Sprint Into Spring Race 1 Caulfield Grammar – The Wrap

Jersey Holders

The Jersey Points have been calculated, and our current jersey holders are:

YELLOW:

Mo Men – Nathan Lawson                                Mo Women – Tash Key

Sally Men – Callum White                                Sally Women – Heather O’Donnell

Usain Men – Elliott Wall                                   Usain Women – Maya Bennette

GREEN:

Mo Men – Brody McCarthy                               Mo Women – Asha Steer

Sally Men – Rod Phillips                                    Sally Women – Sarah Love

Usain Men – Evan Gavens                                 Usain Women – Paula Davey

POLKADOT:

Mo Men – Jo Woodley                                        Mo Women – Clare Brownridge

Sally Men – Gavin Bennette                               Sally Women – Kate Francis

Usain Men – Dale Taverna                                 Usain Women – Hannah Adams

Race Wrap

Wow – another year has flown by, and here we are again, embarking on our favourite Sprint series! There was a real buzz in the air at Caulfield Grammar – excitement or fear? There were many stories about the complexity of this map, first used at the 2018 Melbourne Sprint Weekend. Luckily for all, today’s version was scaled down to 1:3000, which certainly made things easier on the eye. We had a map change part way through as well. Our course planner, Nick Collins, did a fantastic job and set the bar high for the rest of the series. I’ll give you a rundown of the Sally course, as that’s the one I ran.

An inocuous enough start, or so it seemed. Read the control description! The building was INSIDE the tennis court. There were two ways in and out. This cleverly set up leg 2, as the southern exit then lined you up to run through the buildings, rather than along the simple northern road. Almost immediately, we were at the start of the Sprint leg across the oval. Although no 3 was in sight, runners heading into no 8 nearby were a distraction. The next four controls required concentration, while we figured out that following the grey canopies was the best approach. The Hill Climb was short and sharp, with the option of stairs or embankment – either way was tough on the legs. The map change occurred here. Follow the small wiggly path into 10, then a nice route choice across the campus for 11. It was control 14 that caused the biggest headache, being inside a fenced off multilevel area with a switchback path, and only one way in and out. Another great leg from 15 to 16 – do you go wide to the south, which is easy to navigate but further to run, or angle north in a more direct line, but slow down to read the detail at the end of the leg?? This was a great test, less so of speed, and more so of minimising errors.

The long Mo course (named for British Olympic champion distance runner Mo Farah) was contested by 60 men and 13 women; the names read like a Whos Who of sprint orienteering. The Big Questions – will the Brits win again, or will local hopes Brodie, Patrick and Aston, prevail? Can anyone beat Tash? Fantastic to see our juniors giving it a go – just a couple of years ago, they were competing on the Usain course (and I speak on behalf of many of us to say thank goodness they’ve moved up from Sally!)

First honours went to Nathan Lawson (15:14), one of our coaches. Nathan started slowly but worked his way into first place by leg 12, winning most of the splits in the second half. Brodie Nankervis was very consistent throughout, but had to settle for second, 14 seconds behind. Patrick Jaffe was leading the race through the middle, but an error at no 12 cost him the win. Champion junior Aston Key led early, but couldnt sustain it through the second half. Brody McCarthy in 7th, Jensen Key in 10th and Will Davey in 16th proved that despite their youth, they could mix it with the more experienced campaigners at this level. Brody saved most of his effort for the specialist legs, winning both Sprint and Hill Climb in his quest for another jersey. As Brody and Nathan already hold jerseys, the polkadot goes to Joe Woodley, who tied with Nathan for second on the climb.

The Mo Women was a more one sided result, with the world’s best female Masters sprinter, Tash Key (19:08), grabbing the lead at control 3, and winning by two minutes. Great to see Aislinn Prendergast back home, and running really well for second, just ahead of Asha Steer, who was second in the Aus Champs sprint race. Tash also won the Sprint leg, but no-one can hold two jerseys, so it sits with Asha; mountain specialist Clare Brownridge flew up the Hill Climb in the fastest time.

The Sally course (named for Australian Olympic hurdles champ Sally Pearson) draws younger juniors, and veterans who prefer a slightly shorter course. We had 60 competitors all up. Callum White has just returned from a very successful week at the Aus Champs, and his great form continued with a convincing win (13:32). Team mate Hadyn Tang was second, only 48 seconds behind. The slightly more mature Gavin Bennette clained third ahead of Stephen Dunbar, while young James Love had an excellent run for fifth. Rod Phillips was another who saved himself for the Sprint and the Climb; he holds the green jersey, with the polkadot going to Gavin.

A very strong field took to the Sally Women course, and I predict a big battle over coming weeks. Heather O’Donnell was first (15:49) and leading all the way, but Sarah Davies was only 11 seconds behind, and took 4 splits off Heather. Sarah, by the way, is our course planner for next week’s race at Cornish College. Fellow junior Sophie Taverna, who showed her talent at Aus Champs last week, was third with a very consistent race. Usually seen on the Mo course, Mel Gangemi was fourth, and young Milla Key handled her first Sally course with aplomb to place 5th. Sarah Love put on a turn of speed to claim the Sprint leg, while Kate Francis stormed up the hill to win the Climb.

No prizes for guessing who the Usain course is named after! This is our easy course, perfect for newcomers and younger navigators. Our Usain Men’s winner was newcomer Elliott Wall (23:16), by a tiny margin of 7 seconds ahead of Evan Gavens, who has grown into his 2017 jersey! Third was Dale Taverna. Evan was quickest on the Sprint and the Climb, but under the rules, Dale claims the polkadot jersey. On the Usain Women, Maya Bennette (17:26) held off an early challenge by Hannah Adams, with new face Frankie Shepard in third. Paula Davey was quickest on the Sprint leg, while Hannah took out the Hill Climb.

Next week’s race is at Cornish College in Bangholme (near Patterson Lakes). This is a new map for Sprint Into Spring. Along with a small but complex campus with a few ups and downs, there are lakes, islands and bridges – and a doozy of a hill climb! The arena is grassy with lovely tall shady trees; perfect for spectating, and a post-race picnic. Enter the school at the main gate on River End Road, and park along the driveway or as directed. Start, Finish and toilets are all close by. Live results will add to the excitement. Entry is $10 for adults and $5 for juniors. Season tickets will be on sale, at $56 for adults and $28 for juniors, covering 7 races. Register between 1pm and 2.30pm, then start your race any time between 1.30-2.45pm.

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