Orienteering Challenges Fitness, Intellect

Photo+by+Nick+Johnson

Freshman Hayden Wells competes in the Orienteering Championships at Hidden Lakes park in Martinez. Wells was one of many runners that competed.

Nick Johnson, Staff Writer

 The cross country team competed in its annual Orienteering Championships on October 4.  The event was held at Hidden Lakes Park in Martinez.

 Head Coach Chuck Woolridge thought that the championship was a great way “to give students an exposure to another kind of competitive running and another opportunity for athletes to socialize and enjoy their fitness.”

Athletes raced to 12 checkpoints scattered throughout the park. The terrain was tough and included obstacles such as steep hills, dark paths through trees, and tall grasses. Sophomore William Buckley found the course difficult. “I learned that the quickest way to a checkpoint might be more dangerous than a longer way,” he said.

The participants received a map of the course and the locations of the checkpoints. On the back were written clues.

Orienteering is a sport in which a runner must find their way around unfamiliar terrain from checkpoint to checkpoint.  There is no set course, and athletes may visit the check points in any order.  While physical fitness is an important asset, map reading and decision making are also vital skills.

Will Buckley won the boy’s veteran race,  followed by junior Trent Capurro and senior Omid Boozapour.

The girl’s veteran race was won by sophomore Natalie McCullough, followed by senior Victoria Otto and sophomore Hana Sun.

Freshman Jack Strong won the boys rookie race, arriving at the finish before sohpomore Victor Peterson and freshman Richard Gong, who came in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

The girl’s rookie race was won by junior Clarina He, followed by freshman Amalia Riegelhuth and sophomore Liz Timmons.

An hour after the race had started, the first  runners began crossing the finish line.

Buckley had an effective strategy. “I would go as fast as I could to the checkpoints, and take a break and look at the map once I got to the checkpoints,” he said.

According to the Campolindo Cross Country website, the race was not all serious competition. Awards were also presented for “best costume” and “most hard-core.”

Junior Mary Orders, who was trapped in a mud pit, was given the Hard Core award.   Freshman Max Lee and junior Sam Lee, brothers, won for best costume with their eccentric sumo wrestling costumes. Sophomore Cameron Atwood also won the award for wearing cowboy chaps and a bandana.

“For the veterans, it’s always interesting to see how they’ve learned the terrain at Hidden Lakes Park, and for the rookies, it’s a challenge having to navigate through geography that is unfamiliar to them,” Woolridge said.