2019 Team Trials Relay in Harriman State Park April 26

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From U.S. Orienteering Coach and Senior Team ESC Chair, Erin Schirm

With WOC changing to forest WOC there is no longer a sprint as part of the trials. With the new selection process there is an option to have a mass start relay event as part of the trials. The winner of the relay will be an automatic qualifier to the relay team and the race will serve as a third evaluation race for the selection committee. I’m excited to say the HVO has agreed to help me put this race on. It will take place Friday April 26 in Harriman State Park. 


The Event 

The race will include two mass start races with forking and a brown course. The first mass start race will be for all WOC trials participants. The second mass start race will be for all other participants. The brown course is a shorter option for those looking for a little less of a physical challenge. Technically they will all be the same.  

Schedule 

  • 3:00-4:45 pm — Check in 
  • 4:00 pm — Team Trials mass start race (For all U.S. and Canadian Men and Women trying out for their country’s WOC teams) 
  • 4:45 pm — Mass Start for all other participants and Start of Brown course
  • 5:15 pm — Last start
  • 7:00 pm — Courses close

Registration 

  1. Email erinschirm@nullgmail.com with name, SI #, and course you’re planning to run. 
  2. Show up and pay on-site between 3:00-4:45pm 

Cost 

Juniors $15 
Everyone else: $20  

All proceeds after costs are covered will go back to the senior team! So come out watch some fun head-to-head racing between our elite athletes and get out and enjoy beautiful Harriman as a warm-up for the annual West Point National Event.  

Location

Kanawauke Picnic area. This will be the parking as well as the arena. Here is the address Kanawauke Rd, Bear Mountain, NY 10911 
GPS Coordinates: 41.233242, -74.117266  

Embargo

The whole Kanawauke map is embargoed from now on. This includes all terrain south of Kanawauke Rd, all terrain west of Seven Lakes Drive, and all terrain north of Sebago Beach.  

Course info

Mass Start Race: 5-6k 150m of climb. Brown: 4k 100m climb.  


For questions please email me or respond to this thread. 

Big thanks to HVO for supporting this event and to West Point for hosting the Team Trials Middle and Long races as part of their weekend!

2019 Wilson Award Winners

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Aidan Minto and Itzel Barbiere earn $1,000 Iain Wilson Character Through Competition Awards

Philadelphia, PA —

The Wilson Awards committee, in partnership with Orienteering USA, is pleased to announce the winners of the sixth annual Iain Wilson Character Through Competition Award. This award honors the memory of Iain Wilson by recognizing young athletes whose efforts demonstrate character through their commitment to growth and improvement in the sport as well as their contribution to the orienteering community through service and teamwork.

This year’s winners, Itzel Barbiere of Suncoast Orienteering Adventure Racing Club and Aidan Minto of Indiana Crossroads Orienteering Club, will each receive a $1,000 travel grant.


Itzel, a resident of Bushnell, Florida, is currently enrolled at Lake Sumter State College. She aspires to a career in nursing, and hopes to someday become an orienteering coach who can “teach the newer generations of orienteers.” Currently, Itzel is on the Junior Development team and hopes to someday challenge for a spot on the national team. She is a three-time Florida State Champion and was fifth in the nation for orienteering on the Brown Course at the 2018 Navy National JROTC Invitational. She recognizes that “training is a way to become a better you.” Orienteering, Itzel writes, “defines me as a person by giving me confidence and motivation. I fell in love with the atmosphere around me every weekend.” The members of the selection committee were excited by Itzel’s recognition that the benefits of Orienteering extend well beyond the course and the competition. Itzel’s NJROTC leader Victor Martinez writes, “Itzel Barbiere exemplifies the ‘whole cadet’ model, excelling in academics, athletics, leadership and service to others as a role model student, cadet, and citizen. Her commitment to her success and, most importantly, to the success of others is unmatched.” The IWA selection committee is confident Itzel is someone of outstanding character who will be giving back to the sport of orienteering for many years to come.

Already orienteering at a very high level, Aidan is a rising star among young orienteers, but what caught the attention of the selection committee was Aidan’s work ethic and internal drive. He writes, “My orienteering experiences have made me realize that in any pursuit in life, there is always work to be done. I know that to achieve true excellence, I need to work harder than I ever have before.” At the same time, Aidan recognizes that orienteering provides him time among “the wonders of nature,” and he talks about escaping the pressures of school and day-to-day tasks when he writes, “Training and competition is a way for me to distance myself from the challenges of everyday life.” Aidan is a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, and excels in running and French horn, as well as academics and orienteering. As his high school track and cross country coach, Taylor Marshall writes, “Aidan is a student-athlete of tremendous character. He is principled, inquisitive, and balanced.” A motivated and determined young man of strong character, Aidan’s work ethic will lead him far.


Marc Balcer, Co-Chair of the Award Committee, observes, “We were heartened to see so many applications that reminded us of Iain’s spirit. Both of our 2019 awardees described how orienteering transformed them from shy individuals into passionate advocates for the sport whose voices are heard both through their actions and words.”

“Orienteering USA is thankful to the community that supports the Wilson Awards for their continuing support of young orienteers,” writes Clare Durand, President of the Board of Directors. She continues, “We admire their efforts to provide opportunities for our athletes that might not otherwise be available.”


The Iain Wilson Character Through Competition Award

Youth Coaching Working Group

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Erin Schirm has convened a new Sport Development Group for OUSA. The team has held three meetings, and will continue meeting weekly in order to set the framework for the tasks we plan to take on. Other group members include Tori Campbell, Andrea Schneider, Ethan Childs, Bob Turbyfill, Mike Schuh, Greg Ahlswede and Barb Bryant.  If you are interested in contributing to the work, please contact Erin at 845-364-1752.

What we want to accomplish in 2019:

  • Update the Levels 1, 2, and 3 OUSA coaching certification program, with an emphasis on youth coaching.
  • Create an introductory course for people who want to teach orienteering to children.
  • Develop a physical education curriculum for schools.
  • Create a fun program that clubs could offer for children on a regular basis.
  • Building on existing content

We plan to start from existing resources, including Discovering Orienteering, the USOF (now OUSA) coaching manual, and Orienteering and Map Games for Teachers that USOF published in 1996. We are collecting information from orienteering federations around the world, as well as national governing bodies of sport, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s coaching team (for example, see HowToCoachKids.org!), physical education resources, and peer-reviewed journal articles about learning and coaching orienteering and other sports.

The working group is focused on generating content. Graphic design and dissemination of the content is outside our 2019 scope. However, as we carry out our work, we will be thinking ahead to how the materials and information will be shared.

We had a good discussion at our first meeting about how to communicate orienteering to the public. Orienteering, as marketed by OUSA, appeals to a certain segment of the population. We are proud of orienteering being the “thinking sport” and running solo through the woods  — but those messages might unintentionally limit our audience. We feel that there are many other aspects of orienteering that would be hugely appealing to school administrators and teachers. Orienteering games and activities can address executive function, fundamental movement, and building life skills.

Getting started on our philosophy

Our first step will be to identify our philosophy and fundamental approach. This will allow consistent messaging and methodology throughout the coaching courses, lesson plans and activities. In a brainstorming session at our first meeting, group members felt that the following aspects would be important components of the philosophy.  We orienteer to…

  • Have fun.
  • Engage, play, tell stories.  Andrea had a great example in which she overlays a story about bringing aid to towns after a natural disaster onto an orienteering activity.
  • Learn navigation skills.
  • Communicate using maps.  
  • Build relationships with family, friends, teammates, and our community.
  • Develop confidence and become empowered.
  • Foster physical fitness: fundamental movement skills, healthy bodies, lifelong health.
  • Increase self-awareness, observation, self-monitoring and self-regulation.
  • Teach others, regardless of family income, developmental stage, or ability.
  • Understand and reflect on how orienteering activities develop transferable skills for other areas of life.
  • Appreciate nature, experience environmental immersion and awareness.
  • Discover — not just the woods, but also parks and school grounds, and see the indoors in novel and complex ways.
  • Seek excellence and self-actualization. Travel the path to mastery, realize the milestones we achieve.
  • Use what is at hand; no fancy equipment required.

What framework should we use?

It is important to establish a framework that provides common language to be used across the projects. One existing framework is the American Development Model (ADM), which addresses problems in American sports: over-specialization and prioritizing winning over having fun and long-term development. The ADM emphasizes fun and age-appropriate activities, such as small-sided play and participation in multiple sports. Another framework is the Swedish Orienteering Federation’s model, which considers the sport first through psychological, social, physical and technical areas, with age being a secondary consideration.

In choosing our framework, we should consider our audience. What is working, and what do we want to change about how orienteering is practiced in America? How do we adjust our messaging to communicate these changes? Within the existing orienteering community, we would like to see more age-appropriate activities for children. We would like to see much more emphasis on the social arena, with group and team games. Outside the existing orienteering community, we would like raise consciousness throughout the school system about the existence and value of orienteering for physical education and habits that support learning readiness.

At our third meeting, we agreed on an initial framework, and look forward to developing it and sharing it with the community.

Getting our message right

We had a good discussion about the messages that are currently in existence about orienteering in America.  While many club websites have very welcoming messages and excellent beginner support, there are some consistent website and YouTube video themes that may be unintentionally exclusionary.

Common misconceptions or misleading terminology:

  • Orienteering is a thinking sport. For a kid, that sounds like school.  Parents whose kids struggle in school immediately anticipate the fight involved to take their kids orienteering.  
    • Change: Orienteering makes your brain stronger.
  • Orienteering is a race.  For kids who don’t like sports, this doesn’t sound like fun.  Another battle parents don’t want to fight with kids who dislike sports.
    • Change: Orienteering is fun whether you want to run as fast as you can, or slow down and enjoy what you discover along the way. Develop new formats for orienteering events that are games.
  • Orienteering is a solo activity. For most kids, especially beginners, this is just. not. fun.
    • Change: Develop new formats for orienteering events that encourage — or require — participation in groups.
  • Orienteering involves misery.  The first picture a prospective orienteer sees should not involve rain, ponchos, or environmental hazard warnings.
    • Change: Orienteering is fun. Balance safety and stories of perseverance with content that shows how orienteering is achievable for anyone.
  • “Real” orienteering involves a long course through the woods.  Forests and long distances may be intimidating to kids who have never been on a hike before, and venues may be inaccessible to those without cars.
    • Change: Promote more park and urban sprints that are accessible by public transportation.
  • Orienteering is not a “real” high school sport.  Promoting the “foreign” roots and obscurity of orienteering undermines it as a socially acceptable sport for teens.
    • Change: Emphasize what orienteering has in common with more mainstream sports, such as cross country.

There are also some common lay beliefs that we might want to address:

  • Orienteering is the same as land navigation.  People with a scouting and military background expect to start on the most challenging courses because they already have some applicable skills.
    • Change: Acknowledge land navigation experience sets people apart from raw beginners. Highlight how orienteering maps are different from topographic maps, land navigation skills that are transferable, and additional skills that might be helpful.
  • I will get horribly lost orienteering, and it will be a bad experience.  Americans are uncomfortable getting lost without the protective shell of their cars.
    • Change: Link orienteering to skills and habits people practice every day, such as using a map in a video game, overriding a GPS route using local knowledge, or even finding the bathroom at night without turning on the lights

Who are we?

Andrea is OUSA’s Junior Team Administrator, and mother of two Team USA orienteers. She is also the owner and operator of I Know My Way, LLC, a company dedicated to bringing orienteering into schools and summer school camps, homeschool groups, and others. She works with teachers to create own orienteering classes, being accessible to children of all abilities.

Erin and Greg coach the OUSA national junior program. Greg is currently on the senior U.S. team. Erin has had lead responsibility for growing the quality of our elite youth program over the last few years.

Bob is a former U.S. and North American champion. He has been teaching and coaching orienteering for 20 years, at all levels. His Zero to Orange in Three Days course is legendary, and he has trained many people who have gone on to teach and coach themselves. He co-authored Discovering Orienteering with former OUSA President Chuck Ferguson.

Tori is a former coach of the USMAOC team and has course consulted for COC’s Washington Interscholastic Orienteering League for the past three seasons. She is currently an education graduate student studying neurodevelopment and executive function in children. She feels that PE curriculum should not just be for kids who identify as athletes or thinkers, but should be inclusive because all kids can benefit from orienteering. She will help us figure out how to bring orienteering to kids who learn in diverse ways.

Ethan (GVOC) has raced for Team USA on both junior and senior orienteering teams. In his role as teacher, coach and Program Director for Navigation Games, Ethan has spent the last 2.5 years bringing orienteering to thousands of children in eastern Massachusetts. He is a main author of a new 15-lesson progression for teaching children in grades K-5, curricula that is in active use in after-school programs in Cambridge, MA. Ethan coached the 2018 Junior Nationals Varsity winning team, as well as JV and Intermediate teams who medaled.

Barb (NEOC, CSU) is the founder and president of Navigation Games, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (and member club of OUSA) dedicated to broad education in orienteering for children and families. Barb is on the OUSA board, and currently serves as the Vice President for Youth Initiatives. She previously was the Junior Team Administrator for OUSA. She will be stepping down from OUSA in September, and would love for other community members interested in taking youth orienteering forward to step up.

Mike (COC) provides “how to get started” instruction to first time participants at local events. He also individually coaches more advanced juniors, including some who have medaled at Interscholastics and Intercollegiates, as well as JWOC team members. His coaching credentials: OUSA Level 2, the Norwegian Orienteringsforbund Trener 2, and Level 2 from USA Track and Field.

Development of a Third Grade Orienteering PE Curriculum

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by Barbara Bryant and Ethan Childs (Navigation Games)

Graphical abstract of Lesson 1: Boundary, Gathering, and Direction-Giving


This spring (2019), we will be piloting a four-lesson third-grade curriculum in seven Cambridge, MA, public schools.  Because many children struggle with map interpretation, the lessons build up slowly to map reading. We also bring in many aspects of orienteering that do not require a map, such as running in terrain, knowing the boundary of the area of play, giving and following instructions about where to go, building a mental map of an area by exploring it, visiting checkpoints in order, and being timed. Above all, we want to keep the children moving and having fun.

Our constraints included:

  • Four 45-minute classes
  • Minimal set-up on the part of the teacher
  • Use materials accessible to any gym teacher, with timing equipment optional
  • No need for specialized orienteering knowledge on the part of the teacher
  • Be able to deliver the content indoors on days with bad weather
  • A wide range of physical and mental abilities and types

Each lesson is documented with SHAPE America standards, objectives, materials, set-up, language for introducing the activity to students, a description of the activities, and suggestions for a wrap-up discussion. The teachers are given a written copy of the lesson plans. We introduced the lesson plans to teachers in a 45-minute workshop. The workshop started by throwing the teachers immediately into activities: the boundary run and Animal-O. Then we had a conversation about the sport of orienteering and the goals of the curriculum. We finished by arranging the detailed logistics, including the dates and times of the classes, and indoor and outdoor spaces.

During the spring, Navigation Games staff will attend every PE class (54 in total), in order to support the teacher, with the idea that the program will operate independently of us (should they so choose) starting next year. We will gather feedback on the lessons, refine them, and publish them over the summer.

The four lessons have the following topics:

  • Boundary, gathering, and clues
  • Building a mental map (Animal Orienteering)
  • Introducing the map (Animal Orienteering with a map)
  • Racing on a simple map

Below are some notes we gave the teachers:

Safety

In orienteering, participants travel outdoors, over an area that eventually includes locations that are outside the view of the teacher. It’s important that children know and can recognize the boundary of the area in which the games are played, so that the notion of boundaries and safe movement becomes ingrained as the area increases over sessions and years.

Students must also be able to return to the teacher on a signal in order to keep track of everyone, make sure no one is lost or hurt, and to provide necessary instruction and information.

Treating each other with respect and care is important as well. With a particular skill, some students will excel while others may struggle, and it’s important for students on either end of the spectrum to work together for success. Students need also be aware of the environment around them to avoid physically running into objects such as trees and rocks, as well as one another.

Observation and Mindfulness

Orienteering is an excellent way for students to practice observation and mindfulness. Being observant of one’s surroundings is a simple necessity for all movement sports, and orienteering includes an added layer of interpreting the map and surroundings, and making small and large decisions about navigating through terrain.

In order to improve, athletes develop an awareness of how their physical and emotional state will affect their performance. When they make mistakes or have trouble finding a checkpoint, they have an opportunity to review why the mistake occurred, and reflect on how they can try things differently in order to improve.

These lessons are designed so that students who are successful have the opportunity to help their classmates improve. As part of this, students must actively listen to and observe their classmates to understand their needs, and be able to address those needs based on their own experiences. Not only do they experience their own success, but they also experience the feeling of helping others succeed.

Roles

By using and naming roles, the activities keep children busy and engaged even when they are done with their own course. Including the “Helper” role distributes the responsibility away from the teacher, and helps to ensure every child gains competence in the skills being learned. Both teacher and students should have an explicit goal of making sure that everyone in the class understands the material and achieves success. Having explicitly named roles provides a shortcut in explaining the games, as the roles are used over and over again in different games.

  • Finder — Synonyms: Runner, Orienteer, Participant, Athlete
  • Hider — Synonyms: Course Setter, Game Designer
    • Finding opportunities to give children the chance to design the game is a great way to engage them more fully.
  • Clue-Giver — Synonyms: Direction Giver, Map, Dispatcher
  • Helper — Synonyms: Teacher, Coach.
    • The Helper gets consent before helping a Finder. The Finder may refuse help in order  to accomplish the task on their own.
    • The Helper does not do the task for the Finder, but rather helps the Finder learn and succeed. Give the Helper specific rules about what they can and can not say. For example, you may restrict them to “warmer/colder”. Or to asking questions such as “Where are you on the map?” “Is your map oriented?” “What do you see around you that matches the map?” “Where on the map are you going?” “Which way is that in real life?”
    • Children are often better than the teacher at figuring out how to explain things to a struggling classmate.
  • Spectator — Synonyms: Official, Timer, Counter, Cheerer, Supporter
    • When children complete their activity while others are still on their course, you may give them the option of helping or spectating. Spectating encourages paying attention to others.

In a team orienteering game, members of the team may have various roles related to executing the task. One person may specialize in reading features on the map; another may ensure that the map is correctly oriented; another may keep track of time; another may make sure that everyone’s input is considered, and so on. Building a practice of naming roles sets the groundwork for these future games, and develops life skills for successful collaboration with others.

Maps tell you how to find things

Maps are a way for one person to tell another person how to find things. Some children will be able to understand maps easily, but others will struggle with map interpretation. Therefore, we start with other ways of communicating location and direction, before introducing the map.

The “warmer/colder” game allows communication of direction relative to a single point. The Red/Blue exercise allows communication of direction in two dimensions. Distance is introduced when you say how many steps to go in the given direction.

To emphasize efficient communication of how to find things, instead of timing the activity, try counting the number of instructions that the Clue-Giver gives, and reducing those. (A Spectator can do the counting!)

Timing individuals

There is a timing component built in to some of these lessons, and orienteering is normally a timed sport (similar to cross country, cycling, speed skating, etc.). Timing students as they participate is an excellent way to encourage them to develop their speed, improve their skills, and even practice their memory. It can also provide competition for students who are interested.

It is important to remember, however, that not all students feel comfortable being timed, especially when it’s a new activity they are still learning. Even when timing is used, it’s important to emphasize accuracy in orienteering as opposed to raw speed. Finding all of the correct checkpoints is just as important (if not more important), than finding them quickly.

Timing the whole class

Timing is also used to measure the success of the class overall. This is a very effective way of uniting the students, developing their teamwork, and emphasizing cooperation. In addition, it establishes the expectations that the students are working together as a class, and that every person’s individual actions can affect the group as a whole. It encourages the practice of helping each other learn.

Building a mental map — remembering where things are

Developing a mental map is a very important step in understanding the spatial relationships between objects. By learning and remembering a specific location, students are developing the areas of their brains associated with relative positioning, distance, and imagery, as well as memory itself. When they remember a location, they must recall information important for finding that specific point, such as which side of the room, whether is underneath or on top of something, and what other objects were nearby. While a visual memory such as this may not be a standard orthographic map, their brains are still creating a guide from one place to another based on spatial information.

Matching patterns on a map to patterns in terrain

Spatial pattern identification is the cornerstone of understanding map orientation. The concept is very easy, although it might take a bit of prompting for them to make the connection. It is generally helpful to start out with something simple, but also unique, such as the layout of cones in the Geometric Animal-O.

The important connection the students develop is the relationship between the layout of space and the layout of the map, specifically in how they match. Starting with something simple like a pattern of cones to help establish this connection is an important intermediate step between understanding a basic map and a full-scale orienteering map. As the layout becomes more and more abstract (like a real map), it becomes more and more of a challenge to establish this connection.

Orienting the map

Orienting the map is one of the most fundamental skills necessary for navigation, and for many students is also one of the most challenging concepts to grasp. On the surface this is very simple — the map matches the area around you, so hold the map in the same direction — but for a student whose brain is still developing its capacity to understand the relationship between objects, this is an incredibly confusing task. Make sure students who are struggling receive patient instruction where basic and distinct landmarks are used to convey distance and direction when orienting the map.

This is one area where using student Helpers can be tremendously useful. Students who recently acquired a skill will be better able to communicate the steps necessary for other students to grasp the same concept. It will also keep successful students occupied and interested, while students who struggle will receive the individualized attention they need to learn the skill.


Acknowledgments

Katelyn Greene of Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) is a co-author on the curriculum, linking our lessons to SHAPE America standards and provided valuable feedback. Jamie McCarthy, Coordinator of K-12 Health and Physical Education for CPS, arranged the opportunity. Tom Materazzo, a CPS PE teacher, was also part of the curriculum development team. Additional CPS PE teachers involved in piloting the program include Carlos Claros-Molina, Steve Lore, Evan Allen, Susan Harris and Mark Antonelli.

The first lesson (Boundary and Gathering) is based on USA Junior Coach Erin Schirm’s middle school lesson plans. Our approach and philosophy is strongly influenced by Erin. The second lesson (Animal-O) is based on reports from Andrea Schneider and David Yee about activities for children at European orienteering events. The orienteering lessons came out of curricula developed by Navigation Games in work from 2015 to 2019 with the Cambridge Community Schools JK-5 after-school classes (led by Barb Bryant, Ethan Childs and Adam Miller), and with JK-5 Physical Education classes at Cambridge Public Schools in the spring of 2018 (led by Melanie Serguiev, with Evalin Brautigam, Tomas Kamaryt, Marie Brezinova, Ethan Childs, and Adam Miller).

A previous four-lesson version was presented at the MAHPERD 2018 conference (with Amanda Klein and Cristina Luis). Many instructors and advisors at Navigation Games have contributed to creating and testing our lessons. We have drawn from the larger world of ideas for children’s orienteering — thank you all!

2018 OUSA Competitive Award Winners Announced

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The annual OUSA Competitive Awards are given to top American orienteers in several categories for outstanding competitive performance over the course of the past year. The Awards Committee members are Susan Grandjean, Boris Granovskiy, Linda Kohn, Patrick Nuss, and Ken Walker Sr.

This is the ninth year for these awards, and the fourth year that Orienteering USA members had the opportunity to vote for the candidates. The committee thanks all those who submitted nominations and who took the time to vote for your top OUSA athletes. We had a near-record number of votes cast this year! The vote totals were used as the main component in final award selection.

The Orienteer, Junior, and Comet of the Year award winners each receive a $500 travel grant to help them continue to improve their skills. Additionally, the Honorable Mentions in the three individual categories will receive $100 travel grants.

The Awards Committee would like to thank two anonymous donors for their generous contributions to the travel grants.

Previous Competitive Award winners

Here are the 2018 winners and recipients of honorable mentions (HM). Congratulations to all the winners!


Orienteer of the Year

Awarded to the best U.S. orienteer in 2018, based on results at national and international events

Greg Ahlswede (DVOA / Escondite Nature Sport, Spain)

Greg was among the very best U.S. orienteers at almost every race this year, with top-3 finishes at NAOC (3rd – long, 2nd – middle, 2nd – sprint) and at the U.S. Champs (2nd – long, middle, sprint).

Greg also finished 54th in the WOC long distance final and anchored Team USA to NAOC relay victory.

Honorable Mentions

Alison Crocker (CROC)

Ali made a strong return to the world elite in 2018, finishing 36th in the sprint and 40th in the middle at WOC, Team USA’s best two individual performances.

She also exchanged in 10th place after the first leg of the WOC relay and anchored Team USA to relay victory at NAOC. A win in the long distance at NAOC earned Ali an automatic qualifying spot for WOC 2019.

Anton Salmenkyla (CSU / Helsingin Suunnistajat, Finland)

In his first year as a senior, Anton distinguished himself by qualifying for the middle distance finals at the European Championships in Switzerland, finishing 48th against an extremely strong field. Other highlights include 55th place in the middle distance at WOC and a gold in the middle distance at NAOC, earning an automatic spot for WOC 2019.

Also at NAOC, Anton was part of the relay-winning US Team and finished 3rd in the sprint and 6th in the long distance.


Junior Orienteer of the Year

Awarded to the best U.S. orienteer in 2018 under the age of 21, based on results at national and international events

Tyra Christopherson (COC)

In her final year as a junior, Tyra qualified for the senior WOC team for the second year in a row and was perhaps the top U.S. junior at JWOC, where she finished 66th, 63rd, and 72nd in the three individual distances.

At NAOC, Tyra anchored the dominant U.S. junior women’s relay team to victory and added a sprint gold, middle distance silver, and long distance bronze in F-20 to her collection.

Honorable Mention

AJ Riley (DVOA)

Though still an M-18 runner, AJ had a dominant year in North American racing, sweeping the individual golds at NAOC in M18. He is ranked 1st in the U.S. in M-18 and 4th in M-20 and is the reigning U.S. High School Varsity Champion.

AJ tried his hand at racing against the seniors at the U.S. Champs, winning a bronze medal in sprint in M21.


Comet of the Year

Awarded to the US orienteer who has made the most progress in their orienteering results during the 2018 season

Keegan Harkavy (CSU/NEOC)

As just a 15-year-old, Keegan made the jump from the Orange course to Green in M-18 and finished the year ranked 2nd in that category.

He also earned the bronze medal at the U.S. High School Varsity Championships, and had top-10 finishes at the Billygoat and the Harriman Fall Goat races.

Honorable Mention

Sydney Fisher (SMOC)

Sydney improved from a ranking of 8th to 4th in the F21+ category over the course of the year, raising her OUSA score from 74.75 to 78.85. She was named to the 2018 USA team for the first time as a development member. After training hard through the spring, she came in 3rd in points at her first team trials and was named an alternate to the WOC team for the first time.

She also recorded her first solo overall wins in Rogaining with wins at Green Corn Moon (6 hr) and Legend of the Dogman (18 hr) and earned a silver medal at the U.S. Champs in the long distance.


Team of the Year

Awarded for the best team competitive performance during the 2018 season

U.S. Senior Team at NAOC

Team USA went all the way to the Yukon, Canada and took the Björn Kjellström Cup back from the Canadians. This was a true team effort, as four different team members (Ali Crocker, Tori Borish, Morten Jorgensen, and Anton Salmenkyla) winning individual gold medals, and both the men’s and women’s relay teams claiming golds as well.

Fifteen different competitors contributed to Team USA’s victory.

Honorable Mention

U.S. JWOC Men’s Relay Team

Composed of Thomas Laraia, David Runde, and Martin Borge Heir, the team finished as the 15th country, just 17 minutes behind winning Norway.

This is the best-ever U.S. men’s relay finish at JWOC, improving on last year’s 18th place.


Competition Awards eligibility

To be awarded any of the individual awards a nominee has to be a USA citizen, and must be a member of Orienteering USA in good standing during the current calendar year. Additionally, for the Junior Orienteer of the Year award, the nominee has to be no older than 20 at the end of the calendar year. To be selected for the Orienteering Team of the Year award, all team members have to be Orienteering USA members and represent the U.S. or an OUSA chartered club in competition.

Competitors in any forms of orienteering are eligible, including Foot O, Ski O, Mountain Bike O, Trail O, and Rogaining.

The award winners were selected by a committee appointed by Orienteering USA from a list of candidates nominated by members of the U.S. and international orienteering communities, with voting by OUSA members again guiding the selection this year.