2014 Orienteering USA Competitive Award Winners announced

The Orienteering Awards are given for performance in orienteering. 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 fourth year for these awards.

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 2014, based on results at national and international events.

Samantha Saeger, NEOC, OK Linné

Sam had an outstanding year, with some great domestic and international results. The highlight of the year came at the North American Championships in Ottawa, where she dominated the women’s competition, winning gold medals in the Long and Sprint races, a silver in the Middle distance, and anchoring the U.S. relay team for a come-from-behind victory over Canada.

Overseas, she placed 32nd in the World Championship Sprint race in Venice, Italy. Running in the world’s biggest relays— the Venla relay in Finland—for her Swedish club OK Linné, Sam exchanged in 32nd out of 1204 teams on the first leg; and on the second leg of Sweden’s Tiomila relay, she moved her team from 118th to 37th position. In addition, she placed 18th overall in the Silva League series of elite races in Sweden.

To top off this fine year, Sam married long-time boyfriend and U.S. Team member Ross Smith in October.

Honorable Mention — Sharon Crawford , RMOC

A perennial star for Orienteering USA, this was an excellent year for Sharon. She is the F70+ World Champion in the Long distance, won at the World Masters Orienteering Championships (WMOC) in Brazil this year, as well as North American Champion in the long distance in F65+. She also won multiple U.S. Championship medals.


Junior Orienteer of the Year

Awarded to the best U.S. orienteer no older than 20 in 2014, based on results at national and international events.

Ethan Childs, GMOC

Ethan continued to improve this year, his last as a junior. He had terrific races at the North Americans in October, decisively winning the Long in M-20 on the opening day, then moving into the senior class (M21), where he was the best American in the Middle and the second best in the Sprint.

In July, Ethan was a member of the U.S. team at the Junior World Championships (JWOC) in Bulgaria, qualifying for the A final in the middle distance and finishing 57th. Ethan was also the best American male in the long distance race, finishing 64th. Finally, Ethan qualified for his first senior WOC team, representing Team USA at the World Championships in Italy.

Honorable MentionIsabel Bryant, CSU

Isabel has consistently shown that she is the USA’s best female junior at the moment. At JWOC this year she was the best American female in all three individual races, and finished 69th in the sprint, 67th in the long, and 79th in the middle. At NAOC she was North American Champion in the long and middle distances and anchored Team USA to victory in the junior relay.


Comet of the Year

Awarded to the most improved U.S. orienteer in 2014, based on results at national and international events.

Matej Sebo , BAOC

Matej, a junior, went from an almost-unknown to almost qualifying for the WOC team (he was second alternate) this year. Continuing his fine year, Matej won the NAOC middle distance for M-20 and is currently ranked 12th US in M21 and first in M-20. This is quite amazing for someone not on the radar screen before this year; it’s the result of a lot of training plus a lengthy summer trip to Europe, going to a lot of international competitions where his results just got better and better.

Honorable Mention — Katrina Weinmann, COC and Will Enger, SAMM

Katrina is new to international and national level orienteering this year. At JWOC she finished 75th in the sprint (second best American), 83rd in the long (third best American) and 22nd in the middle qualifier which was the best result for the American women. Only two years ago she started using a compass, and this year she was flying through the woods.

Will went from a point ranking on Blue of 57 a year ago to 91 at present.  He also contributed to Team USA’s effort at the North American Championships running on the second USA team, helping USA to a 1-2 finish in the relay.


Team of the Year

Awarded to the best USA national or club orienteering team in 2014, based on results at national and international events.

Women’s Senior Team

The USA Women’s Senior Team did well at the 2014 WOC with some impressive finishes, including a 26th place in the Long Distance by Alison Crocker and a 32nd place in the Sprint by Samantha Saeger. Additional top-60 results were achieved by Alison Crocker (41st) and Hannah Culberg (59th) in the middle distance, and Alex Jospe (52nd) in the long distance.

Team USA women truly showed their depth at NAOC, with individual North American Championship medals going to six different U.S. women: Tori Borish (silver, sprint), Alison Crocker (bronze. long), Alex Jospe (bronze, sprint), Sandra Lauenstein (gold, middle), Kseniya Popova (silver, long), Samantha Saeger (gold, long, gold, sprint, silver, middle). The women of Team USA were the main reason the American teams won the National Team Relay at NAOC and were able to win the Bjorn Kjellstrom Cup over Canada for the third time in a row.

shown above at NAOC, left to right:     
Cristina  Luis, Samantha Saeger, Alison Crocker, Alex Jospe,    
Kseniya Popova, Angelica Riley, Alison Campbell, Hannah Culbert    

Honorable Mention — The Junior Team

The Junior Team, under the guidance of their coach, Erin Schirm, has performed well this year, at JWOC as well as at NAOC where they won the Future Champions Cup. While not yet “in the money” at JWOC, the gap between the winners and the U.S. Junior Team members narrowed significantly. The rise in skill level bodes well for the Junior and Senior Teams in the future.

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.

Related links:

2 Jan 2015