Monday, April 22, 2024

Eastern Zone Sprint Series back for 2023

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Scarlette Wardle, Year 11 at Sancta Maria College, approaches an orienteering control. Photo Finn Granich

After three years of cancellations and shortened orienteering seasons due to Covid-19 restrictions, Counties Manukau Orienteering Club (CMOC) is celebrating the return of the Eastern Zone Sprint Series, with six events taking place at East Auckland schools in February and March 2023.

The reinvigorated Eastern Zone Sprint Series gives intermediate and college students in years 7 to 13 the opportunity to experience orienteering in an accessible urban setting – navigating the grounds of a local school – and builds confidence while promoting fitness, resilience, and problem-solving. The Eastern Zone Sprint Series is free for participants, through a generous grant through Sport Auckland from the Tu Manawa Active Aotearoa Fund.

The 2023 events will be held on Tuesdays starting at 4pm at the following east Auckland schools – 21 February 21, Farm Cove Intermediate; February 28, Sancta Maria College; March 7, Mission Heights Junior College; March 14, Bucklands Beach Intermediate; March 21, Pakuranga College; March 28, Macleans College.

“The Eastern Zone Sprint Series is very popular among school-aged youth as it’s suitable for beginners to experienced orienteers,” says event organiser Brian Long.

“In past years, we’ve hosted around 500 students each week over the six weeks. School staff also appreciate the opportunity for their students to participate in this activity, often expressing delight at seeing students not of a sporting inclination taking part.”

“Beginner orienteers enjoy learning a new activity and getting fit while exploring the grounds of local schools, while more experienced orienteers like to improve on their finish time from week to week and compete for points,” Long says.

“Although orienteering is an individual activity, it’s a very friendly and supportive community environment where participants are encouraged to do their best and improve on their skills over time.”

Long says that all students are welcome to attend the Eastern Zone Sprint Series, even if they can only make it to one event. “Come along and give it a go. If you’ve never orienteered before, that’s okay, we have several helpers at each event whose role is to show you what to do,”

Students participate in four categories – Year 7/8, Year 9, Year 10/11, and Year 12/13. For those who choose to be competitive, the top 10 Eastern Zone Sprint Series competitors in each category go on to the Sprint Final, which brings together students from the greater Auckland region and takes place on Sunday, March 26 (location TBC).

Students who are interested in participating in the Eastern Zone Sprint Series should get in touch with their school’s sports coordinator. More information about orienteering can be found at cmoc.co.nz, or facebook.com/cmorienteering.

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