THREE Bendigo secondary students have helped Victoria win the Australian schools orienteering championship for the first time since 2004.
Lachlan Cherry, Leisha Maggs and Louis Cameron were members of the victorious state squad that performed strongly in both individual and relay events at the carnival, held in bushland near Bungendore, east of Canberra, during the holidays.
Cherry, from Creek Street Christian College, returned home with a gold medal he earned in the junior boys individual team section and a silver from the relay.
Bendigo South East year 10 pupil Cameron collected a team bronze and relay silver after competing in the senior boys division.
And Maggs, from Eaglehawk Secondary College, won gold as part of the senior girls team.
All three teenagers are part of the Bendigo Orienteers junior development squad and have honed their ability to navigate on the run in the spur-gully terrain of central Victoria.
The schools event was staged during the nine-day Australian national orienteering carnival, which featured outstanding performances by several other Bendigo competitors.
Racing in the women's 10-and-under A-class, Serryn Eenjes scored four podium finishes from her four national events.
She won the Australian middle distance title, came second on the long distance course and was third in the urban sprint around the grounds of Canberra Grammar School.
She also teamed up with brother Tavish and Ballarat orienteer John Erwin to claim third place for Victoria in the men/women long-medium-short relay event.
Craig Feuerherdt was another local in fine form, taking out the men's 35A middle distance event and finishing second in the long distance.
Other top-3 results included Jim Russell in the men's 50A (second in middle distance, third in long distance), Raelee Eenjes in women's long open B (first in long distance, second in middle distance), and Peter Searle in the men's 70A (third in long distance).
Young Lachlan Feuerherdt also made his mark over the men's 10A middle distance course, navigating well and running strongly into third place.