U.S. Team at the 2013 World Orienteering Championships

 

July 7-14, 2013

Vuokatti, Finland

For the first time ever, Orienteering coverage was available on TV in the United States, both live and recorded, thanks to the efforts of the president of the IOF, Brian Porteus, and NBC's Universal Sports Network. Selected race summaries are available to all (broadcast rights extend through May 2014); full replays are only available to USN subscribers. USN race video summaries:

Women's Sprint - Niggli winsWomen's Middle - Niggli wins
Men's Sprint - Bostrom winsMen's Middle - Novikov wins
Women's Long - Niggli winsWomen's Relay - Norway wins
Men's Long - Gueorgiou winsMen's Relay - Russia wins

The United States sent a talented team of orienteers to Finland for the 2013 World Orienteering Championships. Results and links to maps (when available) and photos are below.

Back: Erin Schirm (Team Coach), Boris Granovskiy, Eric Bone, Brendan Shields, Ross Smith, Cristina Luis (Team Leader)
Front: Alison Crocker, Alison Campbell, Samantha Saeger, Alex Jospe, Hannah Culberg
Photo by Ken Walker Jr

Useful links -

Photos:

U.S. Team: (listed alphabetically)

  • Eric Bone, COC
  • Alison Campbell, DVOA
  • Hannah (Burgess) Culberg, COC
  • Alison Crocker, CSU
  • Boris Granovskiy, CSU, OK Linné
  • Alexandra Jospé, CSU
  • Wyatt Riley, DVOA
  • Samantha Saeger, NEOC
  • Brendan Shields, CSU
  • Ross Smith, CSU

Alternates:

  • Cristina Luis (TSN) (Team Leader), Anna Shafer-Skelton (CSU)
  • Ken Walker, Jr (CSU)

Program and Race Assignments (scroll down for results):

July 7 Long Qualification

  • Women: Heat 1 - Alison Crocker; Heat 2 - Hannah Culberg; Heat 3 - Alex Jospe — Ali qualified 9th in her heat
  • Men: Heat 1 - Ross Smith; Heat 2 - Eric Bone; Heat 3 - Wyatt Riley

July 8 Sprint Qualification

  • Women: Heat 1 - Alison Crocker; Heat 2 - Alison Campbell; Heat 3 - Alex Jospe — Ali qualified 4th in her heat
  • Men: Heat 1 - Ross Smith; Heat 2 - Brendan Shields; Heat 3 - Wyatt Riley

July 8 Sprint Finals: Alison Crocker finished 25th of 45 starters

July 9 Long Finals: Alison Crocker finished 18th - best U.S. individual's finish at WOC!

July 10 - rest day

July 11 Middle Qualification

  • Women: Hannah Culberg, Alison Crocker, Samantha Saeger — Ali qualified 11th in her heat
  • Men: Brendan Shields, Eric Bone, Boris Granovskiy

July 12 Middle Finals: Alison Crocker finished 29th

July 13 Relay (plus Closing Ceremonies and Banquet)

  • Women: Alison Crocker, Samantha Saeger, Hannah Culberg
  • Men: Eric Bone, Boris Granovskiy, Ross Smith

Results

(posted as they are available)

July 7 Long Qualification (top 15 per qualification heat advance to Finals)

  • Women:
    • Heat 1 - Winner: Simone Niggli (SWE), 52:09; USA: Alison Crocker, 1:00:56 — Ali qualified 9th in her heat; CAN: Louise Oram, 1:07:47 (14th, qualified)
    • Heat 2 - Winner: Catherine Taylor (GBR), 52:16; CAN: Emily Kemp, 1:04:25 (12th, qualified); USA: Hannah Culberg, 1:22:02 (23rd)
    • Heat 3 - Winner: Tove Alexandersson (SWE), 52:35; CAN: Kerstin Burnett, 1:26:21 (21st); USA: Alex Jospe, 1:27:33 (22nd)
  • Men:
    • Heat 1 - Winner: Edgars Bertuks (LAT), 1:06:03; USA: Ross Smith, 1:36:07 (26th); CAN: Eric Kemp, 1:37:04 (27th)
    • Heat 2 - Winner: Jani Lakanen (FIN), 1:04:49; USA: Eric Bone, 1:25:18 (23rd); CAN: Robbie Anderson, 1:25:57 (24th)
    • Heat 3 - Winner: Tero Fohr (FIN), 1:05:06; IRL: Neil Dobbs, 1:21:32 (16th); CAN: Sergei Logvin, 1:24:42 (22nd); USA: Wyatt Riley, 1:27:42 (25th)

July 8 Sprint Qualification (top 15 per heat advance to finals)

  • Women:
    • Heat 1 - Winner: Simone Niggli (SWE), 12:56.5; USA: Alison Crocker, 14:01 — Ali qualified 4th in her heat; CAN: Kerstin Burnett, DQ
    • Heat 2 - Winner: Galina Vinogradova (RUS), 13:44.8; USA: Alison Campbell, 17:42.1 (18th)
    • Heat 3 - Winner: Maja Alm (DEN), 13:36.9; USA: Alex Jospe, DQ
  • Men:
    • Heat 1 - Winner: Rasmus Thrane Hansen (DEN), 12:39.2; CAN: Sergei Logvin, 15:12.9 (27th);  USA: Ross Smith, 15:17.3 (30th)
    • Heat 2 - Winner: Oystein Kvval Osterbo (NOR), 12:54.1; CAN: Robbie Anderson, 15:00.1 (21st); USA: Brendan Shields, 16:04.1 (28th)
    • Heat 3 - Winner: Jerker Lysell (SWE), 13:08.7; USA: Wyatt Riley, 16:55.0 (28th); CAN: Will Critchley, DQ

July 8 Sprint Finals

  • Women: USA's Alison Crocker finished in 25th place (of 45), 2:06.1 behind leader Simone Niggli (SUI)
    • 1 - Simone Niggli (SUI), 14:10.6
    • 2 - Annika Billstam (SWE), 14:18.7
    • 3 - Venla Niemi (FIN),    14:48.5
      ....
    • 25 - Alison Crocker (USA), 16:16.7
  • Men:
    • 1 - Mårten Boström (FIN), 14:19.6
    • 2 - Scott Fraser (GBR), 14:36.7
    • 3 - Jonas Leandersson (SWE), 14:37.8

July 9 Long Finals - Ali's 18th is the best yet U.S. individual's finish at WOC!

  • Women: USA's Alison Crocker finished in 18th place (of 45), about 12:28 behind leader Simone Niggli of Switzerland (who won her 22nd World Championship Gold)
    • 1 - Simone Niggli (SUI), 1:20:02
    • 2 - Tove Alexandersson (SWE), 1:23:01
    • 3 - Lena Eliasson (SWE), 1:23:08
      ....
    • 18 - Alison Crocker, 1:32:30
    • 25 - Emily Kemp (CAN), 1:38:03
    • 43 - Louise Oram (CAN), 1:56:50
  • Men:
    • 1 - Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA), 1:41:39     
    • 2 - Jani Lakanen (FIN), 1:42:57
    • 3 - Edgars Bertuks (LAT), 1:43:29

July 10 - rest day

July 11 Middle Qualification (top 15 per heat advance to finals)

  • Women:
    • Heat 1 - Winner: Merja Rantanen (FIN), 28:25; USA: Samantha Saeger, 39:14 (17th); CAN: Kerstin Burnett, 40:26 (18th)
    • Heat 2 - Winner: Tove Alexandersson (SWE), 28:26; CAN: Louise Oram, 41:00 (11th/qualified); USA: Hannah Culberg, 48:52 (19th)
    • Heat 3 - Winner: Inga Dambe (LAT), 30:01; CAN: Emily Kemp, 33:23 (8th/qualified); USA: Alison Crocker, 34:06 (11th) — Ali qualified 11th in her heat
  • Men:
    • Heat 1 - Winner: Daniel Hubmann (SUI), 25:50; USA: Brendan Shields, 45:50 (31st); CAN: Eric Kemp, 1:05:08 (35th)
    • Heat 2 - Winner: Matthias Kyburz (SUI), 26:56; USA: Eric Bone, 36:54 (24th); CAN: Sergei Logvin, 46:34 (30th)
    • Heat 3 - Winner: Kalvis Mikhailovs (LAT), 27:39; USA: Boris Granovskiy, 48:30 (28th)

July 12 Middle Finals

  • Women: USA's Alison Crocker finished in 29th place (of 45), about 9:24 behind leader Simone Niggli of Switzerland (who won her 23rd World Championship Gold)
    • 1 - Simone Niggli (SUI), 35:25
    • 2 - Tove Alexandersson (SWE), 37:10
    • 3 - Merja Rantanen (FIN), 37:59
      ....
    • 26 - Emily Kemp (CAN), 42:43
    • 29 - Alison Crocker, 44:49
    • 41 - Louise Oram (CAN), 50:09
  • Men:
    • 1 - Leonid Novikov (RUS), 37:45
    • 2 - Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA), 37:54
    • 3 - Gustav Bergman (SWE), 38:21

July 13 Relay

  • Women (26 teams):
    • 1 - Norway, 1:37:53
    • 2 - Finland, 1:39:07
    • 3 - Switzerland, 1:43:44
    • 19 - USA (Alison Crocker, Samantha Saeger, Hannah Culberg), 2:11:44
    • 20 - Canada (Emily Kemp, Louise Oram, Kerstin Burnett), 2:13:57
  • Men (33 teams):
    • 1 - Russia, 1:41:47
    • 2 - Sweden, 1:42:37
    • 3 - Ukraine, 1:42:55
    • 25 - Canada (Will Critchley, Robbie Anderson, Eric Kemp), 2:15:46
    • 27 - USA (Eric Bone, Boris Granovskiy, Ross Smith), 2:23:46

2013 Senior Team Members


Women

Men

Alison CrockerEric Bone
Samantha SaegerRoss Smith
Hannah CulbergBoris Granovskiy
Alex JospeWyatt Riley
Alison CampbellBrendan Shields
Cristina LuisKen Walker, Jr
Anna Shafer-SkeltonJames (Clem) McGrath
Kseniya PopovaGiacomo Barbone
 Sergei Zhyk
 Ethan Childs
 Ian Smith

Women

Alison Crocker

Home: Toledo, Ohio
Year of birth: 1984
Occupation: Astrophysics post-doc
Club: Cambridge Sports Union
International experience: WOC 2010-2012, Ski-WOC 2011 and 2013

Do you have any prerace rituals?

Not too dedicated ones. I run for about 10 minutes and do a set of warm-up drills. Mentally, I think about what the terrain will be like, what choices the course setter might have put on the course given the terrain, stuff like that. But I’m now convinced that for long races, I need the during-race ritual of taking water and energy gel, which I hadn’t really done before this year. It really helps after about an hour in, and definitely if the race is longer than 90 minutes.

Samantha Saeger

Home: Uppsala, Sweden

Year of birth: 1982

Occupation: Former teacher

Club: New England Orienteering Club, OK Linné

International experience: JWOC 1992-2002, WUOC 2006, 2008, WOC 2005-12



How did you get into orienteering?

I started orienteering with my family when I was quite young. My parents used to have to drag me and my sister to local orienteering events. I enjoyed going to A-meets more because then I could hang out with my friends. When I was about 10 I went out on my first white course alone at an A-meet. I won a gold calculator, which I still own.

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

My training is actually quite different this year. I moved to Sweden at the end of last summer and a much higher percentage of my training is actual orienteering. In the past, I spent more of my training hours doing physical workouts on hard surfaces, like roads and tracks. Now almost all of my training is done in terrain or on trails. Will this be the key to my success? I’m not sure yet :) Now that the spring season is fast approaching, I’m trying to get more of a balance between my technical trainings and my physical trainings.


Hannah Culberg

Home: Washington
Year of Birth: 1990
Occupation:
Club: Cascade Orienteering Club
International Experience: JWOC 2010, WUOC 2010, WOC 2011-12

 

How did you get into orienteering?

I started racing with the West Point team in 2008. I wasn’t very good starting out, and I owe a pretty big debt  to MAJs Jon and Victoria Campbell for all their coaching and weekend O expeditions that year. Somewhere along the line, I decided I really loved this stuff, and started training more seriously.

Do you have any prerace rituals?

I prefer to warm-up with a map whenever I can - events with warm-up maps are great. If not, I try to bring some map along that I can look at while I jog around, just to get my mind into the right state for racing.


Alexandra Jospe

Home: Newton, Massachusetts
Year of birth: 1984
Occupation: Regional GIS Analyst at The Nature Conservancy
Club: Cambridge Sports Union
International experience: WOC 2011-12, SkiO WC 2012#1, Ski-WOC 2013


How do you contribute to orienteering in general?

I try to give back to orienteering as much as I feasibly can, because I recognize how much other people do in order for me to compete. I do a lot of control pick-up at local meets, and am directing two meets for NEOC this year, setting two sprints for CSU, as well as vetting and setting courses for the Western MA 5-day events. Beyond the competitive side of things, I try to expose my junior skiers to as much orienteering as possible, and that is truly rewarding to see how much they enjoy it!

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

Orienteering is a physical sport, and to be good at it, you have to be fast and strong as well as smart. Even if you can't get into the forest, keep training on the roads - volume matters, and so does quality. If you're super crunched for time, focus on the quality work.


Alison Campbell

Home: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Year of birth: 1991
Occupation: Engineering student
Club: Delaware Valley Orienteering Association, EUOC
International experience: JWOC 2009-2011, WUOC 2010 and 2012

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

Having moved to Edinburgh I have gotten to join a very active student club and therefore have had access to more training opportunities in university than I might otherwise have had. Also from being in the UK, I have been able to get on many maps of varying terrain. At first they were very challenging for me; however because of that I was forced to really look at how I orienteer and what my strong points are. That reflection has really boosted my confidence and i have been able to focus on my weaknesses. Over the last year or so I have also focused on my physical fitness a lot more, and trying to just get some consistency and quality training in. But mostly I have learned that I enjoy orienteering, I enjoy being out in the woods challenging myself and that my best runs are when I go out and just enjoy doing what I love.

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

My advice would be get on as many maps as possible and as different as possible. Also make sure you have a strong physical fitness base. Then it is all about consistency and process!


Cristina Luis

Home: Sudbury, Massachusetts / Oslo, Norway
Year of birth: 1979
Occupation: Teacher, math and science
Club: Nydalens SK
International experience: World Cup 2007, WOC 2009


How did you get into orienteering?

I’ve always been really into maps, but unfortunately I didn’t get out to a real orienteering course until my senior year of college. The Rochester Orienteering Club dropped a stack of brochures off for the Outdoors Club, and I went with a small group to a local meet. I was hooked, though it took a few years before I realized how much was out there and how much I could do with the sport.


Anna Shafer-Skelton

Home: Newton, Massachusetts
Year of birth: 1989
Occupation: Graphic Designer (Janji); Research Assistant (Harvard Vision Lab)
Club: Cambridge Sports Union, New England Orienteering Club, Saint Louis Orienteering Club
International experience: JWOC 2006, 2008-9, WUOC 2008


What do you currently do in your training that's key to your success?

I found an apartment that's 3 minutes away from an orienteering map, so I've been able to get some quality O' and terrain running in on weekdays. Alex has a terrain loop on the same map, so sometimes we do terrain intervals and bring along armchair exercises. And I try to go to as many CSU trainings as I can

I also try to be patient and not get ahead of myself with my training volume. In January, I was only able to run 15 miles a week, which meant I had to run two categories below my age class. I felt pretty lame to be competing against 17-year-olds, but it was the best choice for me because it was short enough that I was practicing good technique at a fast pace.

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

Find a coach, set up a regular schedule for checking in, and find a way to hold yourself accountable for the trainings you get assigned.


Kseniya Popova

Home: West Orange, New Jersey
Year of birth: 1986
Occupation: Formulation chemist
Club: Hudson Valley Orienteering
International experience: n/a


How did you get into orienteering?

I began orienteering as a helpless fetus in my mother’s belly and have since progressed to running and navigating solely on my own. My mom was an orienteering and mountaineering coach back in Russia, and taught school children how to navigate the beautiful pine and birch forests in the vicinity of my hometown of Perm. She has remained my coach throughout the years and in the United States.

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

I found that doing a variety of athletic activities to be very beneficial for my overall physical fitness, as well as preventing mental fatigue of doing too much of a one thing. I do cross-country skiing and snowboarding in the winter, perform strength training throughout the year, take dance classes, bike, swim, and run, of course. I have been able to decrease the number and severity of bodily injuries by learning to listen to my body this way. Psychological aspects, such as confidence and motivation, have also been very important in my growth as an athlete. Although learning to let go of doubts or learning to like mistakes does not involve a specific training strategy, appreciating these mental attributes in my training and racing has definitely played a role in my orienteering abilities.


Men

Eric Bone

Home: Seattle, Washington
Year of birth: 1974
Occupation: Owner, MerGeo
Club: Cascade Orienteering Club
International experience: JWOC 1994; WOC 1995, '97, '99, '01, '03, '05-'10, 2012

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

I’m focusing mostly on my aerobic base training this year. I have always had a fairly high VO2max relative to my aerobic capacity, so I thought I would try emphasizing aerobic training, even if that means not quite as much strength training or as many intervals. Whether this will lead to success is yet to be seen, but I was pretty satisfied with my fitness at the U.S. Champs and Team Trials in Georgia.

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

Training works. If you have the passion and discipline to keep working at something consistently for some years--even if it is hard or if there are bumps and set-backs--you will reap the rewards in not only improved performance, but also in finding new enjoyment of the sport.


Ross SmithRoss Smith

Home: Uppsala, Sweden
Year of birth: 1983
Occupation: Researcher
Club: Cambridge Sports Union, New England Orienteering Club, OK Linné
International experience: JWOC 1999-2003, WOC 2008-2011

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

Currently, I have made a drastic change in my training, by moving with my fiancee, Samantha, to Sweden. We chose to move to Uppsala in the summer of 2011 because we wanted to train with the local club, OK Linné, and because it would be easier to orienteer more if we lived in Scandinavia. We do a lot of training with the club here which is contributing to any success I have as an athlete, including weekly gym workouts, interval session, and night orienteering. But most important is the great focus on doing lots of orienteering, and we get out onto maps many days a week (2-7).

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

My advice to aspiring athletes is pretty much the same as it was last year, namely train with other people to help you stay motivated. If you need a good group of people to train with, move (or just visit) to Boston and join one of the most active orienteering scenes in terms of training in the US.


Boris Granovskiy

Home: Uppsala, Sweden
Year of birth: 1980
Occupation: PhD Student
Club: OK Linné, Cambridge Sports Union
International experience: WOC 2003, 2005-07, 2012, WC 2005, 2007

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

Doing lots of night orienteering in Sweden has been very helpful to my development as an orienteer. Running at night teaches you to maximize the amount of information you get from a very quick glance at the map on the run, and makes day orienteering seem much easier in comparison.

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

I think it is invaluable to live and train closer to people who are also training for orienteering. We have such an amazing sport, full of incredible opportunities to travel and meet fun people from all over the world. If you are young and serious about orienteering: take the chance, move somewhere with the explicit purpose of becoming a better orienteer, be it Sweden, France or Boston. You will have a great time training, racing, and making friends, and you will experience an unforgettable time in your life.


Wyatt Riley

Home: Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania
Year of birth: 1973
Occupation: GPS Engineering Lead at Qualcomm
Clubs: Delaware Valley Orienteering Association
International experience: WOC 2008, 2009, 2011; 3 World Cup weeks in the '90's

Fun fact: At my job, I help tune GPS accuracy for hundreds of different end-devices - and I keep in mind the orienteering post-analysis use case when doing that work!

Goals for WOC: Clean, strong orienteering results, where clean is less time lost than the average qualifier, and strong is as fast as I can go...


Giacomo Barbone

Home: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Year of birth: 1991
Occupation: Chemistry and Physics Undergraduate at Harvard University
Clubs: Cambridge Sports Union
International experience: JWOC 2011, WOC 2012

 

How did you get into orienteering?

I learned about Orienteering during Middle School in Italy, and started training in High School on the side of soccer practice. After a long time spent in Trieste, Italy, I am now back in the States living in the city where I was born, very happy of the O-community in the Boston area. In the U.S., I've run for Vulcan Orienteering Club at local meets in Birmingham, Alabama, and I am now a member of CSU. Today as yesterday, I love this sport for its connection to nature, its mental, technical and physical challenges and a tightly-knit, unique and inspiring international community.

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

Train hard and you will be rewarded. Results will be visible and tangible and will give you an ever new perspective on the sport. To succeed you want strive to be as humble as possible but at the same time very eager to improve, always ready for more training but also well organized in order to make your efforts productive.


James (Clem) McGrath

Home: Media, Pennsylvania
Year of birth: 1974
Occupation: Director of Research at an investment firm
Club: Delaware Valley Orienteering Association
International experience: WUOC 1996, a few World Cup races, WOC 2006-2009, Jukola 2007 and 2012


What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

Stay healthy. Just like in a race, nothing hurts more than standing still or going the wrong direction. Listen to your body, and plan over a multi-year horizon. You won't be successful internationally (or domestically) if you focus on short term goals only (and short term is less than a year). Learn to train, eat right, sleep, and have balance in your life. Orienteering is a sport that demands balance and isn't easy. It requires a long term commitment to build a physical foundation to support high levels of training, and a lot of repetition to get good at things. Also, to have the awareness when something is going wrong with your preparation, focus, or execution.

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

90 minute runs, but longer if I can. Four-minute hill repeats. Circuit training. 60 minutes easy in relevant terrain, focusing on compass work, the day before a competition. Warm-up with the compass.


Brendan Shields

Home: Somerville, Massachusetts
Year of birth: 1983
Occupation: Quantum Physicist
Club: Cambridge Sports Union
International experience: WUOC 2006, 2010


How did you get into orienteering?

I started orienteering with Backwoods OK in Raleigh, NC when I was a senior in high school, training and competing with my school's team.  The following year I moved to Boston to start school at MIT, joined Cambridge Sports Union, and things took off from there.

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

We have a close-knit community in the Boston area and our training group is very active, which is a big motivator.  My orienteering-specific training is targeted at improving my processes for map reading and concentration.  For fitness, I try to get in one track workout, one long session, one strength session, and one O session each week.  Within those general guidelines, flexibility is key.

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

Have a long term vision for yourself: where do you want to be in a year or two years or five years?  Develop a strategy to achieve that vision, and test your strategy.  Ask questions, but look to yourself for the answers.


Nikolay Nachev

Home: Seattle, Washington
Year of birth: 1977
Occupation: Software Engineer
Club: Cascade Orienteering Club
International experience: WUOC 1998, WOC 2010, Ski WOC 2011

 

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

Technical map work is important, but speed, strength and core work are equally as essential. Hit the gym for running-related strength work. Have a clear idea what are you going to work on with each training session: long run, intervals, repeats, recovery, etc. Avoid the "I’m just going out for a 45 minute run" types of sessions. Don’t be afraid to think and dream big. Every big athlete started just like you and me, as a kid interested in a sport.

Do you have any prerace rituals?

I like to do a full warm up routine listening to ‘pump up’ music. I do at least 15–20 minutes of easy to moderate intensity running, followed by 10–20-second strides. 


Ken Walker, Jr

Home: Bethesda, Maryland
Year of birth: 1978
Occupation: Software Engineer
Club: Cambridge Sports Union and Quantico Orienteering Club
International experience: JWOC 1996-1998, WUOC 1998, WOC 2001, 2011

 

Fun fact:  At my wedding I wore orienteering socks instead of whatever was supposed to go with my tuxedo.


Sergei Zhyk

Home: West Orange, New Jersey
Year of birth: 1979
Occupation: Corporate Accountant
Club: Delaware Valley Orienteering Association
International experience: WOC 2011

 

How did you get into orienteering?

I was introduced to orienteering at the age of 12 while I was still very much into cross-country skiing in my native country of Belarus.  My then-coach simply came to our gym class and said that there will be an orienteering event taking place on Sunday and that they needed a few more “fast” students to represent the school in the cross-town competition.  I signed up and then showed up at the meet awaiting instructions which I got not 5 minutes before my start.  I didn’t find all the controls that day, however, I really enjoyed the challenging aspect of the sport and was hooked ever since

What do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

After immigrating to USA, I returned to orienteering a few years after my arrival and became a member of DVOA as my primary club.  While I was still attending college in NYC, I was fortunate to train with a few of my close friends who were or are still living in the city during that time.  Despite focusing on lots of speed work in my training, I found most of my success on the long courses.

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?

I am no longer a student and having a full time job with long hours forced me to focus more on the quality of my training rather than on quantity.  I spend a lot more time doing cross-training than running these days and have mostly shifted my focus to the middle course races with a goal to win at least one U.S. or Canadian championship middle race during the year.


Ethan Childs

Home: Williston, Vermont
Year of birth: 1994
Occupation: Student
Club: Green Mountain Orienteering Club
International experience: Two JWOCs, three Oringens, two Fin 5-Days,  two Swiss O-Weeks, and various other events and training camps.

How did you get into orienteering ?

I was born into orienteering. My parents actually met through the  sport, so in some ways I was orienteering before I was born. Since we  were able to walk, my parents had my brother and I participating in string-O courses and shadowing us on basic white (beginner) courses, and  eventually would make each of us complete white courses on our own.  Much later, when I was around thirteen (give or take a year), my  parents sent my brother and I on a junior trip out west with John  Fredrickson who helped inspire many juniors to try to qualify for  JWOC. Ever since I've been orienteering more competitively and trying  to accomplish more than I did the year before.

Ian Smith

Home: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of birth: 1985
Occupation: Computational Biologist
Club: New England Orienteering Club
International experience: none


How did you get into orienteering?
I started orienteering in 2007, just after I finished college, at the behest of several of my friends who were much more experienced. I started attending local meets in the Boston area and have been active and actively improving ever since. It was very fortunate for me that orienteering events happen frequently — approximately weekly — in the northeastern U.S. My development was made possible by many events and a vibrant and encouraging community of orienteers.  

What are your aspirations in orienteering?
My athletic experience is not extensive; I rowed crew for a year in college and have tried to mold myself into a distance runner as part of my orienteering. However, I am very competitive and ambitious.  It's not realistic to think that I could win a world championship, but there are many degrees of success. I want to race against the very best in the U.S. and world, to represent the U.S. at the World Championships, and to find out how good I can become. 

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?  
Train hard, intelligently, and consistently. Orienteering is a unique combination of skills, requiring speed, endurance, strength, concentration, problem solving, and ability to perform under pressure. A regular distance running training regimen is critical, as is time spent thinking about and working on orienteering problems. Ideally, all our training would be specific — running in the woods; running on maps. Training to orienteer well is much like learning to play a musical instrument. Each skill must be practiced repetitively in isolation and in combination.