Granite Bay

Dec. 13, 2009

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By Stew Hintz, Course Setter


Showery skies and a brisk wind did not dampen the spirits of 39 competitors who took to the woods and trails along Folsom Lake on Dec. 13 for a day of orienteering.


Gold Country Orienteers capped its 2009 season as it opened it with a Score-O, where contestants scrambled to find as many controls as they could and still beat the 90-minute time limit.


Of the 23 teams braving the elements and an aging map, adventure racer Dan Rathbun stood out, collecting all but 2 of the 32 available controls in a time of 87:59. His point total of 142 was nearly eclipsed by orienteer Jonas Libell, but 139 points was not enough to propel Libell ahead of Rathbun.


Both men ran a near flawless race in conditions that could be described as sloppy at best. They came in ahead of the 90-minute time limit and did not suffer penalties.  Other competitors were not so lucky.


The format for scoring deducted one full control punched for every minute or portion of a minute over time. This saw many competitors cross the finish line with a good number of points on their score card, but when the high scoring controls they worked so hard to find were deducted, their official results placed them behind the pack.


The overall results only tell half the story, as some teams chose to collect as many controls as they could at a certain skill level and actually were competing within the competition. Sometimes when you run with the Big Dogs you can only win by running your own race.


Collin Quesenberry and his team of Pierce Stegman and Jess Avilla may have been the only ones on the "beginners' course," but they got all eight controls in 57:04.  This is a smoking hot time for what essentially was a white level course in tough conditions. Congratulations to these gentlemen are in order.


On the advanced beginners' course, what would be a yellow course, Glenn and Paige Hermanson topped William Honigs, Sebastian Honigs and Nobel Blutin. Both teams suffered the brutal effect of the penalty rule, but the Hermansons retained the lead.


The intermediate course saw a clean competition with all three teams coming in under the time limit. Prajna Ta topped two other teams on what was an orange level course.


Thank you to all who came out to play in the rain with us. A special thanks goes out to the GCO event crew of Marsha Jacobs, Jennifer Kerr, David Takacs and Ellie Lightfoot. Without volunteers to staff the meets, there would be no meets to attend. Dwight Freund and Al Berkowitz stayed after and helped with control pickup.


The efforts of the State Parks employees should also be mentioned. Recent budget cuts have impacted the parks department heavily, but despite this our friends with the state have been as courteous, helpful and efficient as always in getting us our permits and taking care of us on the day of the meet. Thank you.


Explanation of the results:


Following the competitor's name will be the number of controls credited. The next column is the penalty column, where the first number in the parentheses represents the raw score and the second number is the value of the controls assessed as penalties.  The value of penalties was determined by adding together the point values from the number of controls a competitor was docked for being over time. Each minute or portion of a minute over time cost you a control. We deducted points starting with the highest value control. The last column represents the true time on the course in minutes.


Thoughts on the course and format:


A Score-O tests you navigation skill as well as your time management.  The harsh penalties force one to accept the limitations of time as well as physical or technical challenges.  This was evident in Dan's results. He could have picked up another control near the finish line, but that one-point control could have cost him 10 points if he were over time.  This kind of format is different from the linear thought process that appears to go into a standard orienteering course.


In a regular point to point course, you could be expected to focus on only one thing at a time to complete the course, but seasoned navigators know that to win at a high level of competition your thought process is never linear. You are constantly matching your physical output with your ability to follow and simplify the map while oftentimes thinking two, three or more controls ahead of where you are presently running.  We have a small but growing number of orienteers who are rising to that level of skill attending our meets and it is joy to set courses and watch them work these puzzles out.


I had intended runners to make a counter-clockwise loop of the course and I thought starting along the shoreline and working to the back parking lot would be a good route to follow.  In using that route, I totaled about 8.5 kilometers of running through moderately undulating terrain: Some on trails and some on roads, but a good portion of the course was through the woods. Running conditions were sloppy, but ideal. We had no heat and the grasses were moderate.


The map is substandard in so many ways. It is a challenge to set courses here and even more difficult to navigate (as I mentioned to some, don't even try to find your way on this map at night.  Hopefully in the future, a new map will open this park up to its full orienteering potential.


On a personal note:

I started orienteering at Granite Bay on April 30, 1999, and on that day found the one sport I wished to devote my life to.  This park is my home park and I visit its trails and secret places almost every week throughout the year.  It is beautiful every day of the year despite the weather or whatever distractions life will throw at you.  I hope you enjoyed your time here and I hope you can find your own home park or special place (you are always welcome to share mine).  It was a privilege to bring this event to you.


I will see you in the woods.

Stew Hintz



Name(s)                    Points       (Total-Penalty)       Time             


Dan Rathbun                         142                     87:59


Jonas Libell                        139                     89:16


Charles Carlson, Taylor Coupe        94                     89:21


Roy Malone                           73    (123-50)         94:29


Jennifer Kerr                        72                     86:27


Jim Fish                             65    (85-20)          91:27


Joe Berendt                          60    (100-40)         93:14


Dwight Freund, Al Berkowitz          52                     89:01


Nigel Killeen                        35    (55-20)          91:55


Paul Keeton                          32                     85:00


Venturing Crew 55 "P-Team"

Catherine Pohle, Philip Pohle        26                     83:25


Shelly Sirkus                        21                     81:39


Steven Duke                          21    (53-30)          92:41


Prajna Ta                            20                     83:57


Erin Magers, Craig Pierce            18    (88-70)          98:39


Venturing Crew 55 "A-Team"

Amanda Clark, Amanda Muir            15                     83:40


Danny Lulla, Autumn Lulla            10                     83:58


Glenn Hermanson, Paige Hermanson     10    (18-8)           93:12


Collin Quesenberry, Pierce Stegman,

Jess Avilla                           8                     57:04


William Honigs, Sebastian Honigs, Nobel Blutin  8     (10-2)         90:31


Mike McManus, Shelby McManus          5     (42-37)         95:11


Venturing Crew 55 "SAS"

Sky Pohle, Anne Pohle, Stu Clark      4     (41-37)         95:09


Ryan Codrey, Will Roberts, Bruce Roberts  Disqualified due to excess time on course


Beginners Course


Collin Quesenberry, Pierce Stegman,

Jess Avilla                         8                       57:04            


Advanced Beginners Course


Glenn Hermanson, Paige Hermanson          10    (18-8)                  93:12


William Honigs, Sebastian Honigs, Nobel Blutin  8     (10-2)            90:31


Intermediate Course


Prajna Ta                           20                      83:57


Venturing Crew 55 "A-Team"

Amanda Clark, Amanda Muir           15                      83:40


Danny Lulla, Autumn Lulla           10                      83:58



Participants: 39




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