Yukon orienteers dominate nationals

Team Yukon continues to post superb results at the Canadian Orienteering Championships in Saskatchewan.

Team Yukon continues to post superb results at the Canadian Orienteering Championships in Saskatchewan.

Fresh from several medal performances at the earlier sprint race, Yukoners competed at the middle-distance and classic-distance disciplines on the second and third days.

Pam James dominated the elite women’s category all weekend, winning gold in both distances.

Her performances in the extreme heat spoke to her fitness and ability to concentrate while running over eight kilometres in more than 30-degree heat.

Katherine Scheck, also running in the elite women, finished eighth in the mid-distance and fourth in the classic race.

Brent Langbakk, running in the elite men, finished with a bronze medal on Sunday’s gruelling 12-kilometre race.

In Saturday’s middle distance, Ross Burnett had an excellent result of ninth in the large elite men’s field. On Sunday, Burnett chose to run in the male 35-44 and brought home a silver medal.

Other Masters representing the Yukon included Philippa McNeil who confidently led the female 35-44 division to bring home two more gold medals, Barbara Scheck with a fifth and a sixth in female 45-54 and Juri Peepre and Jim Hawkings, who finished sixth and 10th in the male 45-54 middle distance.

The longer races of competition took place southwest of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in an area known as Eb’s Trails. The region provided challenging, subtly detailed contours in a forest that was particularly lush from a wet spring.

Adding an extra challenge to orienteers and organizers alike, was damage that the forest had recently suffered after a severe windstorm.

Large areas of blown down trees actually required the volunteers to revise several courses only days before the event, and to spend many hours with chainsaws and handsaws clearing trails for the younger competitors.

Yukon’s juniors were particularly well represented on the podium. Logan Roots was several minutes ahead of his competitors in the male 13-14 middle distance race, and showing that she’s no slouch either, sister Galena Roots earned a silver in the female 12 category.

Jennifer MacKeigan, running in the female 13-14, brought home a bronze in the mid-distance and silver in the longer classic.

One of the largest and strongest male 17-20 fields of recent years saw many competitors vying for a spot on the 2008 World Junior Orienteering Championship Team.

Yukon’s Colin Abbott took bronze in the middle distance, followed closely by Lee Hawkings in fourth and Nansen Murray in 10th.

In the classic race Hawkings moved up to claim the silver followed by Abbott with bronze. Murray also improved his standing and earned a ninth-place finish.

The team is now home and will continue training for the next events on their calendar. Langbakk, James and Scheck will be leaving next week to represent Canada at the World Championships and the juniors will set their sights on the Western Canadian Championships in October.

Local orienteers can come out again on August 8th, meeting at the Dirt Bike Tracks, opposite the Cowley Creek Subdivision, at the usual time of 6:30 p.m. For more info call Barbara at 668-2306.

Hot Hounds

dryland racing

“Baby Jesus gave me wings and I flew over the handlebars and ate gravel,” laughed an enraptured Susie Rogan after her shock win over Snowpigs at the Yukon Gardens Hot Hounds races on Saturday, the inaugural Hot Hounds dryland race.

This win marks the culmination of 15 months training to avenge defeat by the skijoring Snowpigs in the Carbon Hill race.

A spokesperson for Snowpigs said they will accept the rematch on August 25th at the Marsh Lake Community Centre.

In other races, three drylanders broke with tradition, threw away their wheels, and ran the one-mile race on foot with their pet dogs in the first-known Canicross event the Yukon has seen.

Tycho the greyhound dragged Bill “The Running Man” Stewart to a commendable victory over the Keno/Heather Desmarais scooter team but couldn’t dent Asha the Rotties’ winning time of 5:06.

So began the Hot Hounds Dryland Races season at Drag N Fly Kennel. The weather was cool and damp, spirits high, dogs happy, and the hospitality provided by Lee Kirkpatrick and Jim Hajash, by hosting the race and pot-luck barbecue, was second to none.

A separate Canicross (tie a dog to yourself and run as fast as you can) race will be added to the three main wheeled races at the Phillipe’s Bike Repair Hot Hounds races, on 25th August at the Marsh Lake Community Centre, complete with pot-luck barbecue and bar. Be there at 6.30 p.m. … if you think your dogs are hot enough.

All details at www.copperhaultwister.blogspot.com .

Results

One pet dog, 1.61 kilometres

1st Asha and Jon Lucas, scooter,

5:06

2nd Aklak and Dave

Desmarais, scooter, 6:03

3rd Tycho and Bill Stewart,

canicross, 6:05

4th Keno and Heather

Desmarais, scooter, 6:10

5th Swell and Rosemary

Plaskett, canicross, 7:41

6th Molly and Rachel Kinvig,

canicross, 7:45

One sled-dog, 1.61 kilometres

1st Baby Jesus and Susie Rogan,

bike-jor, 4:24

2nd Assman and Jon Lucas,

scooter, 4:52

3rd Brodie and Carolynne

Fujda, bike-jor, 5:26

4th Tar and Tony Radford,

bike-jor, 9:40

Two sled-dog, 6.44 kilometres

1st Tony Radford, Drag N Fly,

bike-jor, 13:47

2nd Alex Seroljukov, Gatt

Kennel, bike-jor, 14.34

3rd “Sky High” Duc, Sky High,

bike-jor, 14.49

4th Jon Lucas, Drag N Fly,

scooter, 14.54