The depths of winter are a perfect time to look back with nostalgia on those crisp autumn days ... and for the coordinator to type up a long-overdue summary of the 2022 NEOC Fall Point Series!
Hundreds of NEOC members and non-members enjoyed the fall season at Pearl Hill, Bigelow Hollow, Rocky Woods, and Hale. 39 people ran the same level course at three of these events. The series used "cross country scoring" again this year, with first place receiving one point, second two points, and so forth. Each athlete's lowest three scores were totaled, and the athlete with the lowest score on each course was victorious. However, sharp-eyed observers noted that there are some people who ran regularly, but not always on the same course. Couldn't there be a way to recognize their achievements as well? And are there still more achievements worthy of commendation, other than just being the fastest of the season? We added a few new awards this year, and are already planning for a couple more in 2023.
Isla Finlayson-Johnecheck was the only white-course runner to complete three events, and the only runner on any course to achieve a perfect score of 3. On yellow, Paul Williams was very consistent, finishing at the top of the leaderboard with 4 points, followed closely by Peter Campbell.
Orange featured a wide array of competitors: high school students gaining technical skills before "moving up" to advanced courses, veterans short on time or energy on a given day "running down" from their usual course, usually-yellow runners looking for an extra challenge, and more. Sometimes Orange is the "Goldilocks course" - not too long or hard, not too short or easy, but just right. Still, it doesn't seem to be many people's "usual course" as only two club members had three results on orange ... and they are both Board members! Wendy Johnecheck edged out Channon Ames for the top slot. Lukas Webb (moving up from yellow in 2021) had a first and a second place finish, but didn't make it to a third event this year.
Brown is another Goldilocks course, with many runners mixing in a brown run here and there. 13 people made it their main course, with Michael Cooper topping the list and Stephen Tarry right behind. This course also saw a lot of loyal runners: with three people completing four brown courses, and two: Dorina Nimigean and Jim Crawford completing all five.
The battle of the generations played out on Green, right down to the last race between young Mori Finlayson-Johnecheck and not-so-young Andy Hall. Some friendly-trash talking was noted in advance of the final event at Hale. The result? Tied for first with five points each. However, Zephyr Newman earned the Award for Awesome Improvement over the course of the season, running green at all five events and improving steadily from not finishing at Rocky Woods to third place at both of the final events!
While the purple division (blue/red combo) didn't have anyone complete three races, the red course featured some heated competition. Alison Crocker showed everyone how it's done with a near-perfect four points. J-J Cote edged out Isabel Bryant for the second place slot by a mere one point.
Finally, the Movin' Up Prize is being awarded to two runners this year. Conlan Doran started the season with three strong runs on green, then moved up with 8th and 2nd place finishes on the red course. Min-Jae Kuo also competed in all five events, beginning on yellow, then two runs on orange, and finally jumping up to brown with excellent results.
Hurrah and congratulations to all NEOC members who got out in the woods this past fall. Being in the woods with a map in hand is a reward in itself, but for those who like a bit of friendly competition, we hope the point series delivered.
See you in 2023!
The 2023 Winter Challenge is open to current NEOC members. Courses have been designed at four locations around Massachusetts. Set yourself a challenge and reach one of these challenge levels:
The Challenge starts on MLK weekend 2023 and runs through April 1! We'll keep track of who has done which trainings with an online spreadsheet, so make sure you are filling it out for each course you run! Please share your comments on the courses or just enter your name to let us know you are getting out on the courses.
The Winter Challenge is a training activity for NEOC members. Details will be sent with your member card when you join NEOC for 2023.
HVO and WCOC are hosting a series of nine bare-bones, time-yourself orienteering races this winter. Participants download the maps from a link posted on HVO’s website. Control flags will be out in the woods for at least four weeks and the events overlap some weekends so you can do two in one day/weekend if you want. You run whenever you want while the flags are out.
The series runs though March 26, 2023 at locations in Connecticut and New York. Details at HVO's website.