2011 Orienteering USA Competitive Award Winners announced

Orienteering USA would like to announce the winners of the Inaugural Orienteering USA Competitive Awards. These awards are meant to recognize and reward outstanding competitive accomplishments by U.S. orienteers during 2011.

The awards and winners:

(view announcement with photographs as a printable PDF)


Orienteer of the Year

Ali on long final course at WOC 2011

Awarded to the best U.S. orienteer in 2011, based on results at national and international events.

Winner: Alison Crocker, Amherst, Massachusetts; Cambridge Sports Union

    In a year full of outstanding results, Ali’s performances at the World Championships in both foot- and ski-orienteering shine especially brightly. At Ski-WOC in Sweden, Ali punctuated a week of stellar racing with an 8th place finish in the Long Distance, the best individual US finish ever at a Ski-WOC.
    Ali made the switch from skiing to running without missing a beat, and successfully qualified for all three individual finals at the World Orienteering Championships in France. Her best finish at WOC was 27th place in the sprint, here again the best individual U.S. performance at a World Orienteering Championship.
    On the domestic front Ali, winner of the 2010 Comet of the Year award, was nearly unbeatable, winning the U.S. Championship in every discipline for which she was eligible (Short, Middle, Long, Classic, Night, and Relay). Out of her 11 days of A-meet racing in 2011, she won 8 of the races and finished 2nd in the other three.

Photo: World of O

Honorable Mention: Sharon Crawford, Frisco, Colorado; Rocky Mountain Orienteering Club

    Sharon has long been a top orienteer in her age group, both in the United States and internationally. In 2011, she was no match for her age-class competitors at home, winning F65 at A-meets with an average margin of at least half an hour. She then had some great races at the World Masters Championships in Hungary, winning gold in F65 in the long distance by more than 2 minutes 30 seconds, and earning the silver medal in the Sprint Distance.



Junior Orienteer of the Year

Awarded to the best U.S. orienteer no older than 20 in 2011, based on results at national and international events.

Winner: Andrew Childs, Willison, VT, Green Mountain Orienteering Club

    Andrew, who studies at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA and still has another year remaining as a junior, finished 2011 as the top-ranked orienteer on the Red Course, beating out both the top veterans and elite women.
    He also won five A-meet races, never finishing worse than 2nd, was the U.S. Champion in M20 in both the Long Distance and Classic, and represented the US at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Poland, where he qualified for the B Final in the Middle Distance.

Honorable mention: Richard Y. Ebright, North Brunswick, NJ, Delaware Valley Orienteering Association and Cambridge Sports Union

   Richard Y. Ebright is a sophomore at Harvard University and is an established star on the national Trail-O scene. Richard took the silver medal at this year’s U.S. Trail-O Champs in the Open class and qualified for the U.S. Team that competed at the World Trail Orienteering Championships in France, making the senior national Trail-O team as a junior.



Comet of the Year

Awarded to the most improved U.S. orienteer in 2011, based on results at national and international events.

Winner: Alexandra Jospe, Newton, MA, Cambridge Sports Union

    Alex has been a top U.S. ski orienteer for years and has made great progress in her foot-O results this year, improving her U.S. ranking by 10 points and climbing from 10th to 5th place in the F21 rankings.
    Probably the hardest-training athlete in U.S. orienteering, Alex made her breakthrough at the 2011 U.S. Team Trials. There, she overcame a bout of irregular heartbeat that destroyed her sprint race, but came back to finish as the 3rd U.S. Team eligible woman in the Long Distance and 2nd in the Middle Distance, qualifying for the WOC Team for the first time.
    Alex finished off her fine year by winning a bronze medal at the U.S. Sprint Champs, a silver at the U.S. Night Champs, and gold as part of CSU’s U.S. Relay Championship winning team.



Orienteering Team of the Year

Awarded to the best USA national or club orienteering team in 2011, based on results at national and international events.

Women [center, left to right]: Cristina Luis, Ali Crocker, Alex Jospe
Men [clockwise from upper left]: Nikolay Nachev, Adrian Owens, Greg Walker, Scott Pleban

Winner: U.S. Ski Orienteering Team to the 2011 World Ski Orienteering Championships


     Alison Crocker, Amherst, MA; Cambridge Sports Union
     Alexandra Jospe, Newton, MA; Cambridge Sports Union
     Cristina Luis, Oslo, Norway; Tucson Orienteering Club and Nydalens SK [Norway]
     Nikolay Nachev, Redmond, WA; Cascade Orienteering Club
     Adrian Owens, Craftsbury, VT; Green Mountain Orienteering Club
     Scott Pleban, Colonial Beach, VA; Quantico Orienteering Club
     Greg Walker, Truckee, CA; Cambridge Sports Union
    The U.S. Team at the Ski-O World Championships in Sweden had a series of successful results, particularly in the relay events. The men’s team, consisting of Pleban, Walker, and Owens, finished 15th; the mixed relay team of Walker and Crocker finished 12th; and the women’s team of Crocker, Jospe, and Luis had a great relay race, finishing 8th. Combine that with a serious of solid individual results highlighted by Crocker’s 8th place in the Long Distance, and you get one of the most successful Ski-WOCs ever for Team USA.

Honorable mention: U.S. Military Academy Orienteering Team

    The USMA Orienteering Team has long been a powerhouse in college orienteering, having won the last eight U.S. Intercollegiate Championships as a team, including this year with a line-up of Hannah Burgess, Jordan Laughlin, and Keith Andersen. This year was particularly impressive, as both the men’s and women’s Varsity Intercollegiate Champions came from USMA for only the third time in history. These champions, Laughlin (Men’s) and Burgess (Women’s), both qualified for the senior U.S. Team and competed in the World Championships in France.


Prizes: Each of the individual award winners will receive a travel grant for $500 donated by friends of Team USA.

Congratulations to our winners!

Peter Goodwin, President
Orienteering USA

19 Dec 2011

Competition awards eligibility rules:

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.

The selection committee consists of:
Peter Goodwin (Orienteering USA VP Competition), committee chair
Patrick Nuss
Peter Gagarin (former U.S. team member, coach, Executive Steering Committee chairman)
Boris Granovskiy (U.S. team member, frequent U.S. team leader at the Junior World Orienteering Championships)
Linda Kohn (ESC chairwoman, former U.S. team member)