Fall orienteer meet tests racer strategies

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William Wainwright closes in on the finish marker in the junior male division of the Great Pumpkin Orienteer Meet mini orienteer event Oct. 26 by Gruber Fitness Center. William completed the event in nine minutes, 28 seconds, winning him a box of cookies. Photo by Susy Stephens

Connie Carpenter | Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series

The Great Pumpkin Orienteer Meet showcased fall colors, light winds, and cool temperatures setting the perfect conditions for a clean run and technically competitive meet Oct. 26.


The event offered three courses designed to test orienteers’ attack plans and attention to details. Competitive participants sought to develop an attack plan that captured controls in a sequential pattern minimizing time and distance. Other participants chose to take a leisurely walk with family through the autumn splendor teaching juniors orienteers the art of orienteering with a map.

Orienteer courses specify distances using “as the crow flies” measurements. While the longer course listed the distance as 6.1 kilometers, the actual distance was dependent upon the orienteer’s attack plan. For example, the crow-fly distance between control 5 and 6 was approximately one kilometer. In developing their attack plan, orienteers’ choices included solely following trails, using a hybrid hardball and trail running route, or bushwhacking through woods and trails.

Edwin Callahan topped the leader board clearing the seven controls in 34 minutes, 22 seconds.

Rebecca Garza chose to sharpen her navigation and map reading skills while preparing for Officer Candidate School in early December. Garza topped the solo-female division and cleared the course in 1:35.

Team Duncan — Mike and Katie Duncan — led the family division locating all controls in 1:30.

A mix of solo competitors, duos, and families competed in the shorter, 2.7-kilometer orienteer course. Solo competitors Mike Eglinski, 16:29, and Christy Molzen, 29:46, cleared the course and led their divisions.

Family Team Superwomen Plus Mom and Dad — dad Gary, mom Nicole and daughters Katelyn and Greta Lysaght — edged out Team Mac — dad Tim, mom Jenna, and children Laine and Leigh McDonald — by 60 seconds locating five controls in 33:30.

Duo Team Cardinals — Kathy and Lizzie Pegg — took first in the two-person division in 44:16.

The mini orienteer event was dubbed “Sprint for the Cookies.” Solos, teams and junior orienteers completing the sprint course in the fastest time received boxes of gourmet cookies. Four teams and fourteen solos dashed through the 900-meter, eight-control course.

Junior orienteers Danielle and William Wainwright topped their female and male divisions with times of 6:26 and 9:28.

Edwin Callahan captured the solo-male division in 4:15. Mary Callahan led the solo-female division sprinting the distance in 5:47. Finally, Team Callahan — Edwin, Mary, Lucas and Liam Callahan — scored a triple crown leading the family division in 8:02.

The Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series continues Nov. 30 with the Gobbler Orienteer Meet starting at 8:30 a.m. at Gruber Fitness Center parking lot. For more event information, visit FTLVAdventure.com or call (913) 683-5634.

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