U.S. 2018 National Junior Program

Welcome to the 2018 U.S. Junior orienteering competitive programs page. The U.S. National Junior Program (NJP) consists of the Junior Development team and the Junior National Team, and is overseen by the Junior Team Executive Steering Committee (JTESC). The National Junior Program focuses on a whole-athlete approach. From the start juniors are coached with the larger picture of who they are and who they can be down the road. Our goal is to have athletes train so that they keep their bodies healthy, learn to be self aware, and develop skills that will help them become strong orienteers and successful in life.

Athletes are trained in three areas: navigational skills, physical running fitness, and strength and agility.

The Junior teams have four goals:

  1. Focus on the process
  2. Ensure that all training is backed by principles that transfer to other areas of life
  3. Always strive for the best of yourself
  4. Find creative ways through tough situations

Each athlete is guided through a process of self awareness by discovering the purpose of an activity, learning to identify the best attitude to apply to a situation, learning to take care of self, and developing form and structure for training and daily life. Each athlete is expected to set goals that better the team, and the team is expected to be supportive of each individual. This is accomplished through dialogue and clear communication. Please see information below that describes each team more specifically.

Junior Development Team

The Junior Development Team (JDT) is designed to help young orienteers who are capable of orienteering at an advanced beginner level and higher to transition through the intermediate level to the advanced level and become nationally competitive. It is also designed to help juniors connect with other juniors around the country so they become part of a larger U.S. junior orienteering community. On the Junior Development Team, athletes will work with the Junior Development Coach, Greg Ahlswede. Juniors will receive coaching in navigation training, racing, physical training, and becoming a competitive athlete. Juniors will engage regularly in team calls where they talk through training, receive coaching advice, and learn from their peers. They will also receive support in learning how to practice more regularly for orienteering and will be invited to regional and national training camps. In addition to regular local races and national meets, the main competitions for the Junior Development Team are the U.S. Junior Nationals—previously known as the Interscholastic/Intercollegiate Championships—and the biennial North American Orienteering Championships (NAOC).

Timing and Commitment: Applications for the JDT are accepted year-round. However, we encourage juniors to apply during the late fall application period (2017 deadline is December 15) so they benefit from a full year of participation. The JDT season runs from January through June and from September to the beginning of November with an intervening summer break. There are still orienteering opportunities and communication during the off periods which are a break from the regular routine during the busy summer and holiday season.

Applying: At the bottom of this page is the National Junior Program general application. Please complete the application and submit it as instructed on the application. Juniors must reapply for each January through November season.

Please note: Juniors who have citizenship in another country and are currently living in the U.S. are welcome to apply for and participate in the Junior Development Team. We encourage you to reach out with any questions.

Eligibility: Juniors between 13 and 20 years of age are encouraged to apply. Coaches use the following guidelines to determine if a junior is ready for the JDT.

Racing Performance:
Athlete has completed an orange (-16 category) course (at either a national or local event). Please reference this in your application.

Navigational Skill:
Athlete has completed a yellow (-14 category) course in the following per kilometer time:
  • Women: 12 min per K
  • Men: 10 min per K

JDT Athlete Commitment:

  1. Sign and return the Athlete Agreement (found in the general application).
  2. Be a member in good standing of OUSA.
  3. Create and maintain a training log on www.attackpoint.org
  4. Participate in one monthly team conference call.
  5. Participate in any course review organized at National Events.
  6. Help at Team fundraisers as requested by the Junior Development Coach, JTESC, and organizing volunteers.
  7. Assist with local club events at least twice a year.
  8. Fill out an athlete profile form which will be provided.
Note: Juniors are encouraged to obtain a U.S. passport as races may take place in Canada or you may be interested in traveling overseas. We recommend having at least a 6 month expiration buffer dating from the end of any planned trip outside the country. If the passport expires in less than six months, we encourage you to update it right away.

If you have questions please contact the Junior Program at: ousajuniorprogram@gmail.com

The Junior National Team

The Junior National Team (JNT) is focused on helping juniors become internationally competitive. Juniors are selected to the National Team or moved up from the JDT when they have shown a level of orienteering competence and commitment that suggests they are ready for a higher level of engagement. On the JNT, athletes build on what they have developed, focusing on increasing their training and competitive skills. Training goes from the fundamentals to more specific applications of skills for various settings and terrains. The main focus races for JNT are JWOC Team trials, NAOC and the Junior World Orienteering Championships. Athletes are encouraged to go to training camps and races in Europe during the summer to get more international racing experience and greater competition.

Timing and commitment: Junior National Team applications are expected to be submitted by 15 December 2017. The JNT team year runs from January through middle of November, with a break in the summer due to travel and overseas racing.

Applying: To apply to the Junior National Team, please submit the National Junior Program general application along with the Junior National Team supplementary application. Juniors are automatically placed on the development team, and then juniors who qualify are placed on the national team. Athletes who improve over the year on JDT can also be moved up as they progress. If this is determined to be the best move for an athlete by the coaches, the athlete should complete and submit the supplementary application.

Eligibility: Below are performance guides that coaches use to select juniors to the national team.

Performance Targets for JNT Membership

Racing Performance: Have previously competed in at least four national races or equivalent international competitions in F18-20 or M18-20 categories.

Navigational Skills: Either forest or sprint average time per kilometer according to course length will qualify.

  Women Forest    Women Sprint    Men Forest    Men Sprint  
  12.5 min/km    8 min/km    9.5 min/km    6 min/km  

Technique Knowledge: Have attended at least three training days or a weekend training camp where you practiced intermediate and/or advanced level skills.

Physical Fitness:
The athlete should be able to run continuously for at least 50 minutes, be comfortable doing physical training at least four days a week, and provide personal-best times for at least one of the distances shown in the table below. These times are guides that the coaches use to determine physical readiness. They are not hard standards, and navigation is the primary focus of evaluation. The times however are set at a level that indicates the physical ability necessary to compete at JWOC and should be aspired to if not already attained.

Distance        Men     Women 
1 mile          5:10     6:20 
3 kilometers   10:15    12:30 
5 kilometers   17:50    21:25 

These times should be from an official race on a track, a USATF-certified road race, or cross-country race, to ensure that the distances are accurate; or by time trial with a coach present.

JNT Athlete Commitment:

Athletes selected to the Junior National Team will be expected to perform the following tasks:

  1. Sign and return the Athlete Agreement.
  2. Be a member in good standing of OUSA.
  3. Maintain a training log on www.attackpoint.org updated by the end of every week; for this purpose, each week will start with Monday and end with Sunday.
  4. Have a personal/local coach and follow a training plan approved by the Junior National Coach (JNC).
  5. JNT members must communicate immediately with the JNC if unable to train due to injury, sickness, or any other reason.
  6. Participate in one monthly team conference call.
  7. Participate in weekly training group calls.
  8. Participate in any course review organized at National Events.
  9. Help at Team fundraisers as requested by the JNC, JTESC, and organizing volunteers.
  10. Write public communications and blog posts as requested by the JNC or JTESC.
  11. Set courses, training exercises, or lead orienteering educational activities for at least one event per year as approved by the JNC.
  12. Fill out an athlete profile form which will be provided by the JNC.
  13. Team members who declare their intent to try out for the JWOC team must hold a U.S. passport valid through January 2019.
  14. Take the 90-minute online Safe Sport training (found in Store at the website below), and submit the completion certificate.
    NOTE:  The SafeSport training is currently not available to members of Orienteering USA. The OUSA Safety committee is looking into alternatives. --24 Jan 2018

Additional responsibilities for athletes chosen to be JNT Captains:

  1. Encourage teammates in their training.
  2. Keep an eye out for teammates’ behavior that could result in violations of IOF, OUSA, and JNT policies; proactively help these athletes make better decisions before damage is done. Consult JNC as needed.
  3. Remind team members of their training obligations and goals in the context of the growth of the team.
Note: Juniors are encouraged to obtain a U.S. passport as races may take place in Canada or you may be interested in traveling overseas. We recommend having at least a 6 month expiration buffer dating from the end of any planned trip outside the country. If the passport expires in less than six months we encourage you to update it right away.

Questions? Please contact the Junior Program at: ousajuniorprogram@gmail.com

Related documents and links

updated 28 Mar 2018