Last week two groups of pupils from Ulverston achieved success in national & international orienteering competitions.
Seven pupils travelled to the World Schools Championships held near Antalya, Turkey. This is the first time the biennial championships have been held in Turkey so it was a step into the unknown regarding the terrain and weather. However, by looking at previous maps from the area and checking some videos posted on Facebook, the group were able to prepare themselves by training on similar terrain in the Lake District.
Adam was part of the senior boys select team. He is the first pupil to represent England in 3 championships after a change in the rules this year. Previously he ran in the UVHS schools teams. The standard in the seniors is extremely high with very strong teams from Sweden, Finland and France to contend with. Adam struggled in the long race, finishing 43rd, but was more pleased with the middle distance where he was the first England finisher in 25th place.
Harry was part of the junior boys select team, running in his first international competition. He ran very well in the long race, finishing in a creditable 17th place. He consolidated this with 25th position in the middle distance. As part of a very strong team, Harry is proud to come home with a gold medal as England dominated the team prize.
UVHS has had school teams selected for every championship since 1997 and this year they were chosen as the junior girls school team. With no idea of the standard of the other countries the 5 girls from UVHS could only concentrate on their orienteering and hope it would be good enough
The long race produced highs and lows. Megan had a stunning run, planning the long legs well in advance and hitting the controls cleanly. She was rewarded with an individual silver medal. Anna ran a really good race to finish 9th and Fiona completed the scoring in 22nd place. Catherine ran extremely well and would have been 7th, but went to the wrong fallen tree and was disqualified. Tilly made 3 mistakes and finished in 27th place.
The long race was dominated by New Zealand who had 5 girls in the top 8 places. However, UVHS were in 2nd place, a long 30 mins behind. They were closely followed by Latvia, 5 mins back, and then Spain, a further 13 mins behind. It would be almost impossible to catch NZ, but Latvia were strong and it would be hard to maintain 2nd place.
The middle distance race was much shorter, but the terrain was very rocky resulting in some slow times. Catherine put her mistake from the first race behind her and had a clean run to finish 8th. Tilly also overcame her previous disappointment and finished 3 mins behind Catherine in 16th place. The school score was completed by Anna in 26th place. As expected the Latvian team had storming runs, beating UVHS by over 20 mins to take the team silver medal behind NZ in 1st place. However, UVHS had done enough to take the bronze medal ahead of Spain.
This was a great result for a team who had flown in under the radar and let their orienteering do the talking. The most pleasing aspect was that all 5 girls contributed to the school score, demonstrating the strength of the team. Now, they are preparing for the 2017 championships to be held in Italy.
At the same time a larger group travelled to the British Championships in the Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. The area is completely different to the Lake District with a maze of tracks, footpaths, streams and ditches. However, the undulating, deciduous woodland was lovely to run through and there were some fast times posted. Taking the wrong path or missing a small stream resulted in time being lost on the challenging courses.
Results from the individual event on Saturday were solid if not spectacular. In the M16a class Sam finished a creditable 8th, just missing the championship time by 2 mins. The year 7 girls have only been orienteering for 6 months, but still managed some strong results in W12a. Ellie finished 8th (championship time), 40 secs ahead of Merryn (10th). Charlotte (18th), Sophie (19th), Rebecca (21st) & Lucy (23rd) also posted good times. Jess finished 9th in her first year in W14a.
In contrast to the results on Saturday, Sunday’s relays were outstanding. Pupils were running as part of Lakeland Orienteering Club. The M18 team of Sam (M16), Alex (M16) and Noah (M18, Kirkby Lonsdale) finished third, against older teams. The girls teams did even better. The W18 team of Daisy (W16), Polly (W16) and Hannah (W18, Cartmel) held their nerve to win GOLD. However, the result of the weekend came from the W14 team. Merryn (W12) finished the first leg in 2nd place, 1 min behind the leaders. Ellie (W12) took the lead by 40 secs and Jess (W14) held off the strong challenge from the Derby team to win GOLD. With most pupils having at least another year, if not two, in their relay classes, the future looks good