|Alison Campbell||Gregory Ahlswede|
|Alison Crocker||Giacomo Barbone|
|Hannah Culberg||Eric Bone|
|Alex Jospe||Ethan Childs|
|Kseniya Popova||Jordan Laughlin|
|Tori Borish||William Enger|
|Cristina Luis||Boris Granovskiy|
|Hillary Saeger||Brendan Shields|
|Ken Walker, Jr|
|Isabel Bryant||Connor Frost|
|Mariama Dryak||Morten Jorgensen|
Year of birth: 1991
Occupation: Engineering student
Club: Delaware Valley Orienteering Association, EUOC
International experience: JWOC 2009-2011; WUOC 2010, 2012, 2014; WOC 2013, 2015
That reflection has really boosted my confidence and I have been able to focus on my weaknesses. Over the last year or so I have also focused strongly on my physical fitness, which was found to be one of my key weaknesses. So I have added in a lot of strength and conditioning, watching my nutrition, and trying to just get some consistency and quality training in. But mostly I have learned that I enjoy orienteering, I enjoy being out in the woods challenging myself and that my best runs are when I go out and just enjoy doing what I love.
Who are your Orienteering idols? I don't really have one idol. I have many and all for different reasons. But mostly the people I'm about to list are my idols for the fact that despite being from smaller countries they have all excelled while also studying or working. They have also spent time talking to me and sharing their experiences. So my idols are: Emily Kemp, Tessa Hill, Niamh O'Boyle, Murray Strain, and Scott Fraser.
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes? My advice would be get on as many maps as possible and as different as possible. Also make sure you have a strong physical fitness base. Then it is all about consistency and process!
Year of birth: 1984
Occupation: Astrophysics post-doc
Club: Columbia River Orienteering Club, Cambridge Sports Union
International experience: WOC 2010-2015; Ski-WOC 2011 and 2013; World Games 2013
Do you have any pre-race rituals? Not too dedicated ones. I run for about 10 minutes and do a set of warm-up drills. Mentally, I think about what the terrain will be like, what choices the course setter might have put on the course given the terrain, stuff like that. But I’m now convinced that for long races, I need the during-race ritual of taking water and energy gel, which I hadn’t really done before this year. It really helps after about an hour in, and definitely if the race is longer than 90 minutes.What do you currently do in your training that is key to your success? I think be consistent. Improving in orienteering isn't about one killer workout or training camp, it's about training consistently year-in and year-out. Doing both the armchair studying of maps and the hard track or terrain intervals to have the speed. Most of all, it's getting out orienteering as much as possible, to make your brain expend minimal effort while ﬁguring out orienteering puzzles.
Home: Alexandria, Virginia
What event/s have you been to that were really special for you? North Americans in 2014 was a fantastic experience — the Canadians put on a great series of races and it was really fun to be competing as part of a greater U.S. team, especially in the final relay. Of course, my first trip to ORingen is a special memory. It was my first introduction to Swedish terrain, and also to the huge community in orienteering that exists outside the United States.
What terrain suits you the best? I love fast forests with lots of technical contour and rock detail, probably as a result of learning to orienteer at West Point.
Year of birth: 1984
Occupation: GIS Analyst at Haley & Aldrich, Inc.
Club: Cambridge Sports Union
International experience: WOC 2011-15; Ski-O World Cups and World Championships, 2007-present
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes? Orienteering is a physical sport, and to be good at it, you have to be fast and strong as well as smart. Even if you can't get into the forest, keep training on the roads—volume matters, and so does quality. If you're super crunched for time, focus on the quality work.
Home: West Orange, New Jersey
Who is your "O" idol? Thierry Gueorgiou is a great role model and inspiration. He consistently delivers at top races and emphasizes the importance of training. He explains his technique publicly and provides ways that any other athlete could practice to improve. He is also not infallible.
Home: Dedham, Massachusetts
Home: Uppsala, Sweden
What event/s have you been to that were really special for you? For me the best events are the ones where I really feel like a part of a team. I've had this feeling at so many events over the past years, that I cannot name them all. An early memory is from NAOC 2010. We had talked as a team beforehand about how this was the year to win the cup. People who were living outside of the U.S. flew in to compete and I still remember the feeling of support and excitement from the entire weekend. I think that feeling certainly contributed to our success. Running for OK Linné, I've had the privilege of being part of many relay teams at the large relays. 25-manna is a special event because it requires 25 people from a club to run together, male and female and all ages. The club has chants we do together, hair is sprayed, face paint is applied and every single Linné runner is cheered on wildly as they finish. I just love the cozy, special feeling of supporting others and striving to do our best—together!
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes? Get out the door and train, train, train! It can be hard in the U.S. when there isn't a lot of terrain available for orienteering, but don't let that stop you. Meet other people who are also training, even if not for orienteering, and run and exercise with them. When you train against friends who are stronger and faster, you rise to the occasion and train even harder. Use training partners to motivate and inspire you.
Home: Seattle, Washington
How did you get into orienteering? My friend from high school, Holly Kuestner, told me about orienteering and invited me to come to one of the WIOL (local school league) meets. I went, and after spending at least 5 minutes hiding behind a tree near the start just trying to orient my map, I enjoyed the rest of the course. I went to all the local meets that season, and after my ﬁrst A-meet (an Interscholastics championship), I was hooked.
What changes to your training have you made over the past year to make you more successful? I'm trying to focus more on physical training this year since that's easier in the Bay Area (there are lots of hilly trail running opportunities). I've found some groups of people to do intervals and strength training with, and that's been important for me because having people to motivate me during workouts helps me push harder.
Home: Sudbury, Massachusetts / Oslo, Norway
Do you have any pre-race rituals? One physical ritual that I like to do is to run 1cm pickups or strides. That is, if the map for the competition is printed at a scale of 1:10,000 then I run 100m strides several times during the warmup (I usually use paces to estimate). Similarly, if it's 1:4000, 40m pickups are in order. This means I have quicker/shorter pickups for the larger scales (which are usually sprints), and slower/longer pickups for the smaller scales. I will also try and pick up a target in the distance that I think is "1cm" away and see how close I am. These pickups add structure to my warmup, help calibrate my eyes, brain, and legs to the scale, and get my focus in the right place.
Home: Cambridge, Massachusetts
What event/s have you been to that were really special for you? This past August I went to Scotland to spectate WOC and run in the Scottish 6 Day event. It was really fun to support the American seniors and inspiring to watch Emma Waddington race in the sprint. I ran one of the best races of my career on Day Three of the competition at Darnaway, ending up as first in my age category. That experience gave me a taste of what it is like to be a successful, competitive orienteer outside of the U.S.
Home: Alma Center, Wisconsin
Home: Philadelphia, PA. Currently Moralzarzal, Spain
What changes to your training have you made over the past year to make you more successful? This past year I have acquired a coach to direct my training and advise my correction of errors. This coupled with an effective error analysis has really elevated my navigational ability to a more elite status.
What terrain suits you the best? I love wide open forests with fine technical details. This is a terrain you can often find in Spain and I have often had my best races on these types of maps.
What is the best part of being part of the National Team? By far the best part is being a representative for the sport. It’s not often that people see someone with a USA jacket and it often arouses questions. Also, being part of a national team often creates a certain amount of respect in most people; this helps the sport to grow and become more visible. A sport with a national team is usually a serious endeavor.
What is your favorite type of training session? A mass-start Night-O… classic distance of course. For me this is one of the ultimate expressions of orienteering skill. The nerves, the limited visibility, the route choices. It packs into one training session most of what I love about this sport.
Year of birth: 1991
Occupation: PhD Student in Medical Physics
Clubs: Cambridge Sports Union; O'Jura (France)
International experience: JWOC 2011; WUOC 2014; WOC 2012, 2014-15
What event/s have you been to that were really special for you? O-Ringen 2008 in Dalarna was the first time I made it to a Scandinavian O-race (or any international O-race for the matter), and it was an incredible experience. More than 24,000 runners were signed up to run in one of the most wonderful forest areas of the country, and it made me so happy to find out for the first time that so many other people in the world love the same sport I love. I haven't been back to O-Ringen since then, but this experience always stays with me and positively influences my daily trainings. Plus O-Ringen 2016 will be in Dalarna again, and I am already making plans to be present.
Home: Seattle, Washington
What are you focusing on in your training this year? I’m continuing to focus mostly on my aerobic base training this year. Endurance will be especially important, since I was selected again to run the long distance at World Champs, and I feel like I have some unfinished business after my bonk in last year's WOC long race. I have always had a fairly high VO2max relative to my aerobic capacity, so I think emphasizing aerobic training may give me the best training effect, even if it means not quite as much strength training or as many intervals.
Which of your recent races were most meaningful to you? That's a hard choice, since I've very much enjoyed and put a lot of myself into so many wonderful events lately. The 2014 U.S. Relay Champs was especially meaningful for me, since it was the first time that my club, Cascade Orienteering Club, won the race outright (although some of my clubmates have taken gold in the higher point categories.) WOC is always a good–to–great experience, and I would say 2014 in Italy was at the "great" end of the spectrum, as it was my first time running the long distance final, which I have dreamed of doing for years. Having a strong run in the sprint relay and helping the U.S. bring home the Björn Kjellström cup again at the North American Champs was tremendously satisfying, although my own forest races—notably the long—were a good reminder that my game sometimes needs sharpening. Racing in Kentucky at the 2015 U.S. Champs and Team Trials was great fun, and I was happy overall with how I ran.
Home: Williston, Vermont
What terrain suits you best? What I love about orienteering is that it takes me places all around the world, and I develop a great appreciation of how different the landscape, forests, and terrains are in different regions. It’s almost impossible to compare orienteering in Finland to a race in Croatia because the vegetation, mapping, and navigation are so different. Everywhere I go there are different challenges which require different skills.
My job as an orienteer is to be able to perform at my best in all types of terrain. If I can only run a good race on one map nestled in the corner of Vermont, I’m probably not going to perform very well at a big race in Italy or Sweden. That said, I’m not a perfect orienteer, and I do have my own strengths and weaknesses which are highlighted in some events due to the terrain.
Home: Watertown, New York
What changes to your training have you made over the past year to make you more successful? Recently I have worked on increasing my speed and endurance in road/trail racing to increase my speed in the woods.
What event/s have you been to that were really special for you? The Hudson Highlander and the West Point National Event are really special events to me. The West Point National Event because of how much time I spent on it as a cadet and the amount of knowledge gained through the process that vastly helped my orienteering. The Hudson Highlander because it is a great combination of speed, endurance, and metal fortitude in Harriman State Park. The course is one of the single most important events to get me hooked on orienteering.
Home: Seattle, Washington
What is the best part of being part of the National Team? Though the team may be spread thin geographically, it's great to be a part of the cohesive whole, experience the team atmosphere, and have the spoken or unspoken connection, even with those team members you might not know well, of working with a group of intelligent, motivated people toward common goals.
Home: Washington, D.C.
What terrain suits you the best? I really enjoy highly technical terrain with a lot of contour detail and good runnability. I could run in Harriman State Park, Pawtuckaway, or Lake Moreau every day for a long time and not get bored. The thrill of maintaining contact with the map at high speed through complex terrain and spiking a control is one of the most enjoyable parts of orienteering for me.
Home: Basel, Switzerland
What are your aspirations in orienteering? Have a long term vision for yourself: where do you want to be in a year or two years or five years? Develop a strategy to achieve that vision, and test your strategy. Ask questions, but look to yourself for the answers.
Home: Boston, Massachusetts
What are your aspirations in orienteering? My athletic experience is not extensive; I rowed crew for a year in college and have tried to mold myself into a distance runner as part of my orienteering. However, I am very competitive and ambitious. It's not realistic to think that I could win a world championship, but there are many degrees of success. I want to race against the very best in the U.S. and world, to represent the U.S. at the World Championships, and to find out how good I can become.
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes? Train hard, intelligently, and consistently. Orienteering is a unique combination of skills, requiring speed, endurance, strength, concentration, problem solving, and ability to perform under pressure. A regular distance running training regimen is critical, as is time spent thinking about and working on orienteering problems. Ideally, all our training would be specific — running in the woods; running on maps. Training to orienteer well is much like learning to play a musical instrument. Each skill must be practiced repetitively in isolation and in combination.
Home: Uppsala, Sweden
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes? My advice to aspiring athletes is to stay motivated, any way you can. I think the best way to stay motivated is to train with other people, so do your best to ﬁnd a group or if none exists, start a group. If you need a good group of people to train with, move (or just visit) to Boston and join one of the most active orienteering scenes in terms of training in the U.S.
Most memorable orienteering experience? The best race in my orienteering career is one that I lost. It was a head-to-head orienteering competition with my wife at our wedding. A special map of the tent and dinner tables was drawn and our courses wove in and out of the guests and required picking up accessories at each control. There was a photo booth control too, so we have a spectacular souvenir of us outfitted with all of the beads, and glasses, boas and other nonsense.
Home: Bethesda, Maryland
What event/s have you been to that were really special for you? Running the 17km night leg for CSU at 10Mila last year was epic. It was a long cold night without sleep, but the atmosphere and camaraderie were really great!
Home: Woodstock, Georgia
How did you get into orienteering? I was introduced to orienteering when I was 13 by my dad. I took to the sport pretty quickly and entered my first competition, the Georgia Navigator Cup, soon after. For the next few years I ran pretty much exclusively in Georgia and slowly got better at the sport. In 2013 I was the first alternate for the Junior team and competed for two months in various races across Europe. The next year I made the team and competed in Bulgaria after a month of training with the team in Finland. I’ve backed off a bit for the past year in order to focus on college, but I’m looking to get back into competition.
Home: Kristiansand, Norway
What event/s have you been to that were really special for you? The most fun races last year probably were the American [U.S.] Championship, Jukola, and the middle qualification in JWOC. Even though my shape in the American Championship was just OK, the technical part was on point, and I felt like I was in charge the whole time. It was the same in Jukola. I ran second leg and started running in 250th position, but by just running safe without mistakes, I changed over in 140th position. The middle qualification in JWOC was a bit different. I started running high speed and was in the lead at the second control, but I was too crazy, and ran faster than I could orienteer. I ended up barely making the A-final, and that was a really good feeling.
What terrain suits you the best? Terrain similar to Kristiansand. A lot of change in direction and quite demanding terrain. Probably the type of terrain that most orienteers dislike. It is very similar to Strømstad where WOC is held this year.
What is the best part of being part of the National Team? It is a really good motivation to train hard because you want to perform for your teammates in relays.
Who is your "O" idol? I have a teammate in KOK, Gaute Friestad, who is really good in sprint, but also a fast runner in the woods. That is always my goal to improve in both these diciplines.