2015 Orienteering USA Competitive Award Winners announced

The Orienteering Awards are given to American orienteers in several categories for outstanding competitive performance over the course of the past year. The Awards Committee members are Patrick Nuss, Linda Kohn, Peter Gagarin, Boris Granovskiy and Peter Goodwin. The committee thanks all those who submitted nominations.This is the sixth year for these awards, but the first year that Orienteering USA members had the opportunity to vote for the candidates. The vote totals were used as one of the components in final award selection.

The Orienteer, Junior and Comet of the Year award winners receive a $500 travel grant to help them continue to improve their skills. Links to lists of past winners are at the bottom of this article.

(view announcement with photographs as a printable PDF)

Orienteer of the Year

Awarded to the best U.S. orienteer in 2015, based on results at national and international events.

Alison Crocker, Columbia River Orienteering Club

This is the fourth time in six years that Ali has won the OUSA Orienteer of the Year award. In another dominant domestic season, Ali won 6 of the 7 National Meet days she started, including the U.S. Sprint, Long, Classic, and Ultralong Championships.

Internationally, Ali once again represented the U.S. at the World Orienteering Championships, which were held in Scotland. There, she finished 45th in the grueling Long Distance Final, and anchored the U.S. Women’s Relay Team to a 20th place with the 14th fastest leg time. Ali’s best performance, however, came in the Sprint Final, where she finished 15th, less than one minute from a WOC medal. This outstanding performance is the best WOC result ever for any U.S. orienteer.


Junior Orienteer of the Year

Awarded to the best U.S. orienteer no older than 20 in 2015, based on results at national and international events.

Isabel Bryant, CSU

After winning the honorable mention for Junior of the Year in 2013 and 2014, Isabel stepped up to an even higher level this year. She is ranked 1st in F-20 and is the current U.S. Champion in the Middle and Long Distances in that category.

Isabel was the top qualifier for the U.S. Team for the Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC). At JWOC, which was held in Norway, Isabel was the best U.S. finisher in the long distance, coming 45th, which was the best U.S. long distance performance at JWOC in several years. After finishing high school this year, Isabel spent the fall semester in France, training with top French junior orienteers on some of the most technical maps in the world.


Comet of the Year

Awarded to the most improved U.S. orienteer in 2015, based on results at national and international events.

Tyra Christopherson, COC

Tyra only started orienteering in November 2013, but has shown tremendous improvement in a very short time, earning her the 2015 Comet of the Year award. In her second year orienteering, Tyra went from 8 total orienteering starts the year before to dominating the local school orienteering leagues in the Seattle area, winning nearly every race she started.

On the national scene, Tyra won the Interscholastic High School Varsity Championships, got the silver medal at the U.S. Sprint Championships in F-20, and qualified for the U.S. JWOC Team before winning the U.S. Classic Championships in F-20. Competing internationally for the first time, Tyra had a great race at the JWOC Sprint. She was the best U.S. finisher, coming 38th, which is the best U.S. JWOC Sprint result ever.


Honorable Mentions — Julia Doubson, BAOC & Greg Ahlswede, DVOA

As a 15-year old, Julia won bronze medals in F-20 at the U.S. Sprint and Long Distance Championships, qualifying for the very competitive U.S. JWOC Team. At JWOC, Julia finished top 100 in the world in every individual race, including 66th in the Sprint, showing some great results against much older competitors from all over the world. Her improvement during the past year is particularly dramatic when looking at Orienteering USA Rankings. On the Green Course, Julia went from a ranking of 46.8 (7th in F-20) in 2014 to 88.0 in 2015, good for 2nd in F-20.

Greg has made a great commitment to orienteering in recent years, moving to Spain and stepping up his training with the local and regional clubs there. This training paid off in 2015, as Greg took his first individual medal at a U.S. Championship in M21, winning Silver in the Sprint. He also qualified for the U.S. WOC Team for the first time, representing the U.S. in Scotland in the Sprint and the forest and mixed relays.



Team of the Year

Awarded to the best USA national or club orienteering team in 2015, based on results at national and international events.

Eric & Mary Smith, CNYO

Eric and Mary have been top Rogaine competitors in their age class for a long time, both domestically and internationally. In 2015, they earned a Bronze medal in the Mixed Ultra Veterans class at the World Rogaining Championships (WRC) in Finland against some very tough competition. The Ultra Veterans category is for competitors aged 65 and over, and Eric (72) and Mary (68) were several years older than most of the other top teams in their class. This was the only WRC medal won by an all-US team this year.

Honorable Mention — Fork Union Military Academy Orienteering Club

Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA), a private military boarding school in Central Virginia, has had a well-run orienteering program for a long time under the leadership of Coach Carl Muench. In 2015, FUMA orienteers had the best results in the school’s history, culminating in winning the Interscholastic High School Varsity Championships held in Pennsylvania in March. The winning team consisted of Colin Beverage, Ben Chiovaro, Zimu Li, Clay Ro, and Julian Yescas. Three of the FUMA competitors placed in the top ten overall, with Julian Yescas taking the Bronze Medal in the High School Varsity Male Competition.



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 guiding the selection this year.

Related links:

updated 19 Feb 2016