La Porte High School's varsity orienteering team placed third in the nation at the 2011 Interscholastic Championships April 15 through 17 at Pacheco State Park near Hollister, California.
The varsity team, led by captain Aaron Reitenour, had a combined time of 2:04:43 on a 9.7 km course and a 3.7 km. course. Other team members include Jacob Velez, Andria McClennan, Tara McClennan and Maxwell McWhirt.
"We trained all year," explained Reitenour. "It takes a lot of dedication and focus."
Reitenour explained that endurance and map skills are instrumental to the success of orienteering teams as they navigate their way from one point to another. Because of the uncertainty of the terrain they would encounter, the team "did a lot of bleachers and bridge runs" and concentrated on honing their map skills as they prepared for the competition.
He added that courses vary in level of difficulty, and competitors have only a map and compass to help them find their way from one point to another on their assigned course. For example, the varsity course included 335 meters of terrain that had to be climbed as well as 17 "controls," or locations to which the participants must navigate.
The national championship was the seventh competition the LPHS orienteering team, under the direction of Capt. Tony Hernandez and SFC Joe Glennan, has attended this year. Other competitions, typically held at parks, were at Challenger 7, Bastrop, Texoma, Stubblefield, Sid Richardson Scout Ranch and Tyler State Park. This summer, they will also attend the Texas Junior Orienteering Camp at Sid Richardson Scout Ranch.
The freshman team, led by Jackie Cruz, placed fourth at the competition, while the junior varsity team, led by Brian Graham, placed fifth.