NJROTC Orienteering Team Receives Invitation to National Championships

By Dawn Hatfield

GREENVILLE – The NJROTC Orienteering Team at Greenville High School recently received an invitation to the National Navy Orienteering Championship to be held in California in March.

It has been described as “the greatest sport you’ve never heard of” so what exactly is orienteering? NavigationGames.org explains, “Orienteering is a sport where competitors use a map and a compass to find a series of checkpoints. There is no marked path, so participants must choose their own routes from one checkpoint to another.

Greenville High School NJROTC orienteering team captain CDT Jordan Ditty (senior) explained, “It’s like a scavenger hunt in the woods, and you run to find your points. . “

CDR Winford “Win” Knowles, USN (retired), now in his third year as a Senior Naval Science Instructor for Greenville High School (Ohio) NJROTC, added, “It’s just geocaching, no electronic equipment; it is a map and a compass. It is a timed event; the fastest times generally win. This is not a mass start; these are usually individual starts that are spaced out so that people aren’t just running together.

Knowles noted that successful orienteers must be intelligent and must have physical stamina. “It’s an interesting sport; it takes two real skills. The first is that you have to be smart. You have to be able to read and interpret a map, to determine if it is a cliff in front of you or just a field, which is often not easy to do. And then you have to have pretty good endurance because it’s a timed event, so you’re going to run three to five kilometers, ”Knowles said.

“[Course levels] are divided into difficulty and length. White is the easiest – you’re on a trail and usually do a big loop. Yellow – you can get off the trail, but you can usually see the trail from where you are. Orange – you will be off trail (50-100 yards) 20-30 percent of the time. Brown – up to 80 percent off track, ”explained Ditty.

Knowles interjected, “Markers are generally difficult to locate. [on Brown trails and above]. “

Ditty finished: “After that, the following colors have the same difficulty; they are just longer, more spaced and can have zigzags: green followed by red.

When asked how orienteers are keeping track of their progress, CDT Hailey Smith (junior), the team’s second-highest starting point, said: device that reads it. Another way is paper, where each number has a different symbol that you punch on the card itself.

Knowles explained, “Typically there are four to six courses – all those different colors are all there – so you can run and see something, and that could be a marker for the Orange course when you follow. the Brown course. So you need to check the numbers on them to make sure you are hitting the right ones. “

Ditty shared an example of the challenges of the course: “A fun little thing – I ran a green course and they put the point inside the hollowed out tree stump. There was a little notch cut out where I’m guessing a small animal might have gone through a tunnel, so if you approached it from a wrong angle you wouldn’t see it.

“The card comes with a kind of little ‘cheat sheet’ that tells you what kind of functionality [the checkpoint] is next to it, like it’s a big boulder or a dead tree, ”Knowles added. “Typically it can be about five kilometers (about three miles) for a Brown course; four to five miles would probably be a red course. So there are small clues, but they are not obvious clues. It is a difficult thing to do.

Smith made an important suggestion: “Wear appropriate clothing. I usually wear (old) jeans because if you wear a different kind of fabric, especially if you go through thorny bushes, they can tear quite easily. And depending on the cold, I can wear a jacket or a hoodie. In Texas, we wore shoes that held the ankles well so we didn’t roll our ankles between the rocks.

Asked how long the competition will last, Knowles replied, “Typically a good runner at their skill level will complete a course in an hour to an hour and a half. If you are not at your level, you can stay there for three or four hours.

The GHS NJROTC Orientation Team traveled to Bridgeport, TX this summer for orientation camp at the Sid Richardson Scout Ranch. They took 11 classes in five days, including evening classes, known as Night-O. It was excellent preparation for the Zone 3 Championships which took place at Camp Butterworth in Maineville, Ohio, last month.

From November 13-14, the Greenville High School NJROTC Orienteering Team took third place out of 60 schools in 14 surrounding states at the inaugural NJROTC Area 3 Orienteering Championships. With this victory, the team received a automatic invitation to participate in the NJROTC National Championships, to be held March 10-15 in Mt. Hamilton, Calif. It is a huge honor to be one of the 35 invited teams out of 660 units across the country.

“Needless to say, it’s a BIG deal when one of the teams or athletes at Greenville High School even qualifies for a district or regional championship. I am extremely proud of my students and their accomplishments this year, ”Knowles said.

Visit www.navigationgames.org for basic orientation information or www.ocin.org/home.php for information on Orienteering Cincinnati, the local chapter.

Dawn Hatfield covers education stories for The Daily Advocate. Do you have a school-related event to share? Contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 937-569-0066.

Dino J. Dotson