If their map-reading skills weren’t sending them in the right direction, their noses could.
After navigating the woods around the Ear Lake area in Whitehorse on Wednesday, orienteerers could recharge their batteries with a barbecue set up to raise money for the Yukon Orienteering Association’s junior program.
“The courses were designed by the juniors; they hung the flags—the kids put it on,” said Team Yukon coach Brent Langbakk. “It’s a good way for them to learn and it’s a chance for them to give back, to put something on for the rest of the club to enjoy.”
The money raised will be used to help send local junior orienteerers to Manitoba at the end of next month to compete at the Western and national championships, with a training camp the week in between. Making the trip are Dahria Beatty, Jennifer Mackeigan, Kendra Murray, as well as Lee Hawkings and Colin Abbott, who just returned from competing at the Junior World Championships in Italy.
While the juniors prepare for Manitoba, Patrick Goeres, 24, is up from Vancouver preparing for the Senior World Championships in eastern Hungary in two weeks.
“I’ve been moving around a lot this summer, going to where the training is best and it’s hard to beat the Yukon right now,” said Goeres. “It is very similar (to the terrain in Hungary), as far as places in Canada, it is probably the closest.
“It’s a tough area—I really like it. It’s a nice mix of tough forest and detail, so you have to be paying attention the whole time.
“The juniors did a fantastic job setting the course.”
Goeres not only finished first in the long advanced category with a time of 47 minutes and 18 seconds, he destroyed the competition, coming in almost 20 minutes ahead of second-place competitor, Forest Pearson.
Currently Goeres is training with Langbakk, a five-time world championships competitor.
“Brent is always very encouraging and happy to help so it’s really nice to have him here,” said Goeres.
At last year’s Worlds, Goeres finished eighth in the sprint qualifying and came in 45th in the finals.
“I’m hoping to improve on that this year,” said Goeres. “Maybe I can break the top 30—top 20 would be really nice. But I think top-30 is realistic.”
Goeres’ remarks about the Yukon’s terrain were echoed by Kimball Forrest, who finished third in the long advanced course. Forrest, a resident of Anchorage, Alaska, who was competing in his third Yukon orienteering event, tries to make it out for competitions in the territory whenever he can.
“I try to come over for their big orienteering meet each year,” said Forrest. “They have such great orienteering here compared to what we have at home.
“Your maps are much more detailed, there’s open pine woods with much less underbrush. (In Anchorage) there’s nothing close to what you have. I go all over the Lower 48 to orienteer and this is as good as it gets.”
1st Patrick Goeres – 47:18
2nd Forest Pearson – 66:01
3rd Kimball Forrest – 73:05
4th Sky Pearson – 85:52
5th Ryan Kelly – 98:40
1st Ross Burnett – 32:12
2nd Pam James – 49:08
3rd Kerstin Burnett – 57:13
4th Philippa McNeil – 71:07
5th Nesta Leduc – 77:20
1st Caelan McLean – 47:58
2nd Terry Boone – 60:26
3rd Tracey Taylor – 60:32
4th Bruce McLean – 61:47
5th Helen Slama – 63:56
1st Mael Pronovost – 51:41
2nd Jim and Judy Winberg –
3rd Micah Hildes – n/a
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