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Discussion: US WUOC Team Announced

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 6, 2016 2:14 AM # 
Congratulations to the following university students who have been selected to represent OUSA at the World University O Championships. The event will be held in Miskolc, Hungary on July 30 – August 4.
Addie Nolan (QOC)
Rachael Wolfe (USMAOC)
Tori Borish (COC)
Alison Campbell (DVOA, EUOC - Scotland)
Isabel Bryant (CSU)
Evalin Brautigam (WCOC) 1st alt.

Austin Fowler (GAOC)
Nicholas Ives (USMAOC)
Giacomo Barbone (CSU, O'Jaro - France)
Michael Laraia (MNOC)

Selection was based upon results from the Intercollegiate O Champs held at the Flying Pig last weekend and from petitions.
Apr 6, 2016 11:46 PM # 
Congratulations to all and good luck
Apr 7, 2016 1:19 PM # 
Congrats, you guys! Good luck out there.
Apr 10, 2016 4:53 PM # 
New lineup for the US Women's Team:
Rachael Wolfe (USMAOC)
Tori Borish (COC)
Alison Campbell (DVOA, EUOC - Scotland)
Isabel Bryant (CSU)
Evalin Brautigam (WCOC)
Apr 11, 2016 4:34 AM # 
According to the OUSA Rules of Competition (specifically rule G.1.8.2), the top 3 men and top 3 women at the IC champs are automatically selected to the WUOC team. Only two women ran at the trials this year and both were selected (now Addie apparently declined, unfortunately). However on the men's side only the top two from the trials have been named to the team. Shouldn't Jett DiPalma (USMAOC) also be on the team? If any of those three decline, the next down the scoring list should be offered a spot. Too bad there weren't more women running at the IC champs.

G.1.8.2 The U.S. WUOC Team shall be determined in part at the U.S. Intercollegiate Championships prior to the WUOC by automatically selecting the top three men and top three women from among the eligible competitors on the Intercollegiate Varsity course. Any additional men and women and alternates shall be selected by a WUOC Team Selection Committee appointed by the Senior Team Executive Steering Committee and based upon the selection policy set forth by the ESC.

[I've looked through the BOD meeting minutes back to the beginning of 2014 and didn't see anything about WUOC selection rules changes or waivers].

Also, Linda, who were the ESC appointed members of this year's WUOC Team Selection Committee?
Apr 11, 2016 11:43 PM # 
USMAOC sent an updated list of who can and can't go to WUOC. To my knowledge, both Rachel and Nick cannot. We have plenty of runners who are ready and willing to go in place of those who cannot due to military training.

Will updated lists reflect these changes soon?
Apr 21, 2016 2:52 AM # 
Linda, what's the status of this? By rule there should be 2 cadets on the men's WUOC team. Did you receive the list that Hans mentioned?

And can you please list the names of the members of the WUOC Team Selection Committee that considered the petitions? I see no reason why this shouldn't be public information. In fact, it should have been published before the selection races took place.

Given that a sitting member of the ESC has been named to the WUOC team by petition without competing in the selection races (Giacomo), the ESC's unwillingness to provide the names of the selection committee members is suspect. Was there actually a selection committee or did the ESC itself review the petitions and make the selections?
Apr 26, 2016 1:18 AM # 
Don't want to add fuel to the fire, but I second a call for transparency.
Apr 28, 2016 2:51 AM # 
WUOC Selection Committee: Linda Kohn, Peggy Dickison, Erin Schirm.
Apr 29, 2016 6:49 PM # 
All three are ESC members, including the Chair. Is it really appropriate for the Chair to name herself and her fellow Executive Steering Committee members to a team Selection Committee or Review Panel (which I presume the ESC itself and VP Comp subsequently approved), and that Selection Committee then names another fellow ESC member (Giacomo) to the WUOC team by petition?

I can't think of a better example of a conflict of interest than this. As a result, I'm going to ask that Giacomo be removed from the named WUOC team. I'll also ask (for the third time now) that the ESC Chair abide by the OUSA rules of competition - specifically rule G.1.8.2 - and name the first two available cadets from the IC scoring list to the places they earned on the WUOC team at the selection races.
Apr 29, 2016 8:58 PM # 
A lot of the time people double job on committees due to a lack of volunteers stepping forward.
Given the lambasting here, I can now see why.

It's great to see people on the elite teams give back to their sport. Looking quickly through the esc list of names, it appears as if almost every year someone on the committee gets selected to run internationally!
Apr 30, 2016 1:04 AM # 
@Eddie, sorry that you have not been privileged to all that has occurred with the WUOC team. The first 2 automatic selections were named to the team, one GAOC member and one cadet who had to decline. The rest of the positions were filled based upon intercollegiate results and petitions. We are still working on the final team roster based upon who is available. Regardless of what you consider a conflict of interest, your demand to remove Giacomo cannot be considered. Please file a formal grievance if you feel that this needs further scrutiny.
Apr 30, 2016 6:11 AM # 
The rules say only that the top three must be selected to the team. If they decline, the selection committee has discretion in choosing the alternates. They are not required to continue selecting from the IC results. So if Jet DiPalma can attend, he absolutely should get a spot. But if he cannot attend, then the selection committee can use whatever criteria they desire to name a replacement.
May 2, 2016 3:22 PM # 
The rules actually don't say one way or another what should be done in the case of athletes at the top of the IC scoring list declining WUOC berths. This is what the rule says (from G.1.8.2 above):

Any additional men and women and alternates shall be selected by a WUOC Team Selection Committee appointed by the Senior Team Executive Steering Committee and based upon the selection policy set forth by the ESC.

First, I would take this to mean any team appointments made *in addition* to the three selected via the scoring list. I've looked for a posted selection policy for this year's WUOC team and I'm unable to find anything. I've looked at the obvious location in the WUOC area on the OUSA website. The 2014 policy is there, but there's nothing for 2016. Was a 2016 policy posted somewhere?

Granted the rules also say:

...automatically selecting the top three men and top three women from among the eligible competitors on the Intercollegiate Varsity course.

Literally this would mean including all athletes running in the IC champs, including those who never intended to go to WUOC but were still eligible to race for themselves and their club in the IC champs. Should we have asked them to sit out the ICs in deference to the WUOC candidates?
May 2, 2016 3:29 PM # 
Eddie what's your deal. None of the athletes affected are complaining
May 3, 2016 2:28 AM # 
Eddie what's your deal. None of the athletes affected are complaining

I can't speak for eddie, I don't know any of the athletes in question, and I've never been competitive enough to make an elite team.

That said, I think it is simply a matter of principle, transparency, and objective standards that everyone understands. Maybe or maybe not for this selection, but removing all doubt going forward.

Given the, IMHO, present subjective selection environment for elite teams in general, no athlete in their right mind would complain, even if they felt justifiably aggrieved. The lack of observed complaints does not imply lack of grievance; in fact it is to be completely expected in a subjective selection environment. (And, IMHO, one more reason a subjective selection environment is unhealthy; add that one to my observations and suggestion I made on the senior team list a few months ago).
May 3, 2016 2:55 AM # 
May 3, 2016 9:00 PM # 
Any e-mail I got or posts about IC and WUOC read the top two selected I thought for this year. As I had a look at the entry list before putting in my petition to see what the likelyhood of me going were.

I agree transparency is needed, but most have never cared about the WUOC team before. Being every two years it is hard to raise funds for and it isn't seen as on the same level as JWOC or WOC which get the committees fuller attention. I therefore want to thank linda and the selection committee for coming together and sorting the team out for this year. Again going above and beyond to ensure we get to race.
May 4, 2016 2:58 AM # 
Well, Linda deserves thanks for more than that. I mean she seems to be leading the fund raising effort too!---not to mention what she does for the senior team too.

It's been said that "no good deed goes unpunished". Maybe this is applicable here??
May 4, 2016 5:54 AM # 
The link Andrea posted above is to a message in the USOFclubnet listserver message archive. I'm not on clubnet myself and this message didn't go out on my club's list either, but I was able to get a copy of it today. It was indeed a posting of the ESC's 2016 WUOC selection policy. Here is the clubnet message and the .docx file that was attached to it:


It was posted to clubnet on Mar 24 - one week before the selection races and two days after registration for the event closed.
May 4, 2016 4:46 PM # 
Well, that does appear to contradict rule G.1.8.2.
May 4, 2016 4:55 PM # 
I'm going to again point out that Linda is doing WAY more than she I believe signed up for and things are getting done as they can. It isn't maybe what the rules say, but unless someone is willing to step up and help instead of complain this is the best that is going to happen. All the athletes I have spoken to are happy and trying our best to help Linda any way we can. So please can we give Linda one less thing to read and instead help her out?
May 4, 2016 5:34 PM # 
It isn't maybe what the rules say, but unless someone is willing to step up and help instead of complain this is the best that is going to happen.

I'm willing to step up and conduct the process in accordance with the rules. Looking over the documents and the rules in question, it doesn't look so hard.

It's been said that "no good deed goes unpunished". Maybe this is applicable here??

I'm not sure that cliches are apt here. I think cliches are things people say when they don't have a rational argument, otherwise they would just present a rational argument rather than cliches, wouldn't they :). Well, at least I would. That is JMO, of course.

There is actually a point to a rules-based, process-based, objectively-based selection process that everyone understands and works under. As I suggested previously, perhaps there was not a failure in fact here, perhaps there was, but in the long run and on average, objective, rule-based processes provide fairer outcomes and less recrimination than subjective, rule-ignoring-rule-by-fiat ones.
May 4, 2016 11:11 PM # 
Pasted from the US orienteering team website:

U.S. Orienteering Team ESC (Executive Steering Committee) members are elected by the members of the U.S. Orienteering Team, usually at Team meetings at major U.S. events, and sometimes via the email list,

If you would like to step up and help make our process more rules-based, process-based, and objectively-based, then please, by all means, run for a seat on the steering committee. They can always use more motivated and principled individuals.

Otherwise, no amount of argumentation on attackpoint, no matter how eloquent, is going to change anything. Our volunteers are overworked, under budgeted, and criticized at every turn. It's a miracle anything gets done.
May 5, 2016 2:25 AM # 
Izzy B:
+100 Michael
May 5, 2016 4:07 PM # 
Being a volunteer, even an overworked one, is not a license to
violate the rules or otherwise act unethically, whether its accidental or
deliberate. I'm simply asking that all athletes be treated uniformly and fairly and that things be put right.
May 5, 2016 4:57 PM # 
If you would like to step up and help make our process more rules-based, process-based, and objectively-based, then please, by all means, run for a seat on the steering committee.

I've actually previously served on the ESC, so I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. In those days, the process was exactly as I described, based almost exclusively on race results. Race results went into a pair of algorithms (the ranking list algorithm and the scoring list algorithm), and those algorithms were transparently described, Even source code was available to the seriously interested, tho it was not necessary in order to understand the process. Petitions were for extreme cases, such as a death in the family, an unexpected short-term illness that prevented TT attendance, extreme travel hardships or financial hardships, and similar events beyond the control of the athlete. The attitude then was that the benefit of the doubt went to those who could race, not to those who could write.

Then, it was not a vector to game the system. Now, I feel that it is. And, as I said, I do not know any of the athletes, and do not know which of them were selected via subjective processes by a board who may or may not be conflicted, by a board who may have not followed the written OUSA rules (for whatever reason; are you simply allowed to ignore the written OUSA rules?), or who were selected objectively. Moreover, I have never been denied a spot on an elite team when I felt I deserved it.

So this is not personal for me. Its about principle. Its about race results, and the pressure to obtain them on race day, deciding elite rosters in a transparent way, and not about having a handful of people read blogs and petitions and training logs and making subjective decisions.

BTW. I have also been offered a seat on the ESC since my previous service, but under the present attitude on subjective elite team selection. I declined. While I will reiterate my offer to volunteer running elite selection processes in accordance with the OUSA rules (which apparently someone needs to do, and I don't believe you have to be on the ESC to do that), the real point of my post was that the "volunteer bashing" argument is a red herring, distracting us from the real issue here.

JMHO of course.
May 5, 2016 6:28 PM # 
If the concern is about application of the rules and procedures, there's a procedure for that (see above). Principles are important, as is the topic of subjective versus objective criteria, but I think that it may be time to address the topics in ways other than an internet forum, such as grievance, seeking rule or policy changes, etc.
May 5, 2016 9:54 PM # 
I'm not on clubnet myself

...or this discussion might not have happened?
May 6, 2016 2:46 PM # 
Alison, you mentioned getting an e-mail with the selection criteria. Can you tell me what list that was sent to and the date please? Thanks.
May 6, 2016 3:52 PM # 
First info from ESC on AP for WUOC 2016 was Dec. 26, 2015
May 6, 2016 5:09 PM # 
The selection criteria is not posted there (in either post).
May 6, 2016 9:37 PM # 
If the concern is about application of the rules and procedures, there's a procedure for that (see above).

Which sort of asks one to accept a sort of Godelian reasoning; use procedures when the procedures themselves are under question. I get that few will understand the allusion or read the quote above carefully, and that's fine with me. Its not pure Godel, but the allusion sets the frame of mind, at least IMHO.

I think that it may be time to address the topics in ways other than an internet forum, such as grievance, seeking rule or policy changes, etc.

This one less fine with me. After my previous comments, it was suggested that I run for the ESC. I simply did that in the past, and simply responded to that, describing that experience. Now, after that perfectly executed and lucid response, I'm being asked to do different things (translation "shut up"). At no point does anyone address the underlying material issues, like the fact that writing one's way onto a team is different than racing one's way onto a team, forget the putative rules violations (that may or may not favor the former), if any.

So, I'll spell it out, and then y'all can ask me to shut up in some different sort of way cause y'all certainly are not gonna respond to this (if experience is a guide, anyway) --

Choosing races at your convenience and then writing about them is materially different that racing on a proscribed date at a proscribed place against your competition.

I get that juniors have a hard life. I get that college students have a hard life. I get that young adults have a hard life. I've been all of these things, and my life was hard thru all these phases. Its still hard. I empathize with all that, but that is not the game. The game is about showing up on race day, as announced well in advance, and showing superior performance, not skipping that race and writing about other races, and hoping for favor among some nameless board that may or may not have followed the rules.

So that's that. I'll shut up now. And, BTW, I think "internet forums" are the best venue for this sort of commentary.
May 7, 2016 2:23 AM # 
And look up the definition of "proscribed".
May 7, 2016 3:09 AM # 
I was gonna stay away from this post, but now you've got me riled up all over again.

I apologize, randy, that I didn't do my research about you before responding last time, I didn't realize that you served on the ESC in the past, so my comment previous was out of place.

But my primary issue with this conversation is how completely out of place it is. You and Eddie are bringing moot a supposed issue neither of you have any personal stake in. Neither of you are affected by this issue, and neither of you have any of your own grievances in the matter.

If Jett DiPalma, Michael Bruce, Daniel OConor or anyone else going down the scoring list feels the rules were violated and they should rightfully have a spot on the team, then they should file a formal grievance with the selection committee. If the results of that process still leave them feeling duped, then they can raise their grievances in a public way if they so desire.

Furthermore I would also like to point out that we, as mere observers of the selection process, do not know what conversations the committee had with the athletes at the top of the scoring list. We do not know who declared eligibility, we do not know who declined a spot on the team, and we sure don’t have any right to that private Information.

The general trend in this thread has the athletes coming out in defense of the process and the volunteers, and the older grouchy gentlemen are coming out guns blazing in supposed defense of the rights of the disenfranchised youth. Who appointed you Attorney General of the orienteering community?

I understand that you see a deviation from the published rules with regard to the selection committees handling of this year’s WUOC team selection. OUSA doesn’t engage in policy discussions on attackpoint. They do so at board meetings and in official email communications. Seeing that the board is in charge of enforcing its rules, it would probably be more effective to take your grievances with the process to the board than to the internet mob that is attackpoint.

The nameless board that may or may not have followed the rules is not actually nameless. They are the WUOC team selection committee, and its members are Linda Kohn, Erin Schirm, and Peggy Dickinson, and they were appointed to their positions in a fairly democratic process. The OUSA board of directors are elected at the Annual General Meeting by proxy vote through each club, and the ESC members are elected by the team members they are steering. Therefore, the selection committee members are on equal democratic footing as, say, the POTUS cabinet. Or the Senate of our nation’s government before the 17th amendment. These are the people we democratically appointed to handle the official functions of the team, and they in turn put their appointed the selection committee members, putting their faith in the committee to fairly and legitimately select the next WUOC team.

This thread is an embarrassment for the US orienteering community. People across the country are looking at this thread and collectively shaking their heads as another conversation turns into a hot-headed argument. People all over the globe are watching this thread and shaking their heads in astonishment at how incompetent the Americans are being. As we derail this thread in the name of principal, we are made to look like a bunch of bigoted, immoral, harangers trying to push a personal and unrelated agenda.

And don't you dare belittle me or anyone else for petitioning our way onto the team. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I've dedicated the last six months of my life to improving myself overseas with some of the best orienteers in the world. I wasn't about to rebook my flights home when the WUOC team selection races were announced. My petition wasn't about circumventing the system and cheat someone else out of a team spot. There is endless evidence in my favor against all the athletes who attended the selection races. We are a big country with a small orienteering population and an ocean separating us from the figurative Mecca of orienteering. The petitioning process is essential to giving our best athletes, the Sam Saegers, the Jordan Laughlins, and the Sandra Lauensteins of our community, the flexibility they need to actually improve themselves in orienteering. You speak of principles, but how fair is it to put significant financial barriers in the way of our most experienced athletes? The competitor field at US selection races simply isn’t deep enough to justify requiring attendance with an iron fist if it prevents the best from attending.


On a more sober note, everyone please check out our fundraising challenge over here if you’ve been inspired by rhetoric in this thread, or even if you’ve been turned cynical because of this thread. The junior team funds were cut this year, so we need all the help we can get.
May 7, 2016 3:43 AM # 
Would it help if I simply said that Jett DiPalma, Mike Bruce, and Daniel O'Conor cannot attend the competition due to military training / duties that take precedence? In fact, Mike reports to the Coast Guard Academy for his exchange semester, Jett will attend SERE school, and Dan has a leadership detail at the academy. They're not upset or disgruntled; they're simply too busy to care.

We communicated this in a list of availability and intercollegiates performance, which we sent to Linda and the committee. No complaints there.

That said, Michael Laraia and Giacomo Barbone are the most qualified people selected for WUOC as of now, and they got it through petition. I'd argue we should be discussing how to get more college athletes interested in WUOC, and how to improve the selection competition, rather than picking apart each other. And I say this as the Captain of USMAOC, which will field three WUOC athletes - no partiality just pro USA.
May 7, 2016 7:44 AM # 
Here here to both Michael and Hans!!!! Couldn't have said it better myself.

A proud Scottish based USA athlete. I've spent five years training my guts out here with support from my university I wouldn't have gotten from the states colleges. But either I hope more students take Advantage of training and studying abroad like michael said or better yet as Hans did, get more students in the USA racing. Then maybe then the universities will notice and support us, with team trials better attended. (And for the record in some petitions it was say the British university champs that was the main race considered, a race used for another countries selection that was part of the support to the petition. Still had to show up and race hard at a certain time and place, a few weekends before the USA one. A race also that required attendance for scholarship from university.)
Either way I'm NOT ok with the comments that have been made about the wuoc team with our already depleted numbers eligible.
May 8, 2016 2:05 AM # 
@ "Michael",

Here in heartland of America, unlike in some of those aristocratic places -- Monte-Carlo, Baden -Baden --or wherever you chose to engage in self-improvement, we live by the set rules, and I can easily imagine that those who chose to take part in the trial race would be going to be selected to the national team, over those "everyone knows how great I am bluh-bluh.".type

the selection committee members are on equal democratic footing as, say, the POTUS cabinet...

This comparison totally kills your argument.

PS: One a more sober note, for 20 years old, your writing is a bit unusual, lets put it this way
May 8, 2016 6:58 AM # 
The central tension seems to lie in the area of objective vs subjective. There are many examples from other federations that use purely objective criteria, purely subjective criteria, or a mixture of both. I believe it is a controversial subject everywhere. Worthy of debate, and AP is a worthy forum for debating such topics. The challenge is to have the debate in a way that is respectful.

As long the policy of a federation does allow for petitions, I think athletes should not be chastised for availing themselves of that avenue. Let us support all of our athletes. I fully believe that those who advocate for a change to a less subjective method do not mean to have their criticism of the system come across as personal attacks, but at times the frustrations aimed at the petitions and the process land squarely on the petitioners themselves.

We can all do our part to reduce the collateral damage. If you will write something critical, think through how it might be received. If you have read a post which is critical and take offense, try to look past the offense and give the benefit of the doubt (wherever possible).

To all those talented runners who will be racing in Miskolc enjoy the amazing terrain!
May 8, 2016 9:43 AM # 
Thank you Ross! This post almost redeemed this wretchedly highjacked thread.
May 8, 2016 6:17 PM # 
Evalin B:
"I can easily imagine that those who chose to take part in the trial race would be going to be selected to the national team, over those "everyone knows how great I am bluh-bluh."

The majority of the West Point guys who declined their spots because of prior engagements, went to partake because they wanted to and are part of an intercollegiate team. Also, the two girls who were the only ones in ICVF were not planning on going to WUOC, ever. So they were in fact, not choosing to partake in the trials for the purpose of the team.
May 8, 2016 9:08 PM # 
Thank you, Ross!

May 9, 2016 4:56 AM # 
Ross for president
May 9, 2016 10:28 AM # 
Ross's comment is so important here.

Selection is a terrible business. We had a much more subjective procedure in the UK, where i repeatedly lost out. I was an extremely consistent junior - almost always third, very rarely at the top. I consistently lost out to those who would be 1st one day and 12th the next. Under the US criteria I'd have been a clear pick, under subjective criteria, I never was.

There was one way to make myself a sure pick - to train myself to a consistent first, not a consistent third.

What I'm trying to say is that rigorous structures can work, subjective structures can work. But whatever the system, the only solution for the athlete is to make themselves a no-brainer pick. The best way to do that is to turn up to the appropriate Team Trials and kick ass. A petition is a risk, especially for a Junior like Michael who has improved so immensely over the course of the last year. And while petitions are allowed, we cannot castigate the athletes for using them. Michael could get on three US teams this year, and the reason this is a possibility is that he's spent the whole of the last year in Switzerland on a low paid job improving his orienteering. Expecting him to get to all TTs is a lot to ask, especially when the ones he has attended have been an unmitigated success. (Sorry to use you as an example Michael, I know you can take it :) )

Other athletes have likely lost out through petitions in past years too - I think Alison would have run herself onto the Senior Team earlier had she attended trials, but her university timetable didn't allow it. She chose to prioritise school, which is a very wise choice in a sport that doesn't provide good career options.

I don't think this is very coherent as I'm more jetlagged than I would like to be. I think my point is that while petitions exist, we can't get angry with the athletes for petitioning. Especially while they're actively working on approach number one for selection - get yourself into number 1 position, and then no one can argue.
May 10, 2016 10:34 PM # 
anyone have maps Miskolc to share with the WUOC Team?
May 10, 2016 10:41 PM # 
May 12, 2016 2:41 AM # 
Hans, at the end of your post on May 6 you mentioned something about fielding three WUOC athletes. Have more cadets been added to the team?
May 12, 2016 12:49 PM # 
Linda posted the updated list to the Clubnet yesterday, and I've updated the OUSA announcement. (see News)

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