bsoa :: BSOC weekend

Temple Newsam Park may not be the most instantly inspiring venue in most people's minds for Britain's premier Schools event, but after a day's chilly control hanging in the winter sunshine the event set for tomorrow looks to be a good one. Temple Newsam is a real schizophrenic area, where super fast park land mixes with runnable white woodland, rhodendendron thickets, and areas of bramble and grassland. Route choice around the devilish path network will be tricky, with steep sided streams and courses with multiple changes of the direction.

Talking about tomorrow's event, the Planner Tony Carlyle says "I'm really looking forward to seeing how the competitors will move through the area, and I hope that the radio control up at the Temple will provide plenty of spectator interest for those standing at the finish. I wish all the athletes good luck and I hope you have a good day's racing and socialising. I've just seen the results from today's race (World School's selection), and with my other hat on, well done to all the Yorkshire Squaddies for some excellent results." (Wendles says she'll just be glad when it's all over!)

The British Schools' weekend began today with a World Schools Selection race, consisting of two classes for Men and Women and some wonderful results from the home county. Julia Blomquist of Charters was the outright winner in W14, leading by 90 seconds over the Yorkshire pair of Chloe Haines (Ilkley Grammar School) and Alice Leake ( ). In the older girls' class, Alice Butt ( ) continued a striking season with an impressive win over the older pair of Anne Edwards (Oxford High) and Victoria Stevens (Bradford Grammar). In the Men's races George Stevens (Bradford Grammar) enjoyed a return to form with a win over pre race favourite Peter Hodkinson (Chilwell School) in M14, with Matt Halliday doing King Henry's proud in 3rd place. There were no such surprises in M16, where the Yorkshire duo of Hector Haines (Ilkley Grammar) and Jack Wood (Guiseley) continuing their season long fight for the top spot. This time Hector came out victorious, by a margin of 20 seconds over his training partner from Ilkley. Ralph Street (Tiffin) continued to do a fine job of chasing the older boys, coming along in third.

So what does this hold for tomorrow? After early starts today Jack and Hector are faced with setting the early pace tomorrow in Boy's Year 12, with first and second start times. In the Girl's class special things will be expected from Dales' Weekend outright winner Anne Edwards, chased closely by Victoria Stevens and Jo Halliday of King Henry's. In Girls' year 10 Julia and Chloe must be at the top of most people's lists, with Ralph Street being favourite on the Boy's course. Year 13 sees final year performances from Matt Lyle, who began orienteering as a Year 5 & 6 school's orienteer and has won a medal in every single British School's Championship since then. Ben Stevens will be on home turf trying to prevent him from his final gold. In the Girl's Year 13, the area should suit Stef Blomquist from Clayesmore, but a newly revitalised Lizi Britton will be hoping to prevent her from getting the gold.

In the Younger classes, British Schools Score champions may be looking to revisit their past successes. Caitlyn Weatherby of St Richards in Year 5, Victoria Littlewood of Bramcote Lorne in Year 6 and the third of the Haines siblings, Florence in Year 7. Elizabeth Parkinson also from Bramcote Lorne won the Year 8 race back then, with Harriet Batten from King Henry's in Year 9. In the Boy's classes there's Sean Martin of Greenhill from Year 5, Aidan Smith of Dore Primary in Year 6, Tom MacKenzie from the chase in Year 8 and Ralph Eliot continuing the tradition set by Matt Lyle from Kingswood in Bath in Year 9.

As far as the Schools' Competitions go, Burford Primary will be hoping to repeat their successes of earlier years with their strong team of 28 orienteers. The Secondary Schools competition is wide open with Ulverston Victoria having the biggest team of 70 orienteers, but will they suffer from the lack of contours and the intricate path network? Hot on their tails in the various classes with be King Henry's from Coventry, Bacup and Rawtenstall from Lancashire, Nottingham High School, Walton High and Barnard Easton from Essex.

Apologies for the lack of start list making this a slightly rubbish preview, but I can promise that the orienteering tomorrow will be fast, furious and need a cool head to complete. I wish everyone the best of luck - see you tomorrow!

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