Friday, May 29, 2009

WOC Team - Who's Running What

We had the team settled, and now we've got the details!

Team coach Mike Waddington and WOC team leader Tom Hollowell have announced "who's running what" for WOC 2009. Start memorizing and making those big signs!

Middle: Eddie Bergeron, Eric Bone, Wyatt Riley
Long: Eric Bone, Ross Smith, Clem McGrath
Sprint: Ross Smith, Wyatt Riley, Clem McGrath
Relay (in running order): Ross Smith, Eric Bone, Eddie Bergeron

Middle: Sandra Zurcher, Pavlina Brautigam, Viktoria Brautigam
Long: Samantha Saeger, Sandra Zurcher, Cristina Luis
Sprint: Viktoria Brautigam, Samantha Saeger, Cristina Luis
Relay (in running order): Samantha Saeger, Sandra Zurcher, Viktoria or Pavlina Brautigam

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Training Camp Update: Canadian Rockies

Last week, US team member Kat Orekhova flew to Calgary to join the Canadians for a week-long training camp. Here is her day-by-day account, complete with maps and links.

Monday, May 18
I arrived in Calgary airport at 2 PM on May 18th, and spent the next 10 hours hanging out in the arrivals hall so that I could get a ride to Canmore with Jon Torrance. We got in sometime after 1 AM and quickly went to sleep.

Tuesday, May 19
After a leisurely breakfast, our group (roughly 10 people) headed out to Mt.Laurie for some technical training. The rain and snow made the control-pick extra challenging.

In the afternoon, we headed out to Barrier Lake for some fast and furious orienteering intervals. This exercise was done in teams of 2 people and the rules were as follows: one person rolls a pair of dice to get a number between 2 and 12, and must then orienteer to the control with that number, punch, and run back as quickly as possible to tag his/her partner. Then the partner rolls the dice and goes through the same process while the first person gets a break. Whichever team gets all 11 controls first wins. If a team rolls a number they have already been to, they have to run to that control again, a disadvantage which adds a bit of luck to the game. However, if a team rolls the same number for a third time, they are allowed to re-roll. This was great fun and really spectator friendly because the start was at the top of a steep hill and all controls went down from there!

Wednesday, May 20
Today we drove into Calgary and spent the day doing sprint training. First a park sprint, then a series of short urban sprint intervals (made extra challenging by an enormous construction site), and finally a sprint around the university campus. This last one was part of a local orienteering event and therefore had SI timing and a nice, newly updated map. Thanks to Sarah Brandreth (the course setter) for a really fun sprint!

Thursday May 21
In the morning, we drove over to the Canmore Nordic Center to run the permanent middle distance O-course there. A lot of parks have such courses available, but this one is special because it is equipped with SI units, which makes it really easy for Canmore visitors to experience real, competitive orienteering and compare times with some of the best in Canada. Brent had a blazing fast run and set a new course record for the 4.2 km, 165m climb course. I was pleased to be only a few minutes behind most of the guys, despite not racing all-out.

In the afternoon, we drove to Banff for a sprint race. There was some construction going on in the urban section of the course, but the forest parts were just as expected - really open and fast!

Friday May 22
Easy morning training on the Bow Valley map, followed by a relaxing afternoon spent in Calgary watching a movie (Star Trek) and then going out for Ethiopian food.

Saturday May 23
First day of the Calgary Spring Cup (also the Canadian Team Trials). The sprint was held in the morning at Fish Creek Park, in perfect sunny weather. The top three results for the elite classes were:

1. Goeres, Patrick 12:46
2. Sorensen, Oystein 12:57
3. Smith, Mike 13:29

1. Louise Oram 13:14
2. Ekaterina Orekhova 13:47
3. Andree Powers 19:27

The middle distance was held several hours later on the southern part of the Sandy McNabb map. The forest floor was really wet due to recent snow-melt, which sometimes made the marshes difficult to distinguish, but the course-setters did a good job of avoiding bingo controls and the course was really enjoyable. The top results in the elite classes were:

1. Sorensen, Oystein 32:05
2. Smith, Mike 33:41
3. Goeres, Patrick 33:53

1. Louise Oram 32:50
2. Ekaterina Orekhova 39:25
3. Marie-Catherine Bruno 41:18

Sunday, May 24
Second day of the Calgary Spring Cup. There was only one race today, but it was a tough long distance. The first part went through some steep hilly sections, and the second went through the same type of flat, marshy area as yesterday's middle distance. Another great course!

1. Sorensen, Oystein 1:22:03
2. Goeres, Patrick 1:24:18
3. Smith, Mike 1:30:53

1. Ekaterina Orekhova 1:09:17
2. Louise Oram 1:10:34
3. Sarah Brandreth 1:34:23

Full results and routegadget from the weekend can be found here.

And a large collection of photos from the week, taken by Adrian Zissos, can be found here.

This was an incredible week of orienteering and I am really grateful to the organizers for making this possible. Also, a huge thanks to the US Team for their support. I couldn't have done it without you!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A-Meet Update: Buffalo Orienteering Festival

Nate Lyons (ROC) sprinting into 2nd place

Here comes the latest update, this one from last weekend's Buffalo Orienteering Festival. This week's guest reporter is DVOA's Greg Balter.

Last weekend provided us with some interesting competition as our busy spring season of orienteering racing is winding down. Buffalo Orienteering Club hosted us at 3 fine new venues and 3 new maps done by Bulgarian mapper Valentin Vladimirov. Valentin also served as a course designer for this meet and the course setting was done by Jackie Novkov from Buffalo.

In all 3 races presented to us this weekend courses emphasized extreme running speed and tested all in quick decision-making, working with map and terrain on a run with very little time to spare. The middle distance was set to begin in fairly steep erosion terrain with small marshes, reentrants and knolls as control features, exiting later into flatter plateau with rootstocks, trails and vegetation boundaries to deal with. As it is seldom done in US courses followed contour lines rather than crossing them and it opened possibilities for various rout choices (low, high or contouring).

Man’s middle course race was decided between Erin Shirm, Sergei Zhuk, and William Hawkins who started in that order 2 min apart from each other. Sergei’s task was to stay out of William’s sight, and he pushed the pace right out of start gate. By control # 8 Sergei caught Erin and competition between these two pushed pace even higher. William on his side attacked the course early on and by control # 10 he gained 40 sec on Sergei. At the end it proved to be the difference in this race. Will finished in blistering hot 26:57 for the 4.5 km course with 17 controls, showing one more time that his top position in North American rankings is well-earned. Sergei was second: 27:49, Erin was third in 29:43, followed by Canadian team member Nick Duca in 30:27. US Team members Clem McGrath and Ross Smith completed top 6 with 31:25 and 31:36 respectively. Ross had a good start but a 3 min mistake on control #9 pushed him out of contention in this race.

Ross gained nice amount of running speed since last season and must pull his navigational skills up to new level in order to take full advantage his legs.

Ladies and top juniors competed on 3.9 km course with 16 controls, designed very similar to Blue course. Our top juniors Andrew Childs and Nate Lyons showed that they could handle fast running and fine navigation at the same time and finished in 29:27 and 30:28 respectively. Samantha Saeger won F21+ race in 32:09 (two small mistakes on 6 and 15), followed by Pavlina Brautigam in 35:48 and Kseniya Popova was 3-rd in 38:50.

Later same day we faced a super fast sprint at Emery Park North. Buffalo Club provided loudspeaker announcement at the finish. 2.54 km course in the park was featuring somewhat limited woods running (only 2 legs), going over playgrounds fields and finishing down local ski slope.

I was predicting the tough battle between Ross and Erin, and was very anxious to see how it will play in real world. Ross started earlier and finished in super fine 11:29. Lacking orienteering racing this season, Erin lost huge 1 min on control # 1 and another 30 sec on # 2, then settled down and finished in decent 12:48, what was only good for 11-th place. After the dust settled Nate Lyons was second in 11:45, (watch out senior team members for this one in 2-3 years, he is only 17 this year), Hans Fransson finished 3-rd in 11:54. Canadian Junior Team member Robbie Anderson, Will Hawkins and Clem McGrath compiled top six times: 12:02, 12:05, and 12:08.

Canadian phenom Emily Kemp won the females’ race, while competing in M21+ category this year, with fine time of 13:10, with Samantha Saeger in second: 14:31, followed by Kseniya in 15:20.

Sunday morning met us with 27-degree temperature drop and blistering wind. Cool weather (45-50F) and plenty of sunshine allowed us to run fast and drink little. One more time the courses played very fast, may be even too fast: last 2.5 km on Blue and Red felt like a very long finish shoot.

Will Hawkins did not run the race for personal reasons. I guess, Ross had something to prove on 12.3 km course with 25 controls, and he did so well. Posting the only result with pace under 6 min/km, he was in control of this race, and won handily in 71:39. Nice exclamation point at the end of the season, and hopefully Ross will have good training in next two and a half months before the WOC in Hungary. Second place went to Erin Shirm with time of 74:22 – nice result considering that it was his 3-rd orienteering session this year. I hope we will see more of Erin in O-races starting next year. I hope he reaches his ambitious goals as college track runner too, and we will see under 4 min mile race produced by one of our own.

Erin Schirm (HVO) flying through the forest

2 Sergeis – Zhuk and Gnatiouk battled on the course, pushing each other hard - at the end Zhuk finished with 3-rd time: 75:35 and Gnatiouk with 6-th: 77:44. Nick Duca was 4-th yet one more time with 76:17 and Igor Palagnyuk was 5th with 77:08. (On a little trivia note Gnatiouk, Palagnyuk and Balter all started to orienteers in the same town of Chernovtcy in Western Ukraine.)

Emily and Samantha battled it out on a Blue course (girls you have to spare our prideJ).

Samantha had a decent race, still made a 4 min mistake on #12, and was 13-th on Blue with 87:26; Emily was 89:41 and placed next to Sam.

Samantha Sager (NEOC) during the middle distance

One more time Red-Y course battle featured top US juniors in close race, and one more time Andrew Childs prevailed over Nate Lyons and John Goodwin. Nate was very aggressive early on mounting 3 min lead over Andrew and John, but a 8 min bomb on 12 pushed him well back, and we have to give him a credit for clawing back into race: Andrew was first in 59:58, Nate – second in 60:18 and John finished 60:44. This is as close as it gets – after 8.5 km course with 21 controls top three got separated by only 46 seconds. Good going kids.

On the ladies side Pavlina won easily over Yekaterina Dvinyaninova and Kseniya Popova: 65:42, 69:27, 69:50.


M21, 4.5km, 145m, 17c
1. William Hawkins CSU 77 26:57
2. Sergei Zhyk DVOA 79 27:49
3. Erin Schirm HVO 89 29:43

F21, 3.9km, 125m, 16c
1. Samantha Saeger NEOC 82 32:09
2. Pavlina Brautigam WCOC 61 35:48
3. Kseniya Popova HVO 86 38:50

, 2.54km, 50m, 16c
1. Ross Smith CSU 83 11:29
2. Nate Lyons ROC 92 11:45
3. Hans Fransson GHO 70 11:54

1. Emily Kemp OOC 92 13:10
2. Samantha Saeger NEOC 82 14:31
3. Kseniya Popova HVO 86 15:20

Men, 12.4km, 230m, 25c
1. Ross Smith CSU 83 71:39
2. Erin Schirm HVO 89 74:22
3. Sergei Zhyk DVOA 79 75:35

Women, 8.4km, 190m, 21c
1. Pavlina Brautigam WCOC 61 65:42
2. Yekaterina Dvinyaninova HVO 77 69:27
3. Kseniya Popova HVO 86 69:50

Full results:

Maps (Route Gadget):

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A-Meet Update: Return to Boggs Mountain and US Team Trials

The 2oo9 US WOC Team and alternates

This past weekend was the US team trials in Santa Rosa and Cobb, CA. There were about 24 men and 10 women signed up to compete for the 5 spots on the WOC team. Team members arrived in Spring Lake Park in Santa Rosa on Friday afternoon and were welcomed by a steady drizzle. Luckily the new Trimtex uniforms had arrived, brought over from Sweden by Kat Orekhova, and everyone was looking snazzy in the new blue warmup jackets. The sprint terrain was typical park terrain, with a network of trails and roads and point features such as picnic tables and boulders. Although it appeared to be a straight forward sprint, many competitors were tripped up by being able to run at high speed through the terrain. The last control in particular was tricky, as there was a white control further towards the finish line that was more visible than the correct last control. Many competitors, in their haste to reach that line, ran to the wrong last control. Both Viktoria Brautigam and Ross Smith (as the first starter!) crushed their competition by almost a minute in both cases. One result that stood out was from junior Holly Kuestner, who bested current team member Pavlina Brautigam by one second.

After the team trials sprints went out, the rest of the A-meet competitors got a chance to run the same courses. Some very impressive times were run by a strong foreign contingent. Below are the team trial results from Friday. For complete course results from the sprint check here:
Routes can be found at:

Sprint stars Viktoria Brautigam and Samantha Saeger, after the long distance

1 Viktoria Brautigam 14:13
2 Samantha Saeger 15:08
3 Cristina Luis 15:38
4 Holly Kuestner 15:41
5 Pavlina Brautigam 15:42
6 Corinne Porter 18:11
7 Ekaterina Orekhova 18:36
8 Angelica Riley 19:21
9 Karin Gookin Didisse 22:06
10 Sharon Crawford 25:30

1 Ross Smith 14:37
2 Eric Bone 15:21
3 Thomas Carr 15:30
4 Wyatt Riley 15:33
5 Nikolay Nachev 15:45
6 Boris Granovskiy 15:47
7 Eddie Bergeron 15:54
8 James Scarborough 15:59
9 Clem McGrath 16:16
10 Leif Anderson 16:33

The rainy weather following the sprint race encouraged people to disperse quickly, and everyone made their way up to Cobb, CA an hour drive on some scenic and seriously winding roads. For those brave souls willing to venture into the rain there was the option of checking out some model terrain for the rest of the weekend at the Boggs Mountain map.

Saturday began with more rain and lower than expected temperatures. Some people that had planned on camping over the weekend gave up in disgust and found drier accommodations. There was a 2 kilometer walk to the start for the advanced courses which gave runners adequate time to get soaking wet before running. The other courses started from the parking lot and were smugly able to sit in their cars before heading out.
The middle courses for the team trials had many changes of direction and a lot of short technical legs. There were a couple of longer legs towards the middle of the advanced courses that allowed runners to stretch their legs on the trails. Both courses had a long leg with about 20 contours of climb near the end of the race where different routes led to an almost 3 minute spread among the top men and women. The terrain was very steep and rocky in some areas. There was a downhill finish in view of the parking lot for those willing to stand in the cold rain and cheer. Most competitors finished and then quickly jumped in their cars with their heaters running. After leaving the site and taking a warm shower, many found their way to the small coffee shop in Cobb center, which team member Clem McGrath described as “funky.” The local businesses might have been a little overwhelmed by all the orienteers but rumor has it that they were expecting even more of us for the weekend. Somehow they heard that 2,000 athletes would be racing!

Here are the results from the team trials. Cristina Luis again ran a solid race and finished third, showing a marked improvement from last years team trials. See her routes, and others, here. Again, many other elite runners (in particular, Canadian Patrick Goeres and Norwegian Öystein Sörensen in the men's class) also posted some impressive times on these WRE middle courses which can be read here:

1 Samantha Saeger 45:45
2 Pavlina Brautigam 51:10
3 Cristina Luis 52:40
4 Viktoria Brautigam 58:08
5 Ekaterina Orekhova 59:48
6 Holly Kuestner 1:02:04
7 Angelica Riley 1:06:26
8 Corinne Porter 1:06:49
9 Sharon Crawford 1:11:57
10 Karin Gookin Didisse 1:30:10

1 Eric Bone 42:22
2 Boris Granovskiy 42:53
3 Nikolay Nachev 44:57
4 Wyatt Riley 45:08
5 Sergei Zhyk 45:27
6 Clem McGrath 45:46
7 Ross Smith 48:04
8 Eddie Bergeron 49:38
9 Gerald Yip 50:09
10 Jordan Laughlin 50:56

Eric Bone, Team Trials winner on the men's side

On Sunday it was time for the long distance race. As many stared out their window, or their tent flap, in the morning they were dismayed to see that it was still raining. Fortunately, the rain tapered off and had almost completely stopped by the time the first team trialers began. The woman’s race started off rough for many of the team trial competitors, as many had to relocate a few times in order to find the first control. Angelica Riley took a decisive and early lead as she calmly and swiftly navigated to the first control. The men’s and women’s courses had a mixture of shorter more technical legs with longer legs where route choice was important. Eddie Bergeron won the split on the longest leg by running all the way left on the trail. See his route, and others, at . As the sun began to peek through the clouds the first finishers arrived, still soaking wet and exhausted from the course that had more than the recommended 4% climb. Junior Jordan Laughlin had a stand out performance, finishing only 4 minutes behind the team trial winner, Eddie Bergeron. Yet again, many other competitors also posted speedy times on the WRE long courses and their times can be found here

1 Samantha Saeger 1:30:27
2 Corinne Porter 1:33:54
3 Cristina Luis 1:40:15
4 Viktoria Brautigam 1:42:15
5 Angelica Riley 1:43:23
6 Pavlina Brautigam 1:52:37
7 Holly Kuestner 2:01:53
8 Sharon Crawford 2:23:04

1 Eddie Bergeron 1:41:03
2 Clem McGrath 1:42:38
3 Eric Bone 1:43:36
4 Wyatt Riley 1:44:52
5 Jordan Laughlin 1:45:08
6 Sergei Zhyk 1:45:57
7 Leif Anderson 1:49:48
8 Nikolay Nachev 1:50:12
9 Ross Smith 1:51:06
10 Gregory Balter 1:56:13

The weekend ended with sun, watermelon, ice cream and an awards ceremony all provided by the thoughtful BAOC bloc. The US team and alternates for Hungary were announced by Peter Gagarin. The team makeup is similar to last year’s US team with the addition of first time team member Cristina Luis. Cristina surprised even herself with her racing this weekend. She wasn’t expecting to have two races that earned her 95 points and so she wasn’t sure if she would make the 270 point cut-off for sending a fifth athlete. Holly Kuestner had to catch a plane back to the east coast where she was needed to finish taking her final exams and so wasn’t present to hear that she was named the second alternate for the WOC team. Getting this recognition might have helped ease the pain of running into barb wire during the long run.

On the men’s side, Eric Bone again took top honors, showing his dominance in the arena. Boris Granovskiy has declined his spot on the team and therefore Sergei Zhyk will get a chance to represent the US this summer in Hungary. If he goes it will be his first WOC.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

2009 WOC Team

Team USA is proud to announce the final standings from the 2009 Team Trials (top 5 make the team for the World Champs in Hungary)

1. Samantha Saeger, NEOC
2. Sandra Zürcher, UNO
3. Pavlina Brautigam, WCOC
4. Viktoria Brautigam, WCOC
5. Cristina Luis, DVOA

6. Corinne Porter, DVOA
7. Holly Kuestner, COC
8. Angelica Riley, DVOA
9. Kat Orekhova, CSU


1. Eric Bone, COC
2. Eddie Bergeron, SVO
3. Ross Smith, CSU
4. Boris Granovskiy, CSU
5. Wyatt Riley, DVOA

6. Sergei Zhyk, DVOA
7. Clem McGrath, DVOA
8. Nikolay Nachev, COC
9. Leif Anderson, Samm

Thanks to BAOC and especially to course setters Mikkel Conradi, Evan Custer, and George Minarek for a great event.

And also thanks to Greg Lennon and Quantico OC for their unexpected and wonderful donation of $2,000 to the Team Fund to help pay for WOC expenses.


PS. Let me add a few more thank-yous to folks who made the Trials a great event ‹ Meet directors Rex Winterbottom and Scott Aster and all their helpers, WRE event advisor Vladimir Gusiatnikov, BAOC mapping guru Bob Cooley, special course consultant for the Trials courses Eric Weyman, and Wyatt Riley, liaison between the Team and the organizers.