Orienteers take on the world

Banchory Academy orienteers (from left): Jennifer Ricketts, Megan Getliff, Sasha Chepelin, Kirsten Brown and Evelyn Mason.
Banchory Academy orienteers (from left): Jennifer Ricketts, Megan Getliff, Sasha Chepelin, Kirsten Brown and Evelyn Mason.

BAnchory Academy’s S2/3 pupils Jenny Ricketts, Megan Getliff, Evelyn Mason and Kirsten Brown returned from the World Schools Orienteering Championships in Primiero, Italy, with a team bronze medal and an individual gold for Jenny Ricketts in the ‘W2’ middle distance race.

This competition for schools’ teams is held every two years and Primiero in the Italian Dolomites, provided an amazing backdrop for this year’s event. The students had the opportunity to mix with youngsters from 22 other countries and to explore the mountains as well as take part in tough, world-class orienteering competition. There were parades as part of the opening and closing ceremonies and during a cultural exchange evening, the Banchory students, along with boys and girls from Aboyne Academy, entertained with Highland dancing and shared Scottish foods for others to sample.

The orienteering took place on extremely steep hillsides and comprised a long distance race, in which Jenny Ricketts came fourth and the team came third; and a middle distance race where Jenny flew around the 2.1 km course in 17m 3s to finish first. The girls did extremely well to hold off a very strong team from Latvia to hold on to third place overall. The girls ‘W2’ competition was won by England, with New Zealand in second.

Sasha Chepelin, from Banchory, was part of Scotland’s ‘M2’ select team and had a very good long distance race where he finished seventh, but against tough competition, a single error in the middle distance race knocked him out of contention. Overall, his team finished sixth.

The next World Schools Championship will take place in the Algarve, Portugal, in 2013 and there are high hopes that Banchory Academy will again be able to send a team.

The Banchory students thanked their sponsors, including Banchory Academy, Banchory Round Table, the Banchory Show, Banchory Ternan Rotary Club, the Banchory Lions, McIntosh Plant Hire, Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeenshire Sports Council.