Thank you to everyone who participated in the March 27th Wallace State Park orienteering event—our family’s first attempt at map-making, course setting, and directing a meet. Despite the rain and the distant location of the park, 68 people showed up—the perfect mix of veteran orienteers and beginners. Smiling faces, encouraging words, post-competition discussions, and great food added to the camaraderie of the gathering. I am grateful to those who made the effort to come early and take part in the relay race (especially the four JROTC Keelhauler teams) —it was an exciting addition to the regular courses. (I hope there will be another one soon, so I can compete!)
Some of the highlights from the days’ races include: Orienteer Kansas #1 (Gene Wee, Mary Jones, and Fritz Menninger) beating nine other teams in the 3.1 km relay by almost 2 minutes (29:37); Team Awesome taking first on White by less than a minute (24:24); False Start, the only start on Yellow, finishing with a time of 1:22:00; Mary Jones gaining another first on Orange (50:26); Dave Coziahr topping the Green competitors with a time of 1:00:20 (after running all 3 legs of the relay by himself!!); and Michael Eglinski easily winning Red in 49:39 (Joe missed having one more chance to try to beat him). Fortunately, there were no major injuries—the slippery mud and steep hillsides and stream banks made the footing treacherous in spots.
Several people commented on the high quality of the PTOC meet. Our group effort resulted in a splendid time for everyone! Huge thank you’s to Dick Neuburger (set-up of the meet site), Reta Roe (registration and vetting), Nick Hockman (registration and snacks), Nancy Neuburger (control pick-up), Kevin Shipley (help with all of our computer/OCAD/GPS questions and troubles), Mike Shifman (advice on course setting), Chris Stone (delicious pots of chili), and the Barrett girls (birthday cakes for their brother, Joe). Special thanks to my sons, Matt and Joe, for their seemingly endless hours of running back and forth through the 500 acre park with their GPS Forerunners, figuring out OCAD (much more quickly than I did), and redoing the map (in the field and on the computer) every time it didn’t look quite right to me. This was an excellent learning experience that gave our family a greater appreciation for those PTOC members who set courses, direct meets, and make maps every year.
I hope that you all enjoyed the day as much as I did, and that you will get to go back to Wallace SP when the sun is shining to appreciate the beautiful scenery and tranquility—unless my boys are there, racing, whooping, and splashing in the big creek!!