Orienteering team competes at Pohick Bay Park
Orienteering is a combination of cross-country and pathfinding, in which competitors use a map and compass to navigate from point to point across unfamiliar and diverse terrain as rapidly as they can, attempting to complete the course in the shortest possible time.
The orienteering course contains a number of "control flags" at sites marked on the course map by a circle showing the general area in which the flag will be found. The course map might also offer descriptions or clues as to where the control flag can be found. The competitor must locate and visit each control flag in order, usually marking his control card with a punch hanging next to the control flag, each punch having a different shape or pattern, to verify that the control flag had been reached. Some courses use electronic devices instead of punch cards.
Orienteering competitors use their map and compass to choose their own route from control flag to control flag, and races often use a staggered start so each competitor must navigate individually, choosing his own path through the fields, woods, roadways, hills, water bodies, and other terrain features to reach each control site.
The orienteering team from Fork Union Military Academy competes at matches across the country and has been very competitive on the national level for many years.
This past weekend, Fork Union's orienteering team traveled to Pohick Bay Regional Park along the Potomac River in Fairfax County to compete in an orienteering meet sponsored by the Quantico Orienteering Club. The meet was held at Camp Wilson, a former Boy Scout camp at the northern tip of the park. The team competed in races along several courses, identified by color, including the 2.9 kilometer Yellow course, the Brown course at 3.4 kilometers in length, and the 3.8 kilometer Orange course.
On the Brown course, Zach Williams won 1st place, David Muench took 3rd, and Brennan Stone finished in 7th place. On the Orange course, Josh Henriques finished in 1st place. David MIddleton, competing on the Yellow course in his rookie race, finished in 5th place.
As a team, the varsity finished 3rd behind the teams from Patuxent and Loudon County, and the junior varsity team captured 1st place handily.
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