August 5, 2020

Pine Creek Meet

            What a rewarding experience for my first time as meet director! With the guidance of Sergey Velichko, Melanie Wright, and in particular John Murray, I learned the fundamentals of mapping and orienteering course design. When possible, locate controls on point features (boulders, rootstocks, summits) rather than more ambiguous contour positions (halfway up a re-entrant) to ensure participants reach the exact correct location. Mix up short and long legs for variety and to require different strategies. Consider your intended participants for each course--what would they find both challenging and entertaining? John gave me a giant green light to "put the advanced orienteers through hell" and I enthusiastically designed a course taking them up, around, and down the entire mountain.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Smackey
Photo courtesy of Carrie Magnuson 

            Despite the triple-digit temperatures of the weekend, we had 14 orienteerers venture off into the wilderness, including Nick Collias and his pair of budding navigators and Carrie Magnuson and her four-legged companion Sue. Also, Nate Ramsey, upon finishing his very first sport course, decided to immediately try his first intermediate course, which was impressive. 
            After my preparation, it was incredibly exciting to welcome everyone to the meet and send them off on their respective courses, and then incredibly nerve-wracking in the 45 minutes before anyone returned. Did I misplace a control? Is everyone lost? Are they plotting their revenge and sharpening sticks to come charging up the hill right behind me?? Thankfully, all controls were in their correct positions (minus one that Sergey adjusted slightly), although I realized that finding a specific rootstock on an entire hillside of rootstocks could feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. 
            The results are posted below, and I would like to draw your attention to one orienteerer in particular. John Murray finished first in his singular category of Wise Intermediate for both his advance knowledge of the course and more importantly, his mentorship and wisdom and time invested in guiding me through this process. Thank you very much, John!

            Of course, I can always continue learning, and I've already identified the next step. In fact, I had plenty of time to choose carefully in the six hours I spent setting 30 controls. Use the same controls on multiple courses, Zach! Therefore, I am extremely grateful to Jerry Stewart, Andy and Elijah Hill, John Murray, and Jennifer Smackey for their immense help cleaning up controls, and Steve Clayton in setting up controls. Thank you everyone for attending and I look forward to the next meet August 23rd at Bear Basin in McCall!



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