Three Yukon orienteerers recently raced their biggest competition of the year. Big in both significance and size.
Yukon’s Pia Blake, Trevor Bray and Caelan McLean competed for Team Canada at the Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) last week in Rauland, Norway.
The fields were big and stacked with top talent.
“As Norway is home to so many orienteerers who came along to cheer, the atmosphere at the races – especially in the arenas – was one I was not used to, but it definitely made us run faster!” said Blake in an email to the News.
“This JWOC was very memorable because of the unique terrain and the size/quality of the competition,” added Bray.
“It was my first JWOC so I cannot compare it to any others, but it was a very good experience for me,” said McLean. “The maps were good, the terrain was excellent and the event was very well organized.”
Blake posted the strongest results of the three Yukoners, who are currently at a training camp in Stromstad, Sweden.
Blake cracked the top 100, placing 93rd out of 139 racers in the sprint race on July 5.
“All sprints in Europe are very different from sprints in Canada because the towns are not built on a grid but rather in a seemingly random pattern, making for very interesting route choices,” said Blake. “The biggest thing with sprints is to not get trapped by any of the traps set up by the organizers, aided for the first time this year by artificial fencing!”
Blake also finished 39th in the B final of the middle distance on July 7 and was the top Canadian in the race. She took 108th in the long on July 9 and helped Canada’s female relay team place 21st out of 26 teams last Friday.
“The best result I have ever had in a final at JWOC was 89th last year in the long, but my best result ever was 26th in the middle qualifier this year,” said Blake, who was in her third JWOC last week. “This was the race I was focusing on, and it was definitely very technical as well as physical, with wet, deep moss in most places. The trick was to take it slow and to not make any major mistakes, and I managed to have an almost perfect race.”
Bray, 20, who was in his fourth and final JWOC, placed 121st out of 154 in the sprint, 23rd in the C final of the middle and 130th in the long.
“This JWOC was probably the most memorable of all of my JWOCs due to the location and the team,” said Bray.
McLean took 139th in the sprint, 28th in the C final of the middle and 142nd in the long. Bray and McLean did not take part in the relay races last Friday.
“The long was my best race but the middle qualifier was probably the most memorable because it was pouring rain and cold so by the end I could hardly hold my map because my hands were so cold,” said McLean. “I found JWOC to be an enjoyable experience overall and the location of the event was beautiful.”
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