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Schools Team Selections

Show Profile  Mike B Posted: 1 August 2014, 1:53 PM  
Some very strange selections in this year's team and a couple of noticeable omissions, in my mind from the team.
Where is Katie CW or was she unavailable? Surely she should have been selected. She's a class act and very experienced at this level.

The selection criteria states that form from the NZSS would be taken into account along with all known form and yet someone who didn't compete there has made the team based on form at the NISS.

It you're going to have criteria in place surely you have to follow that. It's very unfair for those who do turn up race well and then get overlooked.

From what I understand the courses in Aussie will be a step up from the current yellow course our juniors run so I can see why so many of our top juniors like to run up at school nationals on harder courses where their skills are more seriously brought into question and they come up trumps. Beats being in a running race on a yellow course.

I think it's time as a sporting organisation we take the schools competition more seriously before kids and their parents get turned off big time. We have made some serious ground up in school's competitions over the past few years let's not give it all back.

Time that we separated Elite and Junior elite selections from school selections and leave it to those who really know what's happening.

I think there may be some aggrieved kids and parents out there and I can see why.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 2 August 2014, 3:26 AM  
The great thing is that we have a hugely successful schools team that is helping to produce Junior World Champions. It is obviously hugely desirable to be a part of.

The Secondary School coordinator used to contribute to Schools team selection decisions, does that still happen?

It seems there are a lot of selection issues popping up which seem to be caused by lack of communication/proactive problem solving whether on behalf of the selectors or athletes. I'm not saying this is the case here, as I don't know, but it does seem to be a trend.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 2 August 2014, 12:22 PM  
I know nothing about the ins and outs of this selection so not getting into that but I would agree that the grading differential between club events and school events is a problem. Kids who are experienced at club level but in a school team can be expected by the school to run their age grade at a school event - especially to make up relay teams - this means for example a W14 who runs orange at nationals and red at OYs for training running yellow at NZSS Long and WHITE!!!!! in the relay. Or they have to run up to get a navigational challenge. Obviously the really top ones still do well up a grade but its still a mixed grade then and messes the results around. Would be better if the grades were appropriate so that all the better juniors were happy to compete in their grades.

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 3 August 2014, 9:45 AM  
Well said Lyn. And don't even get me started on the $$$$$$$ cost of sending a very capable red runner to the bottom of the "mainland" to run a white for his school! (It still hurts me to think about it 3 years on).

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 3 August 2014, 10:52 AM  
Jamie, I believe Linda (the School's Co-ordinator) is bowing out of the selection process because she has a child competing. Probably different for different co-ordinators.

The topic of school O is one I think I will remain passionate about well after our kids leave school.

I love it that David Turner is currently working on a document to help ONZ better recognise the pathways school-kids take as they progress through the O grades. I am hoping after he investigates and presents this topic his work would have revealed several flaws in the current systems which are hampering the confidence of some good orienteers EVERY year. I have my fingers crossed as I say GO DAVID! (I am pinning a lot of hope on your work steering some great changes David.

I congratulate ONZ for taking the HUGH step to potentially allow 40 school orienteers go to the World Schools Champs in Turkey next year, that's twice as many as previous years. ONZ are on a BIG learning curve with this over the next 8-12 weeks, the selection of these teams could be causing head-aches too. At least we are giving a new policy a real-life test and the short-falls will get tweaked before the next time I am sure. (It should be all smooth-going by the time Jamie's kids get to High School - start saving Jamie, it costs heaps).

Show Profile  hughff Posted: 3 August 2014, 3:11 PM  
I'm not sure I agree with the general sentiments on here.

I do think it's enormous fun to moan about selections - we all have our opinions and sharing them and debating them is robust and reasonable. However, we should probably try to avoid too many distortions. Equally we shouldn’t be looking to introduce complications that will negatively impact on the NZSS for the sake of a few.

1. The only "yellow runner” selected for the NZSS team is, in fact, a red runner though running yellow because that's what her school required. The goal of the NZSS is to find the top school and athletes should compete for their school rather than for themselves. It's unfair to disparage her for doing the right thing by running her own grade.

2. Having a grade for the very best at NZSS is at best redundant and, IMHO, counterproductive. The top runners finish at the top even if it is an easier navigational challenge than they are used to running.
Who would this elite grade be for? The w/m14 grades at NZOC get 15 competitors, the w/m16 get 20-25 and the w/m18 get maybe 10, with many of the best 17-18 y.o. running in the 20 grades. Therefore having an elite grade for them would cut out 40 odd senior runners, 70 intermediate and another 40 juniors. Go to the discussion on the Auckland schools champs where more than one poster made it clear that some schools won’t enter students in anything less than the highest level. So we either had a safety hazard with 150 potentially lost runners out in the forest on too difficult courses, or we lose their involvement (and revenue stream).
And for what? The pleasure of a bunch of the athletes who know that the real test for them is the NZOC. That’s where the top kids get their challenge. In the same way as the top football players know that it’s at rep matches and Federation level (and not interschool) that they are most tested. Why are we talking about introducing a grade to examine what we’ve already examined?
Lastly, consider the impact of an extra 6 (at least, maybe 12) courses on the organising club. Waikato has had a long hiatus after NISS. This new, bigger, school event would cause enormous trouble for the stalwarts keeping the smaller clubs alive.

3. Jane, your memory is glitching. At the bottom of the mainland in 2011, Callum placed 8th in Senior Boys (red) and was part of the team that was 2nd in Senior Relay (orange) despite being a year 10 and still eligible for Junior. The link is here .

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 4 August 2014, 1:13 AM  
Hugh - you have misinterpreted me on at least 2 counts so i would like to clarify. As stated above, I have NO view on the selections. I don't know enough about all the form involved and where I do, seems reasonable. My comment on a W14 was NOT in relation to anyone selected but in relation to the general frustration of my own daughter (who is NOT in the running for any selection as far as i know so I don't have any skin in that game) but would prefer to compete for her school in the same grade as NZOC and against her age grade peers. It is also hard to explain to a school why a student who does well at NZOC (good navigator on orange) does less well at NZSS (not super fast runner on yellow/white)because schools often don't understand how the 2 elements interact in the different grades. This is especially acute at junior level. (I would say though that the NZSS JG course this year was quite cleverly set to offer some challenge on "yellow" to the better orienteers - this has not been the case at all SS events of late. )
Some schools will celebrate a 1st place on standard more than a top 10 finish in championship. Recognition within the school is important to kids.
Fascinated that you put "revenue stream" ahead of the enjoyment and satisfaction of our top juniors.
An extra 6 or 12 courses is not necessary. Just have W/M 12, 14, 16, 18 courses at club level, and then a "beginners" white/yellow course, maybe with several lengths. This would be a great plus for kids who may only be coming to the sport as seniors age-wise who have to risk it on orange as things stand. Championship Points for the championship grades, and participation points for the beginners. And a clear message about prior experience required to the schools.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 4 August 2014, 2:11 AM  
Actually I better apologise - this thread was started on selections and its not really on for me to divert it onto school event grades and then complain when someone brings it back to selections. :-p I'll try and find the earlier school discussion referred to or start a new thread since I think its an important topic. I'll leave this thread to those discussing selections! Cheers.

Show Profile  JohnR Posted: 4 August 2014, 11:35 AM  
Hugh--correction--Your young lady has run orange in the oys this year not red. And usually middle of the field.
I think its a big ask running yellow in the two school trials and then be picked to go to Australia to run red courses.
To be fair to other competitors I think that if you want to go for the team you should run against them in the trials. That means in the case of a junior they would have to run up a grade and run intermediate. Its the only fair way to get a result. I agree with Mike there will be some upset orienteers at the moment.

Show Profile  JohnR Posted: 4 August 2014, 1:03 PM  
Well--how about one yellow course in the north island champs and off to Aussie for red!!!

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 4 August 2014, 1:21 PM  
But Robbie - this is what the selection notice said: "Orienteering NZ expect all orienteers entered at the NZ Secondary Schools Championships to enter in their current age grades and not assume selection preference will be based on “running up” an age grade."
Anyway I wish them all luck and good skills and fun!

Show Profile  Alan Posted: 4 August 2014, 1:30 PM  
There was also a boy in juniors who was selected on his yellow course results from NISS (he didnt even turn up to NZSS). When he ran orange at nationals he ended up tenth. Yet he is being selected over other experienced red course orienteers to go to Australia and compete at red level. Surely this is not selecting the team that is "likely to be most successful in competition".

Show Profile  MikeB Posted: 4 August 2014, 2:49 PM  
Alan that's what irks me the most about the team selections. They haven't met part of the selection criteria and that is "to select the team that is most likely to succeed".

Lyn it doesn't mean that juniors they couldn't run up though as in the case of Tegan. Better to run well at the higher level on a more challenging course and prove she was good enough, which she did. Yellow courses can really suit those who can scamper along and you don't have to possess true orienteering skills at that level. I'm not saying that those successful at yellow shouldn't be considered for selection but there needs to be pretty compelling evidence over those with the proven experience at the level required.

Show Profile  MikeB Posted: 5 August 2014, 4:15 AM  
Robbie just a slight correction. In Perth the junior boys and girls run orange not red and those in question have competed at that level before but just not at NZSS level this year.

Show Profile  thomasr Posted: 5 August 2014, 4:39 AM  
How about this for an idea.

Juniors is about development. The current system has done a great job of exposing promising juniors to competitive racing in a variety of terrain. We are doing better than Australia. They are looking to copy our success. Now the key challenge facing us at a junior level is depth and retention of numbers into older age groups.

At present the NZSS team is a great carrot for school age runners and a great way to enhance this experience. I think we should be aiming to maximise the amount of people that can get this Australian exposure. The trip certainly gives us as a sport a better shot at retaining people. The more people we can get racing at this level the better. It will help increase our year to year depth.

Looking at the bigger picture however it is very much a development tool, it is a step on the pathway to being a competitive elite. I feel that our approach to it needs to recognise this developmental role.

I think as runners progress along the pathway (schools --> jwoc --> elites) they should not be able to step back. Basically if you go to jwoc you should not be selected for schools. In my mind you have made the jump to the next level, you have bigger fish to fry. Add to this the time off school, expense, long race season, and I feel it makes good sense. For some people this may mean they hold off on racing jwoc for another year. (just to be clear I still feel jwoc runners who are at woc level should be able to do both, but these guys/girls will be the exception not the rule).


This would rule out a big bunch of the current team. And just looking around the gaps would be filled with plenty of other talented runners.

Show Profile  comatose Posted: 5 August 2014, 5:10 AM  
Congratulations to all those selected, good luck for Australia.

Great to see so much competition for places, but always hard on those that fall just short. Keep training hard and fighting for a place.

And to the adults on this forum dissecting the merits of our youngest representatives in public, I politely suggest you refrain from further comment, it's not fair on the kids involved.

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