Greetings fellow O'ers!

Perhaps in no small part because the rain held out, and the near perfect temperatures for a good park walk/run/sprint to hunt for controls, we had an excellent turnout for our first meet of 2006.

The beginner course kept it simple and did a route through Julia Davis park along some of the scenic landmarks, and within earshot of the regular zoo announcements. Dondi Black, fresh from a Boise Run/Walk training session (for Robie Creek), took Sage the greyhound around in hopes of garnering a first place. She came sprinting in behind him, but alas, Mike Bading and Matt Score warmed up on the same loop at a blistering pace to take the prize. The Middleton family, led by Mike and Laura, and invited by the Ritzenthalers, came out and breezed through the park in a great time for the first time out. It looks like they will be ready for more when the next meet comes 'round.

Intermediate extended the range well into the BSU campus, drawing the most competition on a nice moderate distance. Jeff Decker, Donna Goodwin, along with Emma and Maggie Gregory, teamed the course and had a great time doing it. Shadowed by her father through the labyrinth of buildings, Masha Velichko again stepped up to the intermediate level and took third place in the process! The Bergset brothers, namely David and Erik, took the course separately but very competitively, with David holding his three minute head start and taking a solid first place. Erik came in just behind to claim second. It seems entirely likely once Erik gets a bit more experience it will be a true photo finish between them. Andy Hill, a bit chilled after starting a number of competitors in the cool breeze, took the course on himself and commented on the particularly sly control tucked in a building corner and behind an evergreen. ! It's good to see that a course setter can still make the experienced hesitate for a moment.

To give the experienced (and cardiovascularly hungry) a bigger challenge, the advanced course included the vast green plains of Ann Morrison park a short distance down the Greenbelt. It turned into a real footrace as Bill Leahy and Lee Scott, two perennial competitors at the advanced level, duked it out near the end with Kristin Ritzenthaler hot on their heels. Bill edged for the win over Lee, but Kristin handily beat them both (to take second place) at the finish line by 30 seconds despite starting later. Bill was just grateful she wasn't pushing a stroller this time! And Lee noted that the course naturally included the one hill possible on the entire set of maps… Sergey Velichko, fresh from the intermediate warmup, jogged into the finish at a comfortable stride to take first place - but only by two minutes this time! Mike Bading and Matt Score turned in a very respectable time themselves, de! spite the minute lost in confusion over number 18 (course director's fault - the map combo could have been clearer) and claimed third place just ahead of Bill. And Dave Ritzenthaler, despite accidentally starting off in the opposite direction to the last control (he states a 6 minute time hit here), came in looking fit and fresh, well within competitive striking distance for next time! He also got points for the best deal on a Garmin 301 and for making music with Sage the greyhound before he left. All in all, a very competitive advanced course.

Many thanks to my codirector Andy Hill who brought the tarp (not set up, but in bringing it he prevented the rain), set up and took down many Julia Davis controls, and helped smooth the start process during the rush of eager O'ers. We hope to have the BSU side of the map fully updated with all the new buildings going up and sidewalks going down over there before we return in September. (Fortunately there was no course confusion in that respect…although perhaps an annoyed construction supervisor!)

Here are the results:
Beginner:  1.5km, 0m climb 
Mike Bading/Matt Score           9:25 
Dondi Black                     13:50 
Middleton family                21:30 

Intermediate:  ~3.5km, 0m climb 
David Bergset                   29:50 
Erik Bergset                    34:25 
Masha Velichko                  37:33 
Andy Hill                       40:41 
Jeff Decker & co.               47:00 

Advanced:  ~7km, 10m climb 
Sergey Velichko                 44:21 
Kristin Ritzenthaler            46:20 
Bill Leahy                      50:51 
Mike Bading/Matt Score          51:18 
Lee Scott                       53:50 
Dave Ritzenthaler               63:00 
Next round: McCall, Ponderosa Park for the Ski and Snowshoe O! Karin Didesse directs. Note that the official meet will be on Sunday, February 12th, although there are new cross-country ski trails at Bear Basin - come up on Saturday to give them a warmup spin and enjoy the snow…

Your meet directors,
Jeff Black and Andy Hill