BKW Finds Way to Championship
Altamont Enterprise, April 12, 2001
By Tim Matteson
BERNE - There was a recent move at the Berne-Knox-Westerlo High
School. The trophy case in the main lobby has a new addition. A huge
silver cup won by the Orienteering Club had to fit in the case. The
club won the Chesapeake Challenge United States Interscholastic
Championships. The event was held on March 31 and April 1 at the Elk
Neck State Park in Maryland.
The trophy was finally set in place and takes up a lot of space in
the case. "The best part is that they had to move all those
basketball trophies to make room for our trophy," Orienteer Sean
Wolfe said. It was a nice move on BKW's part. Last year's champions
were from a school in North Carolina, which would not allow their
trophy to be placed in the school's case, Coach Sue Hawkes-Teeter
said. The members of the BKW club are Marty Hawkes-Teeter, Kris Geist,
Sarah Domermuth, Wolfe, Jack Norray, and Ashley Willsey. The
competition allowed kids in seventh, eighth, and ninth grades to
compete in the middle school division.
In orienteering, an individual has a map and a compass and tries to
find flags, or control points, that are set up in a wooded area. The
flags are represented on the map as a circle with a number in it. The
competitors have to find the flags in the correct order and in the
fastest time. The orienteers punch a hole at the control point, and
when they have been to all the points, they run back to try to beat
the other competitors. Individual times are recorded and the judges
make sure the control points are found in the right order.
At the Interscholastic championships, times from the top three
finishers on a team are added up from both days of the competition to
determine a team champion. The Bulldogs entered five members in the
competition, even though only the top three scorers counted. The team
did this just in case one of the orienteers went out of order or times
were slower. However, that did not happen. All the Bulldogs completed
the course in order. Even Willsey, who was an alternate, finished a
The top three finishers on the first day were - Hawkes-Teeter,
Wolfe, and Norray. Hawkes-Teeter, Geist, and Wolfe were the top three
on the second day. Three of the BKW team members finished in the top
10. "I'm really proud of them," Sue Hawkes-Teeter
said. "I'm happy they all finished."
The team was in second place after the first day of the
competition. They trailed by 24 minutes. A team from a school outside
of New York City had the lead after the first day. However, that team
had only three competitors and one of them went out of order when
searching for the control points. BKW came back to win the
championship. They finished 21:54 ahead of the second-place team, Fork
Union Military Academy Middle School of Virginia. "We were down
after the first day, but we did well an the second day and we knew we
could win," Geist said.
The team has a combination of experienced orienteers and newcomers
to the sport. Marty Hawkes-Teeter and Norray have a lot of
experience. Both have been involved with the club. Marty's parents are
also veteran orienteers. His mother is the team's coach and his
father, Philip, is the president of the Empire Orienteering Club, of
which the BKW team is a member. Wolfe and Willsey both have a little
experience in orienteering, as does Geist. The member with the least
experience is Domermuth. She started this year. "The kids are
skilled or are getting skills," said Sue Hawkes-Teeter.
Most of the team is good at the sport, but some members have their
weak spots. "Running is the hardest part" Willsey
said. "Reading the map was the hardest for me; I can run,"
Domermuth added. Domermuth, a ninth-grader, is on the varsity
cross-country, track, and basketball teams at BKW. Most of the team
members play other sports or do other activities. Practice time for
orienteering must be scheduled around other interests. But the
orienteers say it's worth juggling their schedules.
"I enjoy it a lot. I've been around to different meets across
the country," said Marty Hawkes-Teeter, who was wearing a black
shirt Tuesday that said U.S. Orienteering. He helped with training the
less-experienced team members. He followed them around while they
found control points during practices. All the kids on the team said
they were excited about winning. They also said that the trip was a
great experience and a lot of fun.
Domermuth and Norray are the only orienteers who cannot compete in
the competition next year. They both will tenth-graders. The rest of
the team members will be ninth graders.
"It was better because we didn't expect to win after the first
day," Marty Hawkes-Teeter said. The whole team said that the
course on the first day was harder than the one on the second
day. "It was fun, but it was also tiring," Norray said about
his sprint to the finish.
The team members stayed in a Boy Scout camp near the course. They
were the only kids in the place. The team had to pay for the trip so
staying at the camp and cooking their own food saved them
money. Willsey's father drove his van so the team saved money on
travel as well. The team, however, got lost in Newark, N.J. on the
way home. They got back on track rather quickly, though. "They
got to see downtown Newark," Sue Hawkes-Teeter said.
"It took the whole seat to transport it home," said Marty
Hawkes-Teeter said of the huge silver cup. With most of the team able
to compete next year, the school better clear another spot in the
Sue and the team by the van
The team at the start
Kris clears his "dipstick" (electronic punch)
Sean gets ready to start
The team with the trophy
The team with the trophy