including the COC 2022-23 Winter League Championships
February 18, 2023
Cascade Orienteering’s Winter League Series serves two audiences. It is the home of the Washington Interscholastic Orienteering League (WIOL), the oldest school league in the USA, as well as a robust public series.
This year marked WIOL’s 41st season and it saw huge participation with 349 students from 57 different schools registered. Students from 1st grade through seniors in college competed in seven regular season meets for season individual and team trophies followed by one championship race for more team and individual honors and awards.
On the public side, folks on both short and long advanced competed for season and championship trophies, while the other three levels offered enjoyed being non-competitive. Just under 400 different individuals ran in at least one public Winter League meet this season and the series averaged 156 public runners at each meet.
Twelve different course designers created 8 courses per regular season meet and nine courses for the Championships/NRE, under the guidance of series course consultant, Dave Tallent. This year, thanks to training coordinator John Brady, we offered online training pre-meets, and in-person trainings pre and post races at each meet. Thanks to Patrick Nuss and OUSA team member Will Enger we also offered About the Route, a Sunday night Zoom session where runners could compare routes and learn tips and tricks from the experts.
Series Direrctor, Michelle Kastner oversaw all eight orienteering meets along with two pre-season in person trainings that saw over 100 participants each, the three hour season ending celebration and awards ceremony, and the season ending bonus relay race. Kastner, along with her core team of eight other individuals, who are all volunteers, made sure each event ran smoothly and professionally. The series was pre-registration only and offered National Meet syle starts and assigned start times for students courtesy of WIOL Registrar Kathy Forgrave. The public picked their own start time via a public app. Under the direction of Volunteer Coordinator, Ing Uhlin, eighty-five different individuals volunteered for at least one day-of-meet volunteer role, keeping each event running at optimum quality and fostering a large sense of community among Cascade’s membership.
Dan Waugh, who started WIOL 41 years ago, remarked, it is “really inspiring to see all the enthusiastic young faces, the achievements, and the dedication of the many volunteers who make it all happen.” Dan’s vision over four decades ago has paid back in so many ways. Eleven of this year’s USA team members got their start in WIOL. Two of COC’s school teams (Tahoma Varsity and University of Washington Intercollegiate) and two of their club teams (Middle School and JV) won Gold at this years OUSA Jr Nationals in Georgia. Beyond the individual and team achievements, Winter League/WIOL is a local event series that offers folks a way to get outdoors even when its cold and raining, a chance to be part of a diverse and fun community, and the opportunity for learning life long skills – wins for everyone involved.