Scottish Junior Inter Area Competition 2016
This year the Scottish Junior Inter Area Competition was hosted by North and held in Culbin Forest in conjunction with Moravians’ Moray Mix weekend on 29th and 30th October.
The relays were held on Saturday, and were dominated by some very experienced teams from West who came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Open and 2nd and 3rd in the Girls, but an impressive effort from the North 2nd team won the Girls relay and denied West a clean sweep.
In the Individual class on Sunday, the large, young North team were able to bounce back and take the Individual Trophy, but West held on to win overall.
The Junior Inter Area relay comprises an Orange, a Yellow and a Light Green leg. Encouraging participation is an important part of the competition and this year a record 121 young athletes took part in the relay, with more than half from North Area.
The Relay was run in conjunction with the Middle event on Saturday in West Culbin and the Individual part of the competition was the SOL on Sunday in East Culbin.
The wonderful forested sand-dune terrain of Culbin is familiar to most Scottish orienteers, but many will not have competed in it for a while. I’m sure the complexity of contour detail was a new challenge for some of the juniors taking part. The weather was also kind to us, staying dry both days.
Many thanks are owed to Moravians, supported by Invoc, for putting on excellent events both days, and I’d like to particularly thank Planners Eddie Harwood and Jon Hollingdale, Organisers Liz Barr and Jane Halliday, Controllers Neil McLean and Hilary Quick, and Rob Hickling for the Relay IT.
There was an excited buzz as the runners set off on the Orange 1st leg in the Open Relay. West dominated the race and the top 3 West teams hogged the top 3 places and swapped between themselves every leg, comfortably cruising home to take a well-deserved clean sweep of the Open medal places. Perhaps some of the Open runners got swept up in the excitement of running head-to-head and unfortunately 10 out of 25 Open teams were disqualified for mp.
The girls set off shortly after the Open, running the same courses. After the first leg it was West 1, 2 and 4, but with North giving close chase in 3 and 5. After the 2nd leg it was West 1, 2 and 5, with North in 3rd and 4th, and it was set for an exciting last leg, with Roanne Lilley (W) heading off nearly 2 minutes ahead of Grace Molloy (W) and Kathryn Barr (N) with Naomi Lang (N) a further 30 seconds down. At the spectator run-through it was Grace in the lead, with Naomi in hot pursuit. After a minute, cheering erupted as the first two girls appeared on the slope to the finish, but who was in the lead? It was Naomi, saving the day for North and avoiding a clean sweep of both classes for West.
Many of the youngsters and their families stayed at the Inverness Youth Hostel that we had to ourselves. A huge thanks goes to Catherine Todd for superbly organising the Youth Hostel, supported by Alison Raynor, Pippa Weir and all the adults who stepped forward to help in various ways.
West carried a substantial lead over to the Individual Day in Culbin East, which featured more tricky contour detail and some very long legs on the TD5 courses.
Both the North and the small East teams did much better in the Individual races, and North had two classes where they managed a clean sweep of the top 3 places: W12 and M16. North came through to win the Individual Trophy, but it was not enough to overcome the advantage West had carried over from the Relays, so West were overall Champions for 2016, repeating their achievements from 2011 and 2012.
Report by Trevor Ricketts