Representing New Zealand in the junior girls' school grade, the team of five girls from Havelock North High School won the team title at the World Schools' Championship in Orienteering held in Turkey.
Jenna Tidswell, Olivia Wolland, Bianca Kirk, Alexandra Miller and Aishlin McIntyre held a 30 minute lead on accumulated time after the long course championship on Monday 20th on the Tekirova map near Antalya on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast. They dominated the grade on the long, placing first, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth.
England held second in the grade on day one with Latvia third a further five minutes in arrears.
Jenna Tidswell's win gave New Zealand its first ever world title at the championship and, for Tidswell, it added a world title to her previous New Zealand and Australian ones. Tidswell, Wolland and Kirk all making the six person podium was another first for their country.
Napier Boys' High School's Bayley Stephens-Ellison was the other medallist on the first day, winning the bronze for third in the junior boys' grade while Napier Girls' High's Georgia Creagh made the podium with sixth in senior girls' grade. Napier Boys' represented New Zealand in both senior and junior while Napier Girls' provided the seniors and Havelock North the juniors in the girls' grades. These schools were selected by Orienteering New Zealand from performances at the NZ secondary school championships last July. All 20 runners received support from the Hawke's Bay Orienteering Club to which they all belong.
The middle course on the rocky and technical Beycik map on Wednesday 22nd tripped up many of the runners from all countries but the lead the Havelock junior girls had set up on the first day served them well. Latvia made a charge at them to win the day by six minutes but, from third place and 36 minutes behind Havelock starting the day, they succeeded only in overtaking England for second. The Havelock girls held on to win the team title by their day one margin of 30 minutes, the largest margin of the winning school teams in the championship.
Bianca Kirk led Havelock with a fourth place, Jenna Tidswell had to settle for sixth, Alex Miller and Aishlin Mcintyre were 11th equal.
The Kiwi junior boys (NBHS) finished fourth, the senior girls (NGHS) sixth and the senior boys (NBHS) eleventh.
The friendship relay on the 23rd, while a fun event for athletes and coaches, provided another New Zealand win. Sebastian Ayson-Macfarlane (NBHS) teamed with Maciej Lucerski (Poland) and Esmee de Maele (Belgium Flanders) to win from 213 other teams.
Even more was to follow when the New Zealand team under delegation head Karen Beckman was chosen by a vote of all the countries as the winner of the Fair Play trophy, called Joy in Moving, for the manner in which they had conducted themselves at the championship.
The next World Schools Championship in Orienteering will be hosted by Italy in April or May of 2017.
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