The Canberra Cockatoos teams have returned from the opening rounds of the National Orienteering League in Melbourne which was a weekend of intensive competition, four Sprint Distance events in two days. Sprint Distance orienteering is the sport’s equivalent to cricket’s Twenty Twenty format or Rugby’s seven competitions. Competitors have to combine quick, accurate decision making with relatively high-speed running, often leading to competitors making serious mistakes.
After years of living in the shadow of senior men’s teams, the women’s teams and the junior men’s team are leading the way this year. The Cockatoos best competitors were Belinda Lawford who has a clear lead in the senior women’s division and Tara Melhuish who is a close second in the junior women’s division.
The highlight of the weekend was the junior team (Zoe Melhuish, Noah Poland, Patrick Miller, Tara Melhuish) winning their division of the Mixed Sprint Distance Relay with a time that would have placed them third amongst the senior teams. Consequently, both junior teams are leading their respective divisions. The senior women’s team is second and the previous all-conquering senior men’s team is languishing in fifth place, well adrift of the leaders, Victoria. The standings after four rounds are here.
The next round of the National League will be four events in Tasmania during Easter.