Yukon orienteerers gather six medals at North Americans

Yukoners had their map-reading skills put to the test at the 2014 North American Orienteering Championship recently.

Yukoners had their map-reading skills put to the test at the 2014 North American Orienteering Championship recently.

Competitors had to keep a keen eye on the subtle contours on the maps at the international competition held in Arnprior, Ont., just outside of Ottawa, ending on Oct. 13.

“It was really, really technical,” said Whitehorse’s Brent Langbakk. “Anybody from Ontario knows Canadian Shield … It had really low relief, so really intricate contour detail. That made it really challenging for navigation. So technical ability counted for a lot.”

Thirteen members of the Yukon Orienteering Association competed at the championship, navigating to six medals and a number of top-10 results.

Langbakk, who was recently named director of Orienteering Canada’s high performance teams, was responsible for two of Yukon’s medals.

Langbakk won gold in the middle distance race – with a slim margin of three seconds over the silver medalist – and gold in the long in the men’s 35+ division. He then finished seventh in the sprint.

“On some courses, those who are really fit get an advantage. In the forest terrain there, it was a real advantage to be strong technically,” said Langbakk. “Hence my good results, because I’m not very fit at the moment.”

Yukon’s Nesta Leduc won three medals in the two-person 80+ female division. She raced to gold in the long and sprint distances and claimed silver in the middle. Leduc won two bronze medals at the 2013 World Masters Orienteering Championships in Italy.

Trevor Bray took in Yukon’s sixth medal, in the highly competitive 17-20 elite males division.

The 19-year-old, who has competed for Canada at the Junior World Orienteering Championships the last three years, won bronze in the middle distance. He then placed 13th in the long and 10th in the sprint, held in an urban setting.

“It was a fairly good race, I had,” said Bray of the middle. “It was very flat terrain … So you had to be super careful because once you’re lost, it’s really hard to relocate on that terrain.”

“I was really focused on the orienteering, not worrying about my physical fitness level at that point. That’s what the middle is all about. It’s not a runners’ race, it’s about being calm, using all your skills correctly. So I think that’s what helped me succeed in the middle.”

Whitehorse’s Leif Blake was close behind Bray in the middle for the same division. Blake placed fourth out of 24 racers in the race, just a minute and 16 seconds behind Bray on the 4.3-kilometre course.

“I’d say Leif Blake coming fourth in the middle distance is a massive result,” said Langbakk. “That’s really good because he’s quite young in the 17-20 age category and that’s by far his best result at a major competition.”

Blake also scored 16th in the long and sprint in Arnprior.

Yukon’s Barbara Scheck really picked up her game after the middle. After placing 16th in the middle for the 55+ female division, Scheck took fifth in the long and fourth in the sprint.

Forest Pearson split his time between divisions and placed 24th in the long for 21-34 elite males before taking ninth in the sprint for 35+ males.

Kerstin Burnett was in the teens across the board for the 21-34 elite females. She took 14th in the long, 15th in the sprint and 17th in the middle.

Caelan McLean twice cracked the top 20 in the tough 17-20 elite males with 15th in the middle and 11th in the sprint.

Colin Abbott navigated to 15th in the sprint and 21st in the long for 21-34 elite males.

Sabine Schweiger squeezed into single digits with ninth in the long for 45+ females. She also picked up 12th in the middle and 15th in the sprint.

Other top Yukon results include Ross Burnett 12th in the middle for 35+ males, Erik Blake 19th in the long for 45+ males and Bruce McLean 43rd in the long for 55+ males.

It was another successful season for the Yukon Orienteering Association. Yukon had two athletes – Bray and Pia Blake – compete at the junior worlds in Bulgaria, both producing top finishes for the Canadian team.

Yukoners also collected 20 medals at the Canadian Orienteering Championships

and then nine at the western championships in August.

Contact Tom Patrick at


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

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Oct. 21. Elected officials in the Yukon, including all 19 members of the legislature, are backing the right of Mi’kmaq fishers on the East Coast to launch a moderate livelihood fishery. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
Yukon legislature passes motion to support Mi’kmaw fishery

“It’s not easy, but it’s also necessary for us to have these very difficult conversations”

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Most Read