2010 champions Ross Morrison and Penny Kane made short work of the rocky hills of Maraetotara in Hawkes Bay to successfully defend their titles at the National middle distance orienteering championships.
Auckland based Information Sciences student Morrison ran hard and mostly mistake-free to be 80 seconds clear of Dunedinite Tane Cambridge and Karl Dravitzki (New Plymouth).
With the Nationals doubling as selection trials for the World Champs it was an important race for Morrison who grew up in Hawkes Bay - who as course-setter couldn’t run the sprint on Friday: “I was pleased with my win as I’m aiming high at the World Champs sprint this year.”
Morrison added the middle title to last years, and two long distance titles and is hot favourite for the long distance on Easter Sunday.
Sprint winner Toby Scott(Auckland) was trailing Morrison by 50 seconds at the spectator control before halfway but then a 30 second navigational error put paid to his podium chances; he finished 7th.
With her successful title defence, strong hill runner Penny Kane is now reconsidering travelling to France for the World Championships should she be selected, although interrupting her travels to Nepal for medical aid work: “I have to convince Jamie first; the last time we went to the Worlds was Japan in 2005 when we were both in the team.”
Kate Morrison brought more glory to the Morrison household with her win in W20 junior elites, her second for the weekend and is also tipped to win the long distance, the last of the individual races: “The technical training and core work we’re doing in Auckland is really paying off.”
But to win a third title she will have to face a fired-up Angela Simpson (Rotorua) - 2010 W20 champion and an outstanding 6th at the Student World Champs.
The Hawkes Bay home terrain advantage may be the crucial for both of the Morrisons to prevail.
Junior World Champs representative Matt Ogden hit top form at the right time nine weeks out from the Worlds with a resounding two minute win over team-mates Gene Beveridge and Nick Hann.
“I was pretty happy with that; I lost a bit of time but I was strong in the hills.” he said.
Racing continues on Easter Sunday with the long distance, 11.5 km for the men and 6.6km for the elite women, at Waipoapoa, another world ranking event and national Silva Superseries race.
2011 NZ middle distance Orienteering Championships, Hawkes Bay. 22 April, 2011.
1 Ross Morrison HB Hawkes Bay 30:23
2 Tane Cambridge PP Peninsular & Plains 31:46
3 Karl Dravitzki TA Taranaki 32:25
4 Thomas Reynolds NW North West 32:52
5 Darren Ashmore BP Bay Of Plenty 33:39
6 Carsten Joergensen PP Peninsular & Plains 34:00
7 Toby Scott AK Auckland 34:11
8 Bryn Davies HV Hutt Valley 34:55
9 Jamie Stewart WN Wellington 36:05
10 Greg Flynn NW North West 36:33
1 Penny Kane WN Wellington 34:00
2 Piret Klade 83 HV Hutt Valley 36:02
3 Rita Homes HB Hawkes Bay 36:40
4 Amber Morrison HB Hawkes Bay 38:31
5 Imogene Scott AK Auckland 38:45
6 Rebecca Smith BP Bay Of Plenty 39:56
7 Georgia Whitla PP Peninsular & Plains 40:35
8 Lizzie Ingham WN Wellington 41:19
9 Tessa Ramsden RK Red Kiwi 42:25
10 Yvette Baker WN Wellington 42:31
Junior Elite Men
1 Matt Ogden NW North West 27:45
2 Gene Beveridge NW North West 29:40
3 Nick Hann WN Wellington 30:49
4 Duncan Morrison HB Hawkes Bay 33:02
5 Tim Robertson HV Hutt Valley 34:39
Junior Elite Women
1 Kate Morrison HB Hawkes Bay 30:32
2 Angela Simpson BP Bay Of Plenty 31:34
3 Laura Robertson HV Hutt Valley 36:42
4 Jaime Goodwin HB Hawkes Bay 37:43
5 Selena Metherell PP Peninsular & Plains 39:13