Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022 - Orienteering SA

South Australian athlete Zoe Carter has taken out the National Orienteering League (NOL) knockout sprints competition on the Gold Coast, in an upset win.

The knockout races took place across the ANZAC weekend at Benowa State High School, Griffith University Gold Coast, and Helensvale State High, with the final at Upper Coomera State College, a multi-storey high school with complex buildings, underpasses, obstacles, stairways and dead ends on a brand-new orienteering map.

Carter was out of the blocks early in the race which required each of the six finalists to silently choose from three different map configurations, known as “runners’ choice”, to suit both fast runners and technical navigators.

En route to the first electronic control point for all maps, Carter was placing second behind race favourite Nea Shingler of NSW, but once inside the school, Shingler took a sharp left, followed by the rest of the pack, while Carter turned sharp right.

That was the last Carter saw of her competition.

Watching the action from the arena overlooking the spectator control midway through the course, Orienteering SA Coach-in-Residence Evalin Brautigam said no one expected what happened next.

“There was an audible gasp from the crowd when Zoe ran into the arena alone at the halfway mark, punched her control – and departed just as the second runner, Milla Key, ran in,” Brautigam says.

“In orienteering, route choice is everything, and when it comes to sprints, it’s common to have a single second separating the place-getters.”

Carter said she was slightly alarmed when she found herself running on her own.

“When I ran out of the buildings at the spectator control I had no idea where I was placed – I thought my second leg might be longer than their first, but I just kept my focus on the map and my running.”

As it turned out, the results show that Carter was ahead by 16 seconds at the first control and picked up a further 4 seconds to win by 20 seconds – a clean pair of heels in sprinting terms. She completed the 1.4km course in 6 minutes,10 seconds:  " An impressive feat that would be impressive even without the need to navigate a complex campus," said Orienteering SA President Robert Tucker.

Coach-in-residence Evalin Brautigam said her fellow SA team members could not be prouder.

“For Zoe to win by 20 seconds is an incredible margin in a highly competitive national field like this. Her navigation and strategy had to be perfect to achieve that.”

This wasn’t the only win for the South Australian cohort over the ANZAC weekend.

An elite team comprising Evalin Brautigam, Angus Haines, Emily Sorensen and Simon Uppill won the NOL Night Relay, while Angus Haines placed second to Victorian Aston Key in the Men’s Elite final. 

For Zoe Carter, the win has made her think more about her future in the sport.

"I am very happy to have a win for South Australia. It's given me the motivation to aim higher and I'm hoping that includes representing Australia internationally one day."

About Orienteering SA

Orienteering SA is the peak body for orienteering in South Australia, an affiliate of Orienteering Australia, the national body. Orienteering SA’s purpose is to create a strong community of lifelong orienteers, each enjoying a sense of inclusion, well-being and achievement, no matter what their age, stage of life, or fitness.

To find out more about orienteering in South Australia, including map downloads and information about DIY orienteering using the MapRun app, visit:

https://www.sa.orienteering.asn.au/

For orienteering events near you, visit:

http://eventor.orienteering.asn.au/

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Leila Henderson, Orienteering SA

P: 0414 69 70 71
W: sa.orienteering.asn.au/

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South Australian Zoe Carter, 17, wins National Orienteering League knockout sprint contest in Women's and Junior Women's elite classes on Gold Coast

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