Orienteerers take in 23 medals at North Americans

Just think, when the Yukon hosts the Western and National Championships next summer, local orienteerers will have a homefield advantage - not that they need one. A total of 23 medals - including 13 golds - were won by 14 Yukoners at the North American Orienteering Championships last weekend in Cranbrook, BC.

Just think, when the Yukon hosts the Western and National Championships next summer, local orienteerers will have a homefield advantage – not that they need one.

A total of 23 medals – including 13 golds – were won by 14 Yukoners at the North American Orienteering Championships last weekend in Cranbrook, BC. In fact, a few Yukoners medaled in all three events.

After winning a gold, silver and bronze at last year’s National Championships, junior Kendra Murray took home a pair of gold medals in the middle and long-distance events. Competing in the women’s 20A category, Murray actually finished second behind Finland’s Annika Kottonen, who was not eligible for medals because she is from outside North America. Murray also finished fifth in the sprint – fourth out of North Americans.

“She’s someone who has been orienteering for a long time and she’s a talented athlete in lots of other different sports, like cross-country skiing, so she’s really fit,” said Yukon Orienteering Association junior coach Brent Langbakk. “This year she’s become so much more consistent with her orienteering. She was able to minimize her mistakes and put together a couple really solid races. She just focused on her technique and did really well.

“Obviously the fitness is there, and she’s really fast, so the key for her was to have a relatively clean races. And she did that.”

A five-time Team Canada member at the World Orienteering Championships, Langbakk, competing in the men’s 35A division, took home golds in the sprint and middle distance events, and also grabbed silver in the long.

“In the past I’ve actually been training, and not coaching so much, so I’ve been competing in the men’s elite category,” said Langbakk. “I haven’t been training to run at (the elite) level, so I competed in my age category.”

A lack of conditioning perhaps played a part in Langbakk missing out on a third gold.

“Yeah, maybe a little bit,” said Langbakk. “The other races were a little better technically.”

Yukon’s very own world champion orienteerer, Nesta Leduc, continued her domination of the women’s 75A division, winning gold in all three races. Leduc, who won three golds at last year’s nationals and became a world champion at the World Masters Orienteering Championships in Australia shortly after, outpaced the division’s two other competitors by more than an hour in the middle-distance event.

“The reason why there’s only a couple people in her category is because most people that are 77 years old aren’t going around thumping through the woods, running over rocks, climbing over hills and looking for orienteering controls,” said Langbakk. “She’s managing to get through rough terrain, going through the bush – I think her longer races are, like, three kilometres of bushwhacking.

“She’s an inspiration to us for sure. She’s awesome.”

The Yukon had a few others who reached the podium in every event.

In the women’s 20A division, Kerstin Burnett won silver in the sprint and long distance events and took bronze in the middle. Trevor Bray, in the men’s 16A, grabbed gold in the sprint and long, and won silver in the middle distance event. The opposite of Bray, Pia Blake, in the women’s 14A, captured silver in the sprint and long events and gold in the middle.

Other Yukon medal winners include Afan Jones winning two golds, Phillippa McNeil winning one gold, Ross Burnett taking bronze, plus juniors Caelan McLean and Jennifer MacKeigan winning bronzes, in their respective age categories.

“I big highlight was how well the kids did,” said Langbakk. “They all won at least one medal and they put into practice what they’ve been doing for training. So it was really good.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to meet people from all over the continent.

“They had goals going in and they met all their goals. I’m super proud of them all.”

Meanwhile, two Yukon juniors are taking on the world in Aalborg, Denmark, at the Junior World Orienteering Championships.

Whitehorse’s Colin Abbott and Lee Hawkings have so far completed three races, including a middle distance qualifying event for Friday’s final.

Falling short of the three top-100 results posted at last year’s Junior Worlds in Italy, Abbott finished Monday’s sprint in 112th place and Tuesday’s long distance event in 97th. Hawkings came 135th in the sprint and 117th in the long.

In the middle distance qualifying on Thursday, competing in different fields of 53 competitors, Abbott qualified for the B final with a 40th place finish and Hawking qualified for the C final with a 44th place result.

Murray and some of the adult Yukon orienteerers will be staying down south for the Western Canadian Championships that begin in Whistler, BC, on Friday.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read