One of my favorite sports movies of all time is the baseball themed Field of Dreams. It contains the line “If you build it he will come” often quoted as “if you build it they will come”. A year ago I had to wonder if that would apply to orienteering. Just about a year ago I met some JROTC leaders from South Florida who had brought their teams to an event at Lake Manatee State Park. “Why doesn’t FLO put on an event in South Florida,” they said, “we’d get lots of participation.”
“I don’t know why FLO doesn’t,” I replied, “but I could do it.” Of course at the time I was thinking of recycling the FLO map of Oleta River State Park and calling on our friend Lorena Kleinemann to do a lot of the work. In fact I knew why FLO was not putting on events outside of the Central Florida area. With a roster of three meet director/ course setters they are stretched to the limit to stage the existing monthly series, let alone expand. Come on people; step up. But that is another story.
“If we put on an event you can be sure it will be a quality event,” assured Master Chief Sosa. So a year passed. The ORSP map would not work out so I found and mapped another venue, Markham Park in Sunrise, FL. The park and Broward County officials were very helpful, even supplying a set of LiDAR contours for the area which helped tremendously in mapping the intricate contour detail created by piling mounds of excavated material when the park lakes were created.
Master Chief Sosa and his colleague Chief Tyson were good to their word and Lorena did a fantastic job publicizing and running the ‘FLO side’ of the event. Some 150 cadets participated on their three courses. As predicted, five high school JROTC units from South Florida sent teams including three participating in their first orienteering event. Three schools came over from the Suncoast area but George Jenkins HS from Lakeland gets the travel prize.
As a retired phys ed teacher and coach I always enjoy working with the Florida JROTC cadets and leaders. The leaders give a lot for the students and the students give back in the form of visible development, growth of team spirit and so much more. This event was no exception. Thanks are due to Cdr Bingham and Master Chief Sosa of Boca Raton HS and Chief Tyson of Ft Lauderdale HS and so many more who helped make this quality event happen.
On the FLO side of the event I was very pleased to see some 30 entries on the day. They were served and kept in order through the entry and electronic chip timing process by Lorena with the help of Mike Engestrom, a former orienteer from West Point and Quantico OC with roots in orienteering going back to the 1980s, brought out of retirement by a notice on the FLO website and a realization that the event would be happening mere miles from his home in Weston.
David Shurman was a great help on the day, test running the Yellow course before tackling his own Blue course and then sticking around to see if he could help pick up markers. Also thanks to James Nici who arranged for the printing of the maps and test ran the Blue course several days before.
Besides several groups new to orienteering we were pleased to see the participation of some adventure racers from the area. Thanks to them for also helping to pick up control markers.
Notable performances? I would have to put Sebastien Michko at the top of the list. A cadet at Ft Lauderdale, he ran and won the Green course before tackling the Blue course to post the second fastest time of the day on the longer course. His Green course win puts Michko back on top of the FLO JROTC rankings for the year. Cristian Criola of Venice broke the 20 minute barrier on the Yellow course. Channell Walters and Carolyn Wolfarth of Boca separated by four seconds to finish one-two among Yellow course females. Who doesn’t look back at a course and think where they could have saved four minutes let alone four seconds. Good results girls! In all the cadet medallists came from seven of the ten participating schools.
FLO member Tracy Acuff had a strong run and the second fastest ‘civilian’ time on the Green Course after a difficult time letting her garmin do the navigating to the event.
Peter Rosche and Jacob Sizemore of Dunedin HS entered the FLO side of the competition, sped around the Orange course and finished with times that would have put them 2-3 in the cadet competition.
Heartbreak of the day? That would have to be Marco Costello, an orienteer originally from Italy and now living in South Florida. By far he had the best time on Blue only to have missed out one of the 24 controls. He thinks it happened by having his thumb placed over important detail on the map.
Thank you to all. I am hoping we can schedule another event in South Florida in the near future.
|DNF||Did Not Finish|
|DQ||Disqualified (Missed Controls)|
|OT||Over 3 Hour Time Limit|