Monday, 27 October 2014

North American Orienteering Championships

     It has been two weeks since the North American Orienteering Championships wrapped up in Arnprior, Ontario. The weekends races were top notch and I think they were the best Canada has ever put together. Impressive!
Results: http://www.naoc2014.ca/results-centre

     The middle distance did not go quite the way I had hoped. Since arrive back from Europe I did not get the chance to orienteering in the forest as much as I would have liked. With that being said I was orienteering with some of my old bad habits. I was sloppy with my orienteering, rushing things and not fully trusting my compass, instead thinking I new better. After a frustrating middle distance I realized all I had to do was have a clean, steady race to do well.
                                                                             Going to the 18th control                                                   Photo: Adian Zissos
Middle route
     The long was much better technically but I still made some stupid mistakes. The course was pretty technical like the middle distance, so you had to be focused all the time and when I lost focus or second guessed myself it usually led to a mistake. After a race that wasn't that great I managed to take the bronze medal.
                                                                                    Leaving the 22nd control                                               Photo: Adian Zissos
                                                                                                           Finish                                                                  Photo: Ethan Childs
                                                                                           Canadian sweep!                                             Photo: Adian Zissos
Left to right: Wil Smith, Robbie Anderson, Damian Konotopetz   Photo: Adian Zissos
Long route
Long route
     My final chance to win a NAOC race was in the sprint which had been a goal of mine for a few years. I new the course was going to be very fast with a more tricky section in the first part, a middle section where you would have to run like a maniac and a chaotic last section with a lot of controls. I started out well and under control until I almost overlooked a route choice to number six. Luckily I saved it in time and minimized the mistake to around 5ish seconds but it could have been much worse. I think I also lost a few seconds on the run to number ten because I was trying to get a real good look at the final section because I can remember when I looked ahead to the end, I thought to myself "dam that's a mess of controls, I can't mess anything up there or any chance at winning will be gone". I managed to get through the last eight controls very well and I think that is the reason why I ended up winning the GOLD! Placing first overall added to the significance of being the NAOC sprint champ and the meaning of the gold medal. All the hard work finally payed off. What a feeling!

     Being the top Canadian and winning the NAOC sprint has qualified me to run in the 2015 WOC Sprint in Scotland as per the Canadian Selection Criteria. Time to start preparing! I will get another chance to qualify to run the middle or long next summer in the Canadian Team Trials since both of the Regional WOC spots were won by Canadians at NAOC.
                                                            At the start                           Photo: Robert Svoboda
                                                                                             In the final loop                                                           Photo: Adian Zissos
                                                                                    Pushing hard in the finish                                                    Photo: Adian Zissos
                                                                                                         GOLD!                                                                Photo: Robert Svoboda

                                    Couldn't keep the Canadian sweep alive    Photo: Robert Svoboda
Sprint route
     After about one hour of rest the sprint relay started, so there was not much time to recover from the sprint. I ran second and had a great race again. The course was three quarters in the forest which added an extra challenge. The forest was quite open which didn't slow the running speed down too much. I ended up having the fasted time out of everyone.
                                                    Tori tagging off to me                    Photo: Robert Svoboda
                                                             Cruising in                               Photo: Robert Svoboda
                                                           Finish                                      Photo: Ken Walker
                                                    Tagging off to Will                       Photo: Robert Svoboda
Sprint Relay route
After a few cross country races with my University of Calgary Team, I am ready for some much needed rest!

Train on,
Damian

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