a NZ rep to the junior world championships – was third, ahead of 19-time NZ champion Tania Robinson. She was disappointed in her comeback from an injury-forced retirement, but promised: “Now I’ll have to get them on the muntier events!”

Auckland-based Hawke’s Bay runner Amber Morrison lost a good placing with a missed control.

Results: NZ Orienteering Championships, sprint – Epsom College of Education. Elite men: Karl Dravitzki (New Plymouth) 13m09s, 1; Jourdan Harvey (Titirangi) 13m24s, 2; Thomas Reynolds (Waimauku) 13m41s, 3; Carsten Joergensen (Christchurch) 13m54s, 4; Nick Harris (Mt Albert) 14m03s, 5; James Bradshaw (Auckland) 14m06s, 6.
Elite women: Lizzie Ingham (Wellington) 15m14s, 1; Elizabeth Orchard (Epsom) 15m25s, 2; Greta Knarston (Remuera) 15m44s, 3; Tania Robinson (Henderson) 16m24s, 4; Rebecca Smith (Rotorua) 17m36s, 5; Lara Prince (Christchurch) 17m39s, 6.

 

WHAT? NZ Orienteering Championships
WHEN & WHERE?

Middle-Distance: Easter Saturday (April 11), Old North Rd, Helensville
Long-Distance: Sunday (April 12), Woodhill Forest (Restall Rd entrance)
Relays: Easter Monday (April 13), Woodhill Forest