Orienteerers challenged at sprint, middle championships

That's why the Yukon association decided to hold both its sprint- and middle-distance portions of the Yukon Orienteering Championships there on Sunday, off Lewes Lake Road near Carcross.

Last year, as the Yukon Orienteering Association was preparing to host the Canadian and Western Canadian Orienteering Championships, an expert from Norway said the Lewes Lake area wasn’t suitable for a Canadian championship.

Instead, the area should be used for an international event. The Lewes Lake map is just that good – it’s world class.

That’s why the Yukon association decided to hold both its sprint- and middle-distance portions of the Yukon Orienteering Championships there on Sunday, off Lewes Lake Road near Carcross.

It was only the second time the Lewes Lake map was used, the first being last summer in the Canadian championships.

“The maps are incredible. They are world-class maps with incredible terrain, great course setting and amazingly scenic,” said Whitehorse’s Philippa McNeil, a former Team Canada member who has raced at three world championships.

“I really enjoyed the map-reading today. I think it’s a treat to be on this map, because we were only on it for the first time last year for one event … I’ve never been in this area and I hope I get a chance to come back out here again.”

The terrain, which is challenging physically and mentally – testing stamina and map-reading skills – was great practice for three Yukoners who are on the junior national team as they prepare to compete at the Junior World Orienteering Championships next month in Slovakia.

Kendra Murray, Trevor Bray and Kerstin Burnett make up almost half of the seven-member Canadian junior team, coached by Whitehorse’s Brent Langbakk.

“I’ve never run on terrain like this before. It was really incredible,” said Bray.

Even with his national team status, Bray, 17, got turned around in Sunday morning’s sprint, getting disqualified with a miss-punch. However, in the afternoon’s middle-distance race, he was back on the mark, finishing second overall on the elite men’s course behind his coach, Langbakk, who also had a miss-punch in the morning.


“This morning I was having a great race; everything was going smooth. I was physically pushing myself, and then on the second last control, there were two controls really close together, and I didn’t check my control description number and I punched the wrong one,” said Bray. “Overall I was happy with how I did for most of the race.

“This afternoon was an interesting race as well. I just had one blowup control where I got lost. I made a parallel error on one of those hills and I wandered around for a long time. Other than that, it was really good. I’m pretty happy with my race.”

Murray had the most consistent results of the three national juniors. The 19-year-old was fastest on the elite/expert women course for the sprint and finished second behind McNeil in the middle-distance race. She also won her long-distance event last week in the first segment of the Yukon championships on the Carcross Desert map.

“Here is super difficult because, even though there are big hills, they all look very similar,” said Murray.

“The sprint this morning was really good. Sprint usually isn’t my forte – I had a couple hesitations, but the rest was really good. This afternoon (in the middle-distance race) I was planning on taking it really slow and really safe and it mostly worked, except for a couple little blowups.”

Burnett, 19, had her own difficulties with the tough terrain. She was third for expert/elite women in the sprint and fifth in the middle-distance. She also navigated to third in last week’s long-distance race.

“Mostly good. This morning wasn’t so great,” said Burnett. “I was pretty happy with my navigation. I think generally my focus was pretty good – I sometimes get distracted.”

Murray is the only one of the three juniors who has competed at the junior worlds before. She competed last year, placing 27th in the C final of the middle-distance for her best result.

“I’m just happy that we had this weekend, because it was really, really good training on this terrain because it’s so technical,” said Murray. “I’m really looking forward to heading over the Europe.”

“I can’t believe how quickly it’s coming up,” said Burnett. “I’m really excited because I think it will be a lot of fun. But I’m also kind of nervous because I know it will be really technical with a very high level of competition.”

Sprint distance results

Novice (1.1 kilometres)

1st Elias Sagar (M-14) – 9:20

2nd Liam Mather (Novice) – 9:33

3rd Reena Coyne (Novice) – 12:38

4th Sonjaa Schmidt (Novice) – 13:19

5th Charlie Gill (Novice) – 18:38

6th Mike/Ruby Gill (Novice) – 20:03

7th Mettias Schmidt (Novice) – 25:52

8th Finn/Ron/Marsha Pearson (Novice) 28:36

9th Nichollis Schmidt (Novice) – 43:48

10th Sam Mather (Novice) – 43:49

11th Ben Shier (Novice) – 44:08

Advanced (1.0 kilometres)

1st Karen McKenna (W55+) – 9:07

2nd Ellyn Brown (W55+) – 10:58

3rd Violet Van Hees (W55+) – 11:22

4th Darcy Olesen (Int.) – 16:52

5th Wendy Nixon (Int.) – 18:26

6th Nesta Leduc (W75+) – 18:46

7th Hunter Vincent (Int.) – 19:06

8th Kris Gardner (Int.) – 20:27

9th Mael Pronovost (Int.) – 24:59

10th Sofia Bond (Int.) – 25:03

11th Luanda Pronovost (Int.) – 25:06

12th Savannah Cash (W-14) – 27:41

13th Amelie Latour (Int.) – 1:17:55

Expert (1.2 kilometres)

1st John Rance (M55+) – 13:53

2nd Sabine Schweiger (W45+) – 18:14

3rd Wendy Nixon (Expert) – 20:28

4th Jim Hawkings (M55+) – 25:40

Elite/expert women (1.4 kilometres)

1st Kendra Murray (EliteW) – 11:23

2nd Philippa McNeil (W35+) – 13:04

3rd Kerstin Burnett (EliteW) – 13:41

4th Pia Blake (W-20) – 13:53

5th Georgi Pearson (W35+) – 15:10

6th Bruce McLean (Exp+) – 20:27

7th Lara Melnik (W35+) – 25:42

Elite men (1.8 kilometres)

1st Ross Burnett (EliteM) – 13:49

2nd Caelan McLean (M-20) – 14:07

3rd Darren Holcombe (M45+) – 15:55

4th Gerry Willomitzer (M35+) – 16:49

5th Kimball Forrest (M45+) – 17:12

6th Dan Shier (M45+) – 25:43

7th Michelle Clusiau/Lee Fleming (Rec) – 52:12

Middle-distance results

Novice (2.2 kilometres)

1st Reena Coyne (Novice) – 17:33

2nd Sonjaa Schmidt (Novice) – 22:04

3rd Nichollis Schmidt (Novice) – 24:03

4th Sam Fleming (M-12) – 24:14

5th Ben Shier (Novice) – 24:14

6th Mael Pronovost (Novice) – 31:38

7th Sullvian Bond (Novice) – 31:43

8th Mettias Schmidt (Novice) – 45:49

9th Finn/Ron/Marsha Pearson (Novice) 49:31

10th Cy McDowell (Novice) – 55:05

11th Maeve McDowell (Novice) – 55:06

12th Dune McDowell (Novice) – 55:23

Beginner (2.0 kilometres)

1st Savannah Cash (W-14) – 25:33

2nd Ross/Daniel/Davi Sennett (Beg.) – 49:22

3rd Amelie Latour (Beg.) – 1:08:23

Intermediate (1.4 kilometres)

1st Georgi Pearson (Int.) – 20:16

2nd Darcy Olsen (Int.) – 27:48

3rd Caelan McLean (M-16) – 28:39

4th Lara Melnik (Int.) – 31:25

5th Luanda Pronovost (Int.) – 34:16

6th Suzane Dionne/Greg Christie (Int.) – 37:47

7th Michelle Clusiau/ Lee Fleming (Int.) – 45:00

8th Sophia Bond/Leylsa Weston (Int.) – 1:04:18

9th Fumiko Miyahara (Int.) – 1:08:30

Advanced (1.7 kilometres)

1st Wendy Nixon (Adv.) – 46:27

2nd Kris Gardner (Adv.) – 1:07:46

3rd Steve Hahn (Adv.) – 1:07:47

4th Marc Pronovost (Adv.) – 1:14:57

Expert (2.2 kilometres)

1st Ellyn Brown (W55+) – 31:01

2nd Sabine Schweiger (W45+) – 38:40

3rd Karen McKenna (W55+) – 41:15

4th Violet Van Hees (W55+) – 53:37

Expert/elite women (2.3 kilometres)

1st Philippa McNeil (W35+) – 34:03

2nd Kendra Murray (W-20) – 35:41

3rd Kimball Forrest (M45+) – 36:45

4th Darren Holcombe (M45+) – 38:23

5th Pia Blake (W-20) – 40:12

6th Kerstin Burnett (EliteW) – 41:44

7th Bruce McLean (M55+) – 45:11

8th Grant Abbott (M55+) – 48:07

9th John Rance (M55+) – 1:02:41

10th Jim Hawkings (M55+) – 1:05:28

Elite men (3.0 kilometres)

1st Brent Langbakk (M35+) – 27:32

2nd Trevor Bray (EliteM) – 34:37

3rd Ross Burnett (EliteM) – 35:12

4th Ryan Kelly (M35+) – 53:10

5th Gerry Willomitzer (M35+) – 55:55

Contact Tom Patrick at


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