Sprint Into Spring Race 6 Wrap – Latrobe Uni

Maps to come…

We were warned!  During his stay in Victoria, Mikkel did a lot of work on the Latrobe map to bring it up to date, and to add a new dimension of the vertical kind!  Before he left he set the courses, leaving us with something to remember.  It was certainly something different, and a great way to wrap up 2017’s Sprint Into Spring.

This series is all about skilling up – and we learned the new skill of reading a multi level map.  If you’ve ever spent an evening puzzling over those indoor maps they have in Sweden, this gave us a taste.  The stairs were all marked with a letter at the top and bottom, but the top level was mapped separately and shown off to the left of the ground level map.  The trick was to find one end of the stair you needed, then get up or down to the right level.

Consensus afterwards was to be on the ground level where possible, as that had more opportunity for taking diagonals; but most of us were just happy to find a set of stairs that were in the vicinity of the next control, get onto the right level, then navigate on that level.  Confused??  So were we!  In actual fact it wasn’t as hard as it sounds, and most people managed quite well once they’d done one or two legs.

So – with final jersey points up for grabs, a very hot day, and another big race tomorrow, there were two different approaches.  Those with jerseys in the bag sat back and cruised through the sprint and hillclimb legs, opening the door for others to step up and grab 10 points.  But those whose jerseys were on the line went for broke!

Peter Hodkinson, off duty as technical advisor, won the Mo course from Brodie Nankervis and Aston Key.  Second place was enough to hand Brodie the Yellow, by just two points from Kerrin Rattray and Bruce Arthur.  On the Sprint leg, which was short and tricky and had stairs, Glen White was the winner, and there was a four way tie for second.  Brody McCarthy’s five wins had already secured him the Green Jersey, ahead of Shane Mallia and Bruce Arthur.  Bruce was clearly determined to earn the Polkadot Jersey with a win on the stair climb, and he took the Jersey home.

Tash Key scored her third win of the series, but it wasn’t enough to grab the Yellow Jersey from Liis Johanson, who had three wins and three seconds.  Lanita Steer continued her consistent form to finish third; in doing so she was runner up in the Yellow Jersey comp, ahead of Tash.  Lanita won the Sprint leg, and claimed the Green Jersey.  Clare Brownridge has an iron grip on the Polkadot Jersey, and she dominated this category again in 2017.

All series, the Sally Pearson women have been locked in battle, and for a while there I was expecting a deadlock.  But it was the men who provided the tightest of competitions in the end.  Today’s winner was Torren Arthur, finishing just 5 seconds ahead of Stephen Dunbar, and 6 seconds ahead of Callum White.  Jensen Key was fourth, but it was enough to keep him in Yellow at the end of the day; Callum was second, and Mason Arthur third.

Will Davey took 10 points on the Sprint leg and Steven O’Connell took 9; this resulted in both of them having equal points after the best of five was calculated.  What’s more, both had exactly the same number of wins, and I just couldn’t separate them – resulting in first tie in SIS jersey history!  Rod Phillips won the Polkadot jersey, but in the final race was unable to beat Wayne Love on the race up the stairs.

Meanwhile, Janine Steer and Heather O’Donnell had traded the Yellow Jersey all series, so it all came down to this final race.  Who would have the edge today?  Would there be another tie?  Results screens were studied anxiously; but we’d overlooked the Jenny factor.  Janine won the day, Jenny Bourne was second, and Heather third, handing Janine a one point victory and a Yellow Jersey; Heather was second and Sarah Davies, who has been in red hot form, was third.  In the Green Jersey comp, Kate Francis had a perfect score of 50 after winning today’s sprint leg.  Kate also won the Climb, but Heather ended up with the Polkadot Jersey.

Last but definitely not least – probably the most dominant performance of SIS was by junior speedster Ashley White. Ashley scored 50 points in the Yellow and Green jersey comps on the Usain Bolt course, and 49 points in the Polkadot comp. Of course you can only have one jersey, and it was great to see the Green go to Thomas Caristo, and the Polkadot go to Evan Gavens – both youngsters came along nearly every week, and had a great time out there.

The Usain Bolt women wasn’t quite so clear cut, though eventual winner Milla Key won four of the races. Today though, it was Maya Bennette who had the fastest time, Luca Bogdanovits was second, and Milla third.  Annabelle Davey was the jersey runner up, while points for third overall were shared between Maya, Luca, and Claire Adams, showing just how close the girls comp was this year.  Paula Davey won today’s sprint, but Claire was a repeat Green Jersey winner. Paula also won the climb, and the Polkadot jersey, another repeat winner.

And so another Sprint Into Spring series came to a glorious end – thanks to the organising team, the advisors, planners, mappers, equipment bringers, timing system gurus, and to all of YOU for supporting us in our fifth season.  Look out for us next October – can’t wait!

Sprint Into Spring Race 5 Wrap – Royal Park

For those who were there during today’s torrential downpour at the end – check the photos to see how many people can fit under a tent!  Heartfelt thanks to the control collectors who came back looking very soggy but cheerful.

Mo Map

Sally Map

Usain Map

Every year we like to throw something different into the mix.  Park sprinting is a different ball game to campus sprinting, and you need to adjust tactics accordingly.  Royal Park is a Melbourne icon, famous as home to the Zoo.  The new map featured trees – hundreds of them. Not to mention thickets and vegetation boundaries.  It was all about keeping to a line, staying confident (but not cocky), then making a snap decision about which way to hit the flag.  Several longer legs broke things up.  While the map looks deceptively simple, there were plenty of tales of woe.  High visibility, fast terrain and direct sight lines all lead to errors (see flag, run to flag, wrong flag!)

On the Mo Men, Will Gardner led from start to finish, winning in 13:53.  Kerrin Rattray was second, and Bruce Arthur third.  This was enough to give Bruce the yellow jersey, after main contenders Brodie and Aston were absent, but Kerrin is only three points behind, and is one race in arrears so is looking like the favourite.

The Sprint leg was a dash along a path, making sure you didn’t go astray at the 5 way junction (was that only me??)  Brody McCarthy made it five wins from five, and will take home a green jersey next Sunday uncontested.  As for the hill climb, it was short, but steep!  There was an unprecedented 7-way tie for the minor placings on Mo. Brody took the 10 points, but Shane Mallia was second, which was enough to have the polkadot jersey handed across to him. Shane will need to barrack for Bruce to hold the yellow next week.

A small error by Liis Johansson on the second leg of the Mo Women opened the door for Tash Key, who kept the lead until leg 9.  Liis drew level, then drew fractionally ahead.  Tash was in front again at 18, but couldn’t quite hold on to it.  The 10 points for Liis saw her take an unassailable lead in the yellow jersey competition. Lanita Steer was third, and great consistency in her first senior year will see her runner up overall.  The sprint leg points were shared between Tash and Mel Gangemi, bringing Mel into green jersey contention; current holder Lanita will have to throw all her eggs in one basket next week and hope to score maximum points.  Mel won the climb today, but Clare Brownridge will almost certainly keep the polkadot jersey.

On the Sally Men, Jensen Key was back to his best, winning by over a minute from Patrick Bradfield Smith, with Felix Corcoran third. Jensen is back in yellow, but needs to ensure he scores enough points next week to stay in front of Mason Arthur and Callum White.  Fifth place on the jersey ladder, Ian Dodd, has asked me to point out that he is older than the top four put together.  Moving on …  Steve O’Connell and Will Davey shared the sprint points, leaving Steve marginally ahead in the green jersey comp – but with Will, Callum and Rod Phillips all hard on his heels, Steve will have to sprint for his life next weekend.  Rod took out the climb, and has only been beaten once this series, so the polkadot jersey is all his.

The Sally Women has seen a tug of war between the two contenders, Janine Steer and Heather O’Donnell, with the yellow jersey changing hands weekly, and the margins between the two down to seconds.  Janine made a couple of uncharacteristic errors this week (see flag, run to flag, wrong flag!) giving Heather 10 points. They are tied overall, but Heather has three wins to Janine’s two.  If Janine wins next week and Heather is second, for the first time we’ll have to invoke our fallback tiebreak rule (I’d better look it up …)  Sarah Davies was third, and she is another junior who has shown great consistency across the series.

Kate Francis mispunched today so could not claim points on the sprint leg; however she has enough up her sleeve to hold onto it – unless Janine ends up winning the yellow, then the green will revert to Heather – see how complicated it is? I blew my chances by veering left at the junction en route to 15. Nuff said.  On the climb, Heather and Sarah shared the points; Janine is in the polkadot jersey.

There was an upset on the Usain Men’s course, when Dale Taverna overhauled Ashley White half way through the race; it won’t have any impact on Ashley’s iron grip on the yellow jersey. Jack Sweeney was third.  Ashley won the sprint and the climb; Evan Gavens is only half a point clear of Thomas Caristo in the green jersey comp, and Thomas is a point ahead of Evan in the polkadot comp!  Both youngsters have been out there nearly every week doing a great job.

No surprises on the Usain Womens though, with Milla Key taking her fourth win, ahead of Annabelle Davey and Jemima Bradfield Smith.  The yellow jersey comp is not over yet though, with Milla, Annabelle and Claire Adams all vying for it in the final race – there has been some great competition amongst our junior girls this year.  Claire will take home another green jersey after winning the sprint today; however a four way tie on the climb did not help resolve the winner of the polkadot jersey, with Paula Davey only a few points in front of Hannah and Claire.

And so we are down to the last weekend, with the final SIS race on Saturday at Latrobe Uni, and the Sprint Champs on Sunday at Monash.  Danish coach in residence Mikkel updated the map and set the Latrobe courses, to give us something to remember him by. From all accounts, you’ll need to keep your wits about you.

The Sprint Champs require pre-entry, so look for the entry link on the website, and have your entry in before Wednesday.  Start lists will be published on Friday.  See you for another sensational weekend of sprinting!



Sprint Into Spring Race 4 Wrap ‘n’ Map

Mo Map     Sally Map     Usain Map

Will’s Route Choice Analysis

With temperatures soaring, this was less Spring and more Summer.  RMIT Bundoora was making its debut as a Sprint Into Spring map, with previous uses for Vic Champs and Melbourne Sprint Weekend.  It has a series of smaller, irregular buildings on the southern side, a couple of large buildings in the middle which make for longer legs; some ornamental lakes to the east, and open or treed terrain to the west.  Throw in some new construction fences, and you have a real mixture on your hands.  Course setter David Knight threw us straight into the melee with a series of short legs, then some hard running around the periphery (where the heat became another factor) before finishing at the large, eye catching sculpture.  Route choice was the order of the day, with the best tactic being “make a decision and go with it” (as is usually the case at Sprints – but easier said than done!)

The absence of jersey holder Brodie Nankervis opened the door for the Mo Men; Kerrin Rattray led the field for the first half, then Peter Hodkinson took over and stayed in front until the finish. Kerrin lost a bit of time over the final stages, allowing Aston Key to snatch second place.  Brodie retains the yellow jersey, but Bruce Arthur is only two points behind, and Aston and Kerrin are also in contention.  Jersey specialist Brody McCarthy once again cleaned up both the Sprint and Hill Climb legs; no-one will wrest the green jersey from him, and it looks like Bruce has done enough to earn the polkadot.

Tash Key was back to her best in winning the Mo Women, although it took half the race to overhaul nemesis Liis Johanson. Tash won by 11 seconds. Belinda Lawford worked her way into third after Lanita Steer faded a little over the later stages.  Liis is looking pretty comfortable in the yellow jersey.  Mel Gangemi grabbed 10 points on the Sprint leg, while Liis shared the points with Clare Brownridge on the Climb.  No jerseys changed hands with Lanita in green and Clare in polkadot – but remember it’s best of five, so things are sure to change at the final race when lowest scores are dropped.

For the second time this series, Sally Pearson attracted the biggest field, and is providing some of the hottest competition.  Jensen Key took the lead from control 3 and never let it go; Ian Dodd and Torren Arthur fought for second and third for the first two thirds, then Ian broke away in the final stages to finish runner-up. Mason Arthur ran very consistently for third, and retains the yellow jersey, but Jensen and Callum White are not far behind.  A mispunch by Steven O’Connell allowed Callum to grab the 10 points for the Sprint; the green jersey now has four genuine contenders with 1.5 points separating them!  Look out for some fast and furious racing … Rod Phillips won the Climb and has a handy lead in the jersey comp.

Meanwhile, the head to head battle for points on the Sally Women resumed, with Janine Steer claiming victory over Heather O’Donnell by just 7 seconds. The lead changed hands a couple of times, but by leg 9 it was going Janine’s way – though Heather almost grabbed it back towards the end.  Sarah Davies ran very consistently to finish third and earn valuable points, but Janine took back the yellow and has a slender 1 point margin. Kate Francis took the Sprint, making it 4 from 4 and an iron grip on the green jersey. A four way tie on the Hillclimb spread the points around, but Heather is leading the polkadot race.

The Usain Mens was again dominated by Ashley White, who took maximum points for all three jerseys, with Thomas Caristo the runner-up.  Evan Gavens still has the green jersey but only just; Thomas has the polkadot.  On the Usain Women, Milla Key was never challenged for the lead, although big improver Annabelle Davey, and experienced campaigner Claire Adams, both took a number of individual legs.  Consistency saw Eleanor Williams and Rebecca Neylon in second and third place; Milla reclaimed the yellow jersey.  Claire won the Sprint and the green jersey is almost assured; Paula Davey won the Hillclimb and has the polkadot, but is being pushed by Hannah Adams.

If all this talk of jerseys makes you want one for yourself, you’re in luck – we have a limited-time offer to purchase a specially designed Blue jersey or singlet.  You can order online through Eventor, or talk to Debbie or Margi. Pre-payment required by November 26 – the perfect Christmas present for yourself or someone else!

Next Saturday we shift to park terrain; with no buildings to guide you, it’s time to shift gear and take a different approach. You might think it’s all about speed, but not if you run in the wrong direction!  You’ll still need to be accurate and on your toes.

Finally, don’t forget to get your online entries in for the Champs at Monash University – one of the best sprint maps in Australia, and a fitting finale to our 2017 Sprint series.  Entries close on Wednesday November 22 – enter here.

Sprint Into Spring Race 3 Wrap, VU Edgewater

Mo Map     Mo Farah Route Choices

Sally Map     Sally Pearson Route Choices

Usain Map

Usain Routechoices (Part 1)    Usain Routechoices (Part 2)

VU Edgewater is never a place where you simply turn up and put out the control.  There’s always something else going on for a little extra complication – as if the campus isn’t complicated enough.  First time there it was the giant sprinklers which played havoc with the legs that zigzagged across the gardens and terraces.  Then it was the wedding ceremony carefully positioned right next to a control – wonder how many orienteers made it into the wedding video?  This year, there were four large semi trailers parked right across the path of one of the campus legs – something to do with emergency repairs to the air conditioning.  Luckily they were gone by the time we started – but there was another bemused wedding party right next to control 74.

Course setter Martin started with a taste of “Edgewater” by sending everyone north into the small streets before a run beside the Maribyrnong.  Ducking through the tunnels, we were quickly confronted with the gut busting sprint leg, followed immediately by the lung burning hill climb, with no time at all to catch your breath if you wanted to contend for both jerseys.  Check out the maps, including the route choice options provided by technical advisor Peter Hodkinson.

From here things began to get trickier as we emerged from the terraces and paths of the gardens, and into the campus.  Good use was made of the multiple levels, with controls 76 and 78 proving the undoing of many.  As I ran smack bang into an upper level dead end, I consoled myself with the thought that I wasn’t alone.  A series of very short legs where mispunches were a distinct possibility, then a downhill dash into the finish, completed the courses.

As the guys returned in force on a hotly contested Mo Mens course, Aston Key made no mistakes this time, pushing winner Brodie Nankervis all the way.  The lead changed hands between the pair several times, with Brodie finally pulling clear at control 17, and winning by 13 seconds in 15:40.  Will Gardiner was third.  After 3 weeks, Brodie has the yellow jersey firmly in his grasp.

Just like Winx in the Cox Plate, Brody McCarthy also made it three wins from three starts on both the Sprint and Hill Climb legs – especially impressive this week.  Shane Mallia was again the runner up on the Sprint leg, while Bruce Arthur was second on the slope.  Brody retains the green jersey, and Bruce keeps the polkadot.

The absence of Tash Key opened the door on the Mo Womens course.  While Liis Johanson led from start to finish, winning in 18:21, Lanita Steer grabbed second spot ahead of Belinda Lawford in third.  Liis retains the yellow jersey, and Lanita keeps the green, while Clare Brownridge made short work of the climb, to take back the polkadot.

The Sally Men were another group that was missing a favourite, with two time winner Jensen Key not competing.  Mason Arthur and Callum White tussled for the lead, with Mason claiming victory by 36 seconds, in 14:45.  In doing so, Mason also claimed the yellow jersey. Steven O’Connell focused his efforts on the sprint leg and retains the green jersey, while Rod Phillips was beaten by Torren Arthur on the climb, and has a narrow 2 point lead in the polkadot competition.

On the Sally Women, Heather O’Donnell proved last week’s win was no fluke, taking the lead at control 2 and never looking back.  Janine Steer was second, and Serryn Eenjes was a strong third. Heather and Janine are tied on points for the yellow jersey, but Heather claims it with two wins to Janine’s one.  Kate Francis is another three time winner in the green jersey comp, and Janine now wears the polkadot jersey.

Ashley White dominated the Usain Men’s race, winning by 5 minutes and claiming maximum points in all three jersey competitions.  It was not quite the same story on the Womens, where a number of junior girls are vying for points.  Big improver Annabelle Davey had her first win, with Claire Adams second and Eleanor Williams third.  Annabelle and Claire are tied for the yellow jersey, but Annabelle has the win so gets the title.  Claire is still the green jersey holder, and Paula Davey wears polkadot, though this competition is particularly close after Eleanor scored the 10 points.

It’s time for our midseason break – a chance to catch our breath before we run headlong into the final weeks of competition.  We resume on November 11 at RMIT Bundoora West.  This map was first used for the Sprint Champs in 2015, and again at the Melbourne Sprint Weekend last year, but 2017 sees its Sprint Into Spring debut.  The following week is another first, with a new map of Royal Park sure to prove popular.

Then before we know it, the final weekend will be upon us, and it doesn’t get much better, with a revamped map and fresh approach to course setting by Mikkel at Latrobe on Saturday, then the 2017 Champs at Monash on Sunday November 26.  We had to remap this from scratch after 10 years of constant construction and landscaping, so don’t be complacent!  Pre-entry is now open on Eventor.

Sprint Into Spring 2017 Race 2 Wrap ‘n’ Map

Mo Map Part 1    Mo Map Part 2

Sally Map Part 1     Sally Map Part 2

Usain Map

From the air, images of Oxley College are deceptive.  It’s not until you get in there on the ground that you realise how many small buildings, multiple levels, nooks and crannies, and twists and turns the campus has to offer.  Add to that a slope that offers a proper hill climb, and panoramic views of the Dandenongs from the arena, and you have a great Sprint venue.

Course setter Ewen Templeton opted for a map flip for the Mo and Sally courses.  The first section threw us straight into the campus, where quick thinking and constant map contact were critical.  We popped out onto the oval for the Sprint leg, and flipped our maps, only to realise that we had to dash straight back, then straight into a really tough Hill Climb.  Then it was back into the buildings for a second loop.  The final stages west of the arena, with less complexity but more contours.  This was a Sprint that tested both brains and legs in equal measure.

The Mo Mens course winner this week was Brodie Nankervis in 14.24.  Brodie grabbed the lead at control 5, and kept it all the way to control 29.  Early leader Peter Hodkinson finished second, followed by Kerrin Rattray in third.  Brodie is now the holder of the Yellow Jersey.  Junior Brody McCarthy once again dominated both Sprint and Hillclimb legs.  He keeps the Green Jersey, while Bruce Arthur still holds the Polkadot Jersey

On the Mo Womens, Tash was determined to make amends for last week’s mispunch, and she snatched first place in 17.04.  Liis Johanson was leading all the way up to control 21, when Tash finally overtook her, with Lanita Steer also right up there.  Liis retains the Yellow Jersey, but will she keep it till the end?  With both Mel and Clare absent, the door opened on the jersey legs.  Liis won the Sprint leg but the Green Jersey moves to Lanita’s keeping; Tash took the Hill Climb and the Polkadot.

History was made when, for the first time in five years, the Sally Pearson course had more competitors than the Mo!  Sally is super competitive, and very popular with juniors as they’ve moved up from Usain, as well as with the more mature competitors who haven’t quite got the stamina for Mo.

Sally Mens winner Jensen Key had to work hard for his victory, and did not move into the lead until leg 17.  In fact the race chopped and changed, with early leader Haydn Tang being overtaken by Mason Arthur right before the map flip.  Callum White consistently worked his way through the field into third place.  Will Davey won the Sprint leg, but Steven O’Connell retains the Green Jersey; Rod Phillips took the Hill Climb and is firming as favourite to keep the Polkadot Jersey.

We had an exciting finish on the Sally Womens.  Janine Steer was looking like a repeat winner for most of the afternoon, until last starter Heather O’Donnell crossed the finish line 39 seconds in front.  Third placegetter Sarah Davies was the early race leader, but Heather got her nose in front on leg 6.  Janine still has the Yellow Jersey.  Kate Francis won the Sprint leg and is definitely the one to beat for the Green Jersey.  Kate also won the Hill Climb, but Heather’s second gave her enough points to be in the Polkadot.

The Usain Mens course was won by Ashley White, who led from start to finish.  Second was Reynah Tang and third was Evan Gavens.  Ashley holds the Yellow Jersey.  Reynah Tang won both the Sprint and the Hill Climb legs.

It was a different picture for the Women.  Claire Adams shot out of the gate for the early lead.  Luca Bogdanovits moved to the front at control 3, but Milla Key overtook her at control 10 and went on to win.  Luca was second and Annabelle Davey finished third.  Milla and Claire split the points for the Sprint leg, with Claire keeping the Green Jersey.  Paula Davey won the Hill Climb and retains the Polkadot.

Our thanks to Oxley College for making their facilities available to us.  Next week we return to a campus that always seems to throw up surprises – VU Edgewater.  During our first visit, someone turned on the giant sprinklers to water the parkland adjacent to the campus – route choice became all about minimising saturation!  On our next foray, we came across a wedding party, which had set up right across the obvious route choice between two controls.  No-one told us there was another booking!  As a result we all photobombed the wedding, much to the amusement/consternation of the guests.  Stay tuned – anything can happen at Sprint Into Spring!