• Adventure orienteers race the clock

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  • Connie Carpenter | Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series
    Ten teams and two solo orienteers tested their mettle as they strived to navigate under chilly temperatures, wet skies and gusting winds during the Gobbler Orienteer Meet Nov. 18.
    The Gobbler used a Score-O format where participants strategized their route choice while scanning the map and identifying locations of navigational controls, descriptions of terrain and markers’ point values. The objective of the Score-O was for orienteers to capture the highest numbers of points versus markers within a set time limit. Each control offered a point value. Controls requiring a greater navigational skill set and a longer trek from the starting point garnered higher values.
    Controls in easily accessible urban areas within a short walking distance of the start resulted in easy captures but lower point values. The course spanned across urban landmarks, hilly terrains, rocky outcrops, creeks and a “fort” within a fort. The fall season’s early winter-like temperatures led to clear woods with most low vegetation and trees stripped bare of leaves and underbrush.
    The meet contained two courses based on time. The short course challenged racers to capture as many points as possible in 90 minutes. For every two minutes past the time cut-off, racers lost 20 points.
    Solo racer Josh Borrell set a blistering pace as he sprinted from the eastern boundary of the course, Sherman Avenue, to the western elevations of the woodlands trail system. However, time became a factor for Borrell as he sought to clear the course of 25 markers for a maximum of 460 points. Faced with the option of violating the 90-minute cut-off or capturing the last remaining southern point, Borrell chose to sprint toward the finish, capturing 24 markers and accumulating 435 points in one hour, 23 minutes.
    Team Jensen, dad and daughter Matt and Megan Jensen, focused their strategy on capturing the high-value markers in the woodland trail system. Under dad’s watchful eye, Megan plotted the team’s capture plan where the team bolted west from the start into the highlands. Jensen’s strategy, with two minutes to spare, proved successful with the team securing 15 markers and 290 points in 1:28.
    The long course offered racers a greater latitude in time with a three-hour cut-off. However, endurance and speed became a factor as the teams sought to capture the maximum amount of points.
    Fritz Menninger dominated the solo division, clearing the course and garnering 460 points in 1:32.
    The team division proved highly competitive as female Team Full Force — Debbie Van Laar, Kendall Guenther and Amy Joyce — battled Team Scott — Chris and Elaine Scott. The difference between second and third place came down to six minutes as Team Full Force pulled ahead of Team Scott, clearing the course in 2:01. However, Scott topped the “rock with a ruck” division where Chris completed the event wearing a vest equal to 15 percent of his body weight.
    Page 2 of 2 - Family Team Superwomen Plus Dad and Mom — Gary, Nicole, Mara and Katelyn Lysaght — also competed in the long course setting an even pace over the eight miles of terrain. Similar to earlier teams, Team Superwomen Plus Dad and Mom aimed for the highlands to include the prized Fort Sully 40-point marker at the top of Hancock Hill. Fort Sully was an 1864 earthwork artillery battery charged with defending Fort Leavenworth against a Confederate cavalry. The landmark encompassed a crater-like imprint of approximately 100 feet. The family team captured the historical marker in addition to 15 other controls for a total of 375 points in 3:15.
    The 2017 Fort Leavenworth Adventure Series continues with the Frosty 40 and Tinsel 20 Orienteer Meet Dec. 9. Additional information is at www.fortleavenworthfmwr.com.
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