Team USA at the 2013 World Games

Because of improving performance on the world stage, Team USA was invited to send four orienteering athletes to this year's World Games, held in Cali, Colombia, with orienteering competition taking place the first few days of August.

The team of Alison Crocker, Eric Bone, Samantha Saeger, and Ross Smith race in the Sprint, Middle, and Team Sprint Relay. The women ran earlier than the men in the Sprint and Middle distance races.

Ali, with a goal of top 10 in the sprint, finished in 5th place, just three seconds off the podium, and less than a minute behind winner Annika Billstam of Sweden. Samantha was 26th in the strong international field of 40 competitors in the women's race. Ross and Eric placed respectably, in 29th and 31st place (out of 39); winner was Matthias Kyburz of Switzerland. Complete Sprint results  /  IOF interview with Ali after the race

In the middle race, Samantha again placed 26th, less than 8 minutes behind winner Minna Kauppi of Finland. Ali took two points on a butterfly wing loop out of order and ended up with a mispunch (MP). Eric was 30th in the men's middle race, just over 8 minutes behind the winner (again, Matthias Kyburz); Ross placed 34th.  Complete Middle results

Mixed Team Sprint Relay:
Team USA had an informal challenge with the team from New Zealand to see which team came out on top. In the end, it was a chase to the finish as Ali Crocker in the anchor leg caught and just passed Georgia Whitla in the chute! Team USA finished in the top 10, as the teams from Norway, Sweden, and Great Britain had runners confused by two very close control points and mis-punched. Great running from Eric, Sam, Ross, and Ali! Mixed Relay results / Go to the WG2013 results page for splits and maps.

Some comments from Peter Gagarin:

Middle:

Peter

PS. In case you're wondering what it's like to compete at the very top level and do amazingly well one day, and then take two controls out of order the next day — well, how would you handle it? Here are some excerpts from Ali's AttackPoint log. And in case anyone doesn't already realize it, we have some great people on our national team, and that's certainly true for all four of them in Colombia.

Yesterday -- Wahoo!! 5th in the World Games Sprint! And just 3 seconds of getting to stand up there, with the US flag raised and get a medal... can just taste that now, although I am still just totally happy with 5th as sneaking into the top 10 was the original goal!

Many from many teams gave me great congrats after the race, a really wonderful feeling. This sport has an awesome community, even on the highest levels.

Today -- Aw shoot! I had a good run, but I did a loop in the wrong order and so, DQ. (Apologies to anyone following the GPS and shouting at my dot to go the other way!) Otherwise, I would have been 11th, just a few seconds out of the top 10 (if clockwise and counterclockwise approaches are vaguely equivalent for that loop, that is.)

So I'm this strange mix of happy with my run, because it really did go pretty well, only 3 min back from Minna who won. But mispunching heavily tempers that happiness. So, I'll just be multi-emotioned for awhile, I think.

Psyched to play the sprint relay with our team tomorrow. We'll be Eric-Sam-Ross-me and get to face the jungle again!

Sprint:

"Hard to believe it, though there has been a sense for some time of what Ali is capable of -- it was a breakthrough performance this morning at the 2013 World Games in Cali, Columbia, where Ali Crocker of the USA took 5th place, missing a medal by less than three seconds.

"Ali giving an expert's opinion on the IOF web site, and also stating her goal was top 10: Ali interview on IOF website

"By the way, the USA qualified for the World Games as the North American representative, based on results at recent World Championships. Thanks to financial help from the Board of Directors, and therefore indirectly from all of OUSA's members, we were able to send our best possible team. They certainly represented us well today."

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