Meet location: Pontiac Lake

Date: May 17, 2009

Director: Bill Pelletier

The O-meet at Pontiac Lake Recreation Area was a new orienteering venue for SMOC with the start at the airplane field in the northwest part of the map. SMOC has only used the west side of the PLRA map twice in the last 8 years, and this is the first time we've started from the airfield. So this was like running on a new orienteering map.

We shared the area with the Pontiac Miniature Airplane Club. At PMACís request for safety reasons, we restricted ourselves from using the southwestern landing approach area and ran our courses south of the airfield. This worked out well, and we did not have any parking problems or safety issues. This was the beginning of a good relationship between the two clubs.

We enjoyed fine orienteering weather with temperatures in the high 50s and strong breezes to cool hot runners.

Four teams did the White course and 15 tried the Yellow course. Mike Mitchell and son Preston zipped through White in 0:43:30. All White teams finished in less than 2 hours. Bill Girardin smoked Yellow in 1:06:16.

One veteran SMOCer always says my Yellow course is too hard. This time she said it was just right. I agree. Everyone finished the White course, and there were only 2 DNFs on Yellow. I started both courses with very easy controls and then included a few harder ones at the end.

Emily Puertas and her father Bob Hester spent hours on the Yellow course, but they had a good excuse—one that I had never heard before. Before starting the course, Emily asked me if she should rent one of SMOCís compasses or use her own. Glancing at hers, I saw it was a Silva orienteering compass. I told her not to rent, that hers was an excellent compass.

Hours later they returned with a compass story. Emily displayed the compass—the red needle on the compass pointed SOUTH, not north. She and Bob explained how confusing this was on the course until they eventually realized what the problem was. I urged them to exchange the month-old compass for a new one, for I assured them Silva would stand behind their products. Next time Iím asked about a compass Iíll do more than depend on a brand name.

Thirteen teams tried Orange with 7 finishes and 6 DNFs. Brett Robinson was the Orange champion with a winning time of 1:46:40. All other Orange competitors were well over 2 hours.

The course was designed to be mostly off-trail with the controls on large features. Controls #1 (ZU) and #7 (EL) generated the most comments.

Control #7 was in a very large depression, but this depression was in the midst of complicated terrain, so I can see how it could be hard to find. It was at the hard end of the range for Orange controls, but I included it near the end of Orange as a bit of a challenge for Orange orienteers.

Several teams had trouble finding #1 (ZU). It was in a re-entrant bounded by hills on the east and west and a stream to the south. There were also large marshes west and east of the hills. So although it may have been hard to navigate directly to it, it should have been findable with all the catching features surrounding it.

Some teams found #4 (CU) difficult even though it was just off-trail on a rockpile in a depression. Greenery around the rockpile partially obscured the control flag from some angles, so you needed orienteering confidence to keep looking.

Eleven teams tried the shorter Green expert course with 6 finishes and 5 DNFs. Norihiko Uchida blew through Green in 1:43:20 with Pat Murad not far behind at 1:56:10.

Ten teams tried Red with 8 finishes and 2 DNFs. Mark Voit, SMOCís president, absolutely smoked Red in 1:05:39. Brian Ross finished second at an impressive 1:23:05.

DL (Red #12, Green #10) was the control on which most of the Red and Green runners commented. Approaching from the west it was very difficult to find because of so few identifiable features and dense foliage. Pace counting and following the map through the foliage helped on this one. One Red runner solved the problem by going north to the trail from the previous control; then he went around on the trail and in from the east to the northern rock pile from the trail and then southwest to the correct rock pile. Many hit either the northern rock pile or the southwestern rock pile thinking incorrectly that they were at the right one, and then weren't sure where they were.

One SMOC veteran said that DT (Red #10, Green #8) was the most difficult correctly hung Red control he had ever seen in all his years of orienteering. DT was hard because it was so easy to lose track of where you were among all the hills and depressions as you traveled north through that intricate terrain south of the control.

Special thanks are due to my home-grown assistants on this O-meet. Joseph Pelletier (16), Blessing Pelletier (13), and Majesty Pelletier (11) helped me scout the control locations and hang all the control flags. Blessing ran the registration table masterfully and Joseph directed parking. Joseph, Blessing, Alan Baljeu, Matt Johns, and Rick Waldo helped pick up controls.


Red (expert): 6.0 km, 14 controls
 Mark Voit1:05:39
 Brian Ross1:23:05
 Igor Guskov1:44:25
 Gabe Svobodny1:48:00
 Tom Lee1:55:50
 Lew Kidder1:59:20
 Anas Orfali2:41:10
 Gary & Marcia Harrington2:52:00
 Tony MaletichDNF
 Greg & Kathy Bunkosky, Jeff & Laurie KrausDNF
Green (expert): 5.2 km, 12 controls
 Norihiko Uchida1:43:20
 Pat Murad1:56:10
 Gordon Seeley2:23:35
 Todd & Katie Emaus, Lindsay Marciniak2:33:10
 Mark Ware & Matt Reynolds2:57:40
 Robert Messer3:43:40
 Dennis ElstonDNF
 Brian DelaneyDNF
 Tina Coughley & Pam BowerDNF
 Megan DonahueDNF
 Pam RiehlDNF
Orange (intermediate): 4.3 km, 9 controls
 Brett Robinson1:46:40
 Matt Johns2:16:10
 Mark & Jennifer Todd2:28:20
 Ken & Zack Swartz2:42:40
 Joseph Marincel & Mike Chmutov2:45:00
 Jens Christiansen2:47:10
 Jason & Tara Culbert2:50:30
 Richard CohenDNF
 Krisanne Schmitt, Linda Ringlein, & Karen HiroutunianDNF
 Jackie OstroskiDNF
 Marsha Nunn & Jill KleinsmithDNF
 Tony MaletichDNF
 Jeff, Zach & Michael PalicDNF
Yellow (advanced beginner): 3.0 km, 8 controls
 Bill Girardin1:06:16
 Brad Swanson1:12:15
 Mary Joscelyn & Catherine Roberts1:12:50
 Matt, Megan & Brian Ross1:20:05
 Sebastian Voit1:22:30
 Alan & Rita Baljeu1:27:40
 Teresa Griffiths family1:33:50
 BS Troop 1542 Ė Tim Dalian1:40:30
 Steve & Sandra Risner, Debbie Maedel1:42:20
 Bob & Robbie Clymie2:04:10
 David Wiltse2:08:50
 Heath Krumlauf family2:15:20
 Tim Schmitt2:23:20
 Emily Puertas & Bob Hester2:34:30
 Bob & Beth BlanchardDNF
 Tom & Ruth Piesik familyDNF
White (beginner): 2.0 km, 6 controls
 Mike & Preston Mitchell0:43:30
 Kalish family1:05:30
 Steve Ucinski & James Montgomery1:35:10
 Paty Hurts family1:58:00

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Modified May 31, 2009, by Robert Messer.