Cristina Luis of the Tucson Orienteering Club (TSN) is the recipient of this year’s Silva Award, given annually to an orienteer who has given exceptional service to orienteering over the past five years. Cristina has been involved in orienteering at many levels in the US for well over 5 years, most recently culminating in her role as Competition Manager for The World Games, bringing international orienteering back to the US for the first time in over 25 years. The games were a huge success due to the tireless efforts and managerial acumen that Cristina brought to the role.
Beginning in 2018 she was the liaison between Orienteering USA, the Birmingham Organizing Committee (BOC), the Vulcan Orienteering Club (VOC) and the International Orienteering Federation (IOF). For four years, she navigated the competing demands of many different stakeholders allowing the rest of the volunteer team members to focus on their specific tasks. No matter what the issue, she tackled problems and found solutions, inspiring the rest of the team to do the same. Through the sporadic emails and phone calls at the beginning of the process, to the biweekly, then weekly and finally daily Zoom calls, she kept the team focused and moving forward.
Cristina poses with World Games Livestream Announcer Boris Granovskiy at Oak Mountain.
Photo courtesy Peggy Dickison.
Most of the team had responsibilities that were limited in scope to some specific area (like course setting or starts or logistics or volunteer coordination); Cristina oversaw all of it. In addition to the usual aspects of directing a large orienteering event, the multi-sport nature of this international event meant she had to deal with many non-orienteering specific details such as athlete accreditation, IOF official accommodations, integrating TV coverage with different sports, negotiating with police departments, and the list goes on. But as she dealt with all of that, she also kept the orienteering specific parts of the competition front and center to provide the highest quality experience to the international elite orienteers who came to Birmingham to compete. She was the epitome of a good leader, knowing when to leave people to do their jobs and when to get involved to make sure everything was running smoothly.
While Cristina’s substantial efforts in organizing the World Games orienteering competitions were clearly ample justification for this years award, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge a few of Cristina’s other contributions to our sport over the years. She is one of the primary organizers of the popular weeklong Southwest Spring Week orienteering festival held each winter in Arizona since 2018, she served on the US Team Executive Steering Committee from 2012-16 (serving twice as team leader) and served on the OUSA Board of Directors from 2007-2010 including a stint as VP Competition.
The 2022 Silva Award was presented to Cristina at the Orienteering USA Annual General Meeting held online on September 29th, 2022.
2022 President’s Awards
The accolades for Cristina were not limited to the Silva Award however. At each year’s Annual General Meeting, the president gives out a number of President’s Awards and this year’s awards included actual competition medals from The World Games. The Bronze Medal was presented to the Vulcan Orienteering Club who provided nearly half the volunteer manpower required to make the orienteering competitions the world class events that they were.
The Silver Medal was presented to Anne Mathews of VOC for her extraordinary efforts as Volunteer Coordinator for The World Games (see below) and the Gold Medal was presented to Cristina Luis for being the catalyst that allowed The World Games to become the first class events that they were. A president’s award was also given to Clinton Morse for his efforts over the past two years as National Communication Manager for OUSA.
2022 Golden Service Awards
The AGM is also the opportunity to recognize those individuals who have provided exceptional service to the sport of orienteering that extends beyond the local club level by presenting them with Orienteering USA Golden Service Awards. The recipients of this year’s Golden Service Awards are:
- Anne Mathews (VOC) – Anne, vice president of VOC, agreed early on in the planning process for The World Games to serve as Assistant Competition Manager and local representative in Birmingham for the orienteering competitions.
- Among Anne’s many, many duties were the recruitment, training and organizing of the over 70 volunteers who were not part of the core Team Officials group. These volunteers (many had multiple roles) were assigned to teams including control watching, course marshaling, starts, quarantine, finish, venue prep and much more.
- Anne also served as equipment manager for the games developing equipment lists, procuring equipment and supplies and coordinating their delivery and setup at the three different orienteering venues.
- Anne secured dedicated work spaces in Birmingham to allow the team, many of whom flew in from around the country, to operate efficiently to bring the games to fruition.
- Anne worked closely with course consultant Jon Campbell to identify a local printer and ensure that competition maps were prepared to the high international quality standards required.
- Greg Fasig (OCIN) – Greg was involved with OCIN for about 10 years and certainly left his mark on the club although he is no longer in the Cincinnati area. Greg served as OCIN president for 6 years and volunteered countless hours to grow club membership delving into operational aspects like encouraging the club to procure additional electronic timing equipment, initiating a new competitive racing series, improving registration processes and developing a mission and vision statement for the club. Under his leadership OCIN produced new club uniforms, expanded their catalog of maps, redesigned the club website and began marketing through social media.
- Tom Overbaugh (DVOA) – Tom Overbaugh has been a mainstay of DVOA for over 40 years. He has served as the President, Vice President, and Trustee at various times. Over the years he has scouted terrain; field-checked and updated maps; event directed; and set courses for many, many local events. He has played major roles in most of DVOA’s National Ranking events over the past 20 years including:
- 2000 US Champs – Registrar
- 2003 Return to the Water Gap – Course Setter Day 2
- 2005 Fair Hill Long Champs – Course Setter
- 2008 Chasing the Star Sprint – Course Vetter
- 2009 Fair Hill O Marathon – Event Director/Course Setter
- 2012 NAOC at the Water Gap – Director of Course Setting (all three days)
- 2014 Mason-Dixon Classic – Course Setter Day 2
- 2021 Back to the Woods – Course Setter for Sprint & Middle
- Shinichi Shimizu (COO) – Shin is a course setter and mapper for both the Central Ohio Orienteers club as well as OCIN. His courses are always well thought out and challenging at the upper levels, while beginner friendly and encouraging at the white and yellow levels. This year Shin set the Friday middle courses at the 2022 Flying Pig NRE. He also traveled to Alabama and was a volunteer at The World Games in July. He helped out with control watching, both in the woods and at the two sprints, as well as helping out with a variety of set-up tasks.
Orienteering USA extends congratulations and its sincere thanks to all the individuals recognized this year for your continuing efforts to develop and promote the sport of orienteering here in the US.