Yukon orienteerers rack up 38 western medals

Yukon orienteerers will have to be on their best game if they wish to out-do themselves at this weekend's Canadian Orienteering Championships.

Yukon orienteerers will have to be on their best game if they wish to out-do themselves at this weekend’s Canadian Orienteering Championships.

The Yukon team just finished winning 38 medals at the Western Canadian Orienteering Championships in Whitehorse Saturday through Monday.

Yukon took in 15 golds and nine Yukoners won medals in each of the three races.

RELATED:View slideshow of the event.

Two such Yukoners are Pia Blake and Caelan McLean, both of whom won golds in all three distances.

“It feels good. I had three really good races,” said Blake. “I really liked them. We had shorter legs, longer legs – they were very technical.”

Blake, who was competing in the women’s 15-16 division, was far out in front in the middle event, completing the course in almost half the time of the silver medalist.

“I made very few mistakes. I don’t think I could have shaved off anything,” she said. “I just had an amazing race. Middles are my best races.”

McLean’s three golds came in the men’s 13-14 division. Not far behind was teammate Leif Blake, another triple medal winner, beginning with a bronze in the middle distance, followed by two silvers.

“He’s a really good, young athlete and has a lot of potential,” said Yukon junior coach Brent Langbakk of McLean. “It’s nice to see him do well because he’s been doing it for a while and has come up through the system. He’s one of the youngest in our older training group, but he’s been doing it so long we included him in the same group as the older kids.”

Fresh back from competing at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Poland, Yukon’s Lee Hawkings and Kendra Murray also cleaned up over the weekend.

Hawkings won golds in all three races in the men’s 17-20 division, finishing second in the middle, but moving up to gold as the top western Canada competitor.

“I’m really happy with the way things have been going this week – no complaints,” said Hawkings. “I’m used to these woods. It’s been a while since I’ve run on any of these maps, so I don’t think it gives me much of an advantage. But I grew up in the woods, so I kind of hope I know how to run through them.”

For the long distance race, Hawkings was nine minutes ahead of silver and 38 in front of bronze.

“I had such a good race. Nine or 10 of the 16 controls I had the fastest time on,” said Hawkings. “So I was just running really well out there; really smooth, really fast.”

Yukon teammate Trevor Bray, competing in the same division, won bronzes in the middle and sprint as the third finisher for western Canada (fourth overall in both).

Murray, in the women 17-20 category, won golds in the middle and the long, with teammate Kerstin Burnett taking silver in both. Murray also took fourth in the sprint, but came away with a bronze for western Canadians. Teammate Jennifer MacKeigan, also in women 17-20, moved from fifth overall into a bronze for the sprint and from fourth into bronze in the long.

“I’m really happy with that, those were really good races for me,” said Murray of her first two races. “They weren’t too fast, but it was really consistent orienteering. Everything worked out, so it was good.”

Burnett then finished the championships by taking gold in the sprint, giving her three medals in total.

“I had a really good race – one of the other girls made a mistake,” said Burnett of her gold. “For this weekend I’ve been focusing on my races, personally, as opposed to results, but I’m happy with them.”

Yukon’s Katherine Scheck, competing in the women’s elite, 21-34 division, won silver in the middle and bronzes in the other races (moving up from fourth overall in the long).

“I’m really happy with my results,” said Scheck. “I didn’t come here with certain goals of where I wanted to place, but I wanted to have clean races without mistakes.”

A former national team medal who competed internationally at the both junior worlds and senior worlds, Scheck spent years away from the sport until recently returning to it.

“I’m happy with how I did this weekend and I feel pretty prepared for nationals,” said Scheck.

Karen McKenna, in women 55-64, took gold in the middle and two silvers in the other races. In the sprint, McKenna finished just two seconds up from bronze.

Nesta Leduc, a world champion in the sport who has won oodles of medals at the national level, also won one of each medal in the females 75-79. Leduc won her gold in the long distance event.

Ryan Kelly captured bronze in the sprint for men 35-44. He also came fourth overall in the middle, but moved up to a bronze.

Hannah Shier won silver in the long for the women’s 12-year-old category, just 1:22 behind the gold medalist.

Ross Burnett won gold in the men’s 45-54 division in the long.

In the biggest jump up for medals, Jim Hawkings moved up from sixth overall, to a silver in the long as the second place finisher for western Canada.

Philippa McNeil, a former national team member who competed at four world championships, won gold in the middle distance for females 35-44.

Pam James, another former national team member, took bronze in the long event in the women’s elite division.

A busy couple weeks for the Yukon Orienteering Association, Whitehorse is also hosting the Canadian Orienteering Championships this weekend.

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

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

The Boulevard of Hope was launched by the Yukon T1D Support Network and will be lit up throughout January. It is aimed at raising awareness about Yukoners living with Type 1 diabetes. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Boulevard of Hope sheds light on Type 1 diabetes

Organizers hope to make it an annual event

City of Whitehorse city council meeting in Whitehorse on Oct. 5, 2020. An updated council procedures bylaw was proposed at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 18 meeting that would see a few changes to council meetings and how council handles certain matters like civil emergencies. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse procedures bylaw comes forward

New measures proposed for how council could deal with emergencies

A Yukon survey querying transportation between communities has already seen hundreds of participants and is the latest review highlighting the territory’s gap in accessibility. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Multiple reports, survey decry lack of transportation between Yukon communities

A Community Travel survey is the latest in a slew of initiatives pointing to poor accessibility

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

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

Most Read