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Discussion: US WOC Team Automatic Qualifiers

in: 40th Annual West Point National Meet (Apr 27–28, 2019 - West Point, NY, US)

Apr 28, 2019 7:16 PM # 
The US Team Trials held at West Point concluded today, and we can now announce the athletes that qualified for the Team by finishing first or second in Saturday’s Middle, first in today’s Long, and/or earned a personal start in last summer’s NAOC.
Men: Anton Salmonkyla (personal start, Middle)
Morten Jorgensen (personal start in Long; 2nd in TT Middle, 1st in TT Long)
Greg Ahlswede (1st in Middle)
Women: Ali Crocker (personal start in Long)
Sydney Fisher (1st in TT Middle, 1st in TT Long)
Pavlina Brautigam (2nd in TT Middle)

Pavlina has declined her position.
The Review Panel will determine the remaining athletes for the Team and who will run which race(s). The full Team announcement will be in one week.
Peggy Dickison, Review Panel
Apr 28, 2019 8:53 PM # 
Just curious about how this works: was Pavlina trying out for the team or not? If she declined the berth, that sounds like she wasn't, in which case wouldn't somebody else get the spot for finishing second in the Middle?
Apr 28, 2019 8:59 PM # 
She signed up for the TT class. We (Tori C) reached out to athletes to get their intent re actually competing for a WOC spot. Since P signed up late I don’t know if that happened in her case, but she told me if she had won she would have gone. But I don’t really know.
Apr 28, 2019 9:18 PM # 
OK. Interesting that these days, the Team Trials ends up picking one man (Greg) and one woman (Sydney).
Apr 29, 2019 12:32 AM # 
The trials serve as a basis for selecting the remainder of the team. There also several petitions so still lots of decisions to be made.
Apr 29, 2019 12:36 AM # 
Understood. It's just that it's rather different from the old days when there were three automatic slots each for men and women, and then in between when it was basically all automatically determined by team trials performances (with a few possible exceptions). I'm not intending for this comment to be taken as negative, by the way, I'm just making the observation that things are different than they used to be.
Apr 29, 2019 1:07 AM # 
@jjcote long read, but worthwhile reading:, and that whole switch to Forest/Urban WOC thing can't be making it easier on a selection committee, having to have 2 sets of selection criteria in the future.
Apr 29, 2019 1:25 AM # 
We also have fewer starts at WOC than we used to have. 3 in the relay, 3 in the middle quali, 1 in the long, for a total of 7 (easily covered with 3 people). In the "old days" of qualis at WOC for both long and middle, and relays with 4 (instead of 3), we had a lot more slots. Last year we had 1 long, 1 middle, 3 forest relay, 2 sprint relay and 2 sprint, for a total of 9.

So, it makes sense that there are fewer automatic selections, if there are fewer total slots and potentially fewer runners needed.
Apr 29, 2019 2:36 AM # 
I am outraged to learn that Americans now are given fewer spots at WOC than before. Lawyers should look carefully for possible discrimination/unfairness, and if
any is found, people responsible need to be placed under sanctions, with their assets frozen.
Apr 29, 2019 9:54 AM # 
Yurets, are you saying that you want to make American orienteering great again?
Apr 29, 2019 3:14 PM # 
Gordhun, that would be an impossible task. American Millennials simply do not possess the required problem-solving skills to maintain the current level of orienteering (saying nothing about their critical thinking).
Apr 29, 2019 3:16 PM # 
Shut the &*&% up Yurets.

Edit: Seriously. If you don't have anything good to say just please go away. This should be a time where we celebrate the performances of the US and Cdn team. Not a time for blatant attacks.

I know I'm not the only one that wants to say this and yeah I'm feeding the troll but our sport is much friendlier than this.
Apr 29, 2019 4:32 PM # 
Apr 29, 2019 4:45 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Attackpoint enhancement suite courtesy of Cristina
Apr 29, 2019 6:43 PM # 
@ Hammer et al --- follow your own advice.

I did edit my second post a bit to accommodate the sensitive types. It is an obvious joke, following the style of the above post by gordhun.

Re my first post --- I stand by it. I knew you would not like it before I posted it.
Yes it was (you got it right) a reference to the culture (which I despise) of using lawyers and international organizations (such as WADA) to reverse the outcomes of lost competitions, and --more generally--the culture of bullying other countries, by shoving down their throats the "pure and precious" democracy CAN type. It is neither trolling nor discourtesy to anyone. You are confusing me with &*&% who spew hate in their personal blogs.
Apr 29, 2019 6:53 PM # 
The internet is great.

I can find out I made the WOC team and learn that I have no problem-solving skills in the same thread.
Apr 29, 2019 9:16 PM # 
I have many times in recent years written a "really great AP post" and then read it over a time or two, and deleted it without clicking Add to Discussion. This time I'm going to click because it's probably something that more people need to consider trying.

In particular, telling someone to shut the &*&% up, because our sport is much friendlier than this just seems self-contradictory at best.

Yurets, as fun as millennial-bashing might be, boomers do need to think a little further ahead. I can only imagine the possible outcome when some future bored nursing home attendant asks Alexa or her descendant to read him/her excerpts from your AP posts.
Apr 29, 2019 9:30 PM # 
Congrats to Sydney, Pavlina, Greg and Morten for earning automatic spots this weekend! Sounds like the long was a great race and I'm so sad to have missed it.

Neat to see the US team shape up and eagerly await the final team + race assignments next weekend!
Apr 29, 2019 10:30 PM # 
As another remote spectator, the races and terrain look like they were excellent! Congratulations to the 2019 WOC team and Anton, Morten, Gswede, AliC, Sydney, and Pavlina!! I'm eager to the rest of the team composition. Thanks to the review panel and the organizers for making everything run smoothly!
Apr 29, 2019 11:07 PM # 
I sent some comments via Jon Campbell regarding the M21E Long course, but the main point of my remarks was that I thought it was quite fine, and a very worthy challenge for the Team Trials.
Apr 30, 2019 12:54 AM # 
I second this comment. I haven'y looked at all the courses but the M/F21E Long course design was very pleasant surprise.
Apr 30, 2019 1:42 AM # 
I appreciate the efforts of all involved, and I know the challenges of hosting an elite event. Just two comments.
Although the overall course design was fine, and interesting, the one leg straight across Turkey Hill Pond is not good leg design. First, the course length should be measured around the pond, which is an uncrossable feature, not sure if that was done, but any course setting program will just measure the straight line distance, so the "real" straight line is longer than advertised.
Other than the choice of N or S around the pond, most of the leg is dead running, on a really awful trail in this case. The only real navigation challenge is the last 200 meters or so.
And, although noted in the meet notes, the vegetation mapping was very out of date. Many areas in white were littered with deadfall or had big areas of barberry or sapplings about 2 m. high.
Apr 30, 2019 1:50 AM # 
Congratulations to Anton, Morten, Greg, Ali, Sydney, and Pavlina on their automatic selection!

I share the appreciation expressed for the long distance course at Turkey Mountain. It is rare in North America to get to run such a challenging and truly long course. With multiple long legs, some having distinctly different competitively-viable route choices, the course had a character distinctive from a middle or even a classic distance race. It was really epic, and I feel for the runners who weren't able to partake in the challenge, whether due to not being there, or in Gswede's case, getting injured early in the race and having to drop.

Thanks to the West Point Orienteering Team for a job well done--it was a fun, challenging, and memorable event--and to HVO and Erin Schirm for Friday's one-person relay race that served as an excellent warm-up for the weekend races.
Apr 30, 2019 2:00 AM # 
The course length for M21E, at least, did not account for going around the lake. Taking the shorter route around the south end results in a course length of a little over 14.5 km. Also, this is one of the few cases I've seen where I think it might have been faster to swim (that's also a no-no).
Apr 30, 2019 11:08 AM # 
And here we thought 14K would get us "close" to Greg's 2:20ish time on the WOC Long based on Jordan's per-km time from the last (10K) event on this map.

It is a credit to our elites that they are training for a WOC Long and that 14K + a lake and nasty vegetation wasn't enough. Well done, everyone.

It looks like we're going to have to find another big map for the next forest WOC TT...
Apr 30, 2019 11:23 AM # 
It wasn't all nasty vegetation, though. That was the one course that made it out to the area west of Long Mountain Ridge, where the forest was absolutely beautiful, the best that Harriman has to offer.
Apr 30, 2019 12:05 PM # 
Yep, good job on the long.

Deciding to stop running on Sunday wasn't a tough choice because of the team trials, but rather because I knew I was missing a challenging course in fun terrain. I'm very jealous of those who got to run the full distance.

I'll see if I can follow up on your suggestions to rerun the course, Tori. Once I'm back in fighting shape, of course.

Thanks for the event!
Apr 30, 2019 1:28 PM # 
Lol @jjcote, I did contemplate the swimming route to 4 for about half a second! Perhaps if it had been 85F and I needed to cool off. I think Greg owes it to us to swim it during his rerun.

Congrats to all the automatic qualifiers and thanks to WP and all the volunteers for a great weekend.
Apr 30, 2019 6:06 PM # 
If I lived closer, I would go back and swim the leg just to see.
Apr 30, 2019 7:47 PM # 
I know I run a lot faster than I swim so my land route was much better than swimming.
Apr 30, 2019 11:34 PM # 
I run a lot faster, too. But the length of the swim would be quite short. And the run would be significantly shortened as well.
May 1, 2019 12:52 PM # 
yeah, but what about the lake sharks?
May 1, 2019 12:54 PM # 
Good point.
May 1, 2019 1:30 PM # 
I think the swim is about 75 meters. I really am tempted to test this out. And I'm a lousy swimmer.
May 1, 2019 5:03 PM # 
where is Rosstopher when you need him?
May 1, 2019 5:31 PM # 
That would be a DQ as the lake is marked with a solid black line. This had happened to me many many moons ago...
May 1, 2019 5:42 PM # 
aaah, DON'T Swim. Seriously---don't swim. It's unlikely but, you could drown. I am serious,,,things happen. You'll have O' gear on and maybe your shoe lace will snag on a submerged branch---or maybe a hole in your O' pants snag or----???. It's not worth the risk. Wading is okay but don't swim. That is not the type of publicity that Orienteering needs.

It was years ago but I think Omaps brother drowned when taking a dip after a field checking stint. Things happen.
May 1, 2019 5:43 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I thought uncrossable was not forbidden until possibly recently. My reference is here
May 1, 2019 5:55 PM # 
Really? I admit I didn't read all of Mr Wonderfuls thread but the maps there are clearly marked OOB so obviously illegal. Is the fact that a feature is marked uncrossable make it illegal to cross? I've never swam across a lake before but I have crossed uncrossable marshes with the solid black line (not marked OOB). What about other features like uncrossable fences?
May 1, 2019 6:01 PM # 
Pink Socks:
From the latest non-sprint standard (the updated-in-2019, but inelegantly named ISOM 2017-2)

2.4 Barriers

In orienteering terrain, there may be features that are effectively impassable or uncrossable. Examples are buildings, fences, walls, high cliffs, water bodies, uncrossable marshes and very dense vegetation. There may also be features that are out-of-bounds to the competitor, that is, they shall not be crossed or entered. Examples are environmentally sensitive areas and private land.

Such features are very important for route choice and may also present a danger to the competitor. They must be clearly identifiable on the map by using very visible symbols as indicated in this specification.

In an ideal world, all features mapped using barrier symbols would be impossible to pass / cross. But nature is complex, conditions vary over time, maps have to be generalised, and the competitors do not have equal physical abilities.

This means that a feature that is mapped using a barrier symbol could turn out to be passable /crossable, but to what extent it is possible to pass / cross cannot be determined by inspecting the map.

That a feature is not mapped as impassable does not mean that it will be passable by all orienteers. It should, however, be passable by the average elite orienteer under normal conditions.
May 1, 2019 6:20 PM # 
Pink Socks:
From the IOF's 2019 Competition Rules:

17. Restricted areas and routes

17.1 Rules set by the organising Federation to protect the environment and any related instructions from the organiser shall be strictly observed by all persons connected with the event.

17.2 Out-of-bounds or dangerous areas, forbidden routes, line features that shall not be crossed, etc. shall be marked on the map. If necessary, they shall also be marked on the ground. Competitors shall not enter, follow or cross areas, routes or features drawn with the following symbols:

ISOM 520 Area that shall not be entered
ISOM 708 Out-of-bounds boundary
ISOM 709 Out-of-bounds area
ISOM 711 Out-of-bounds route

ISSOM 201 Impassable cliff
ISSOM 304.1 Impassable body of water
ISSOM 309 Impassable marsh
ISSOM 421 Impassable vegetation
ISSOM 521.1 Impassable wall
ISSOM 524 Impassable fence or railing
ISSOM 526.1 Building
ISSOM 528.1 Area with forbidden access
ISSOM 534 Impassable pipeline
ISSOM 707 Uncrossable boundary
ISSOM 709 Out-of-bounds area
ISSOM 714Temporary construction or closed area.

Note that for the remainder of 2019, ISSOM 2007 mapping standards are in effect, but starting in 2020, the new ISSprOM standards take effect.


One thing that I find interesting is now that both ISOM and ISSprOM have removed the impassable/illegal green-black symbol (421 in ISSOM, 100% green, 50% black), there will be different rules regarding 100% green (ie: standard "dark green"). On ISOM maps, standard dark green is permitted to cross. However, on ISSprOM maps, standard dark green will be illegal to cross.

From ISSprOM 2019: (underlined text is my emphasis)

1.1 Conventions
Several words are used to signify the requirements in this specification:
•Must / Shall / Required mean that the definition is an absolute requirement.
•Must not / Shall not mean that the definition is an absolute prohibition.

410 Impassable vegetation
An area of dense vegetation (trees or undergrowth) which is impassable. Running speed is almost 0%.

Minimum area: 0.3 mm² (footprint 5 m²).
Minimum width: 0.4 mm.

Impassable vegetation shall not be crossed.

Colour: green 100%
May 1, 2019 6:42 PM # 
Crossing uncrossable water is was prohibited in Canada, but OUSA rules put the responsibility on the course setter.

A.17.10 Courses shall be set so that swimming will be neither necessary nor tempting as a route choice.

Evan (the brother of omaps) did drown, but there was more involved than going for a swim -- I won't go into the details here.
May 1, 2019 6:59 PM # 
Crossing uncrossable water is prohibited in Canada

Is this still true? I thought I was told (by a Canadian official) a few years ago that rule had been changed.
May 1, 2019 7:00 PM # 
JJ - that Canadian rule was changed a number of years ago to bring the rule into alignment with the international rules.
May 1, 2019 7:19 PM # 
Ah, OK, I wasn't aware of that. I wonder if that will be changed back in light of the 2019 IOF rules, and whether OUSA will also change.
May 1, 2019 7:30 PM # 
US Rules (which presumably applied in the case of a West Point National Event) state:

A.27.2 The competitor shall not enter the following areas except when specific permission is included in the Event
a. Yards and gardens
Sown land and land with growing or standing crops
Limited-access highways or fenced railways
Areas marked “out of bounds”

Nothing there about staying out of lakes.
May 1, 2019 7:34 PM # 
I really don't know why National federations go to the bother of creating complete sets of rules when we should just all follow the same International rule set.
May 1, 2019 7:45 PM # 
Well, I translated the Swedish federation's rules into English, and there are a number of pages devoted to moose... So maybe there are some things that are nation-specific.
May 1, 2019 7:46 PM # 
Moose are Sweden-specific?? And... are they un-crossable?
May 1, 2019 7:48 PM # 
Well, they certainly aren't applicable in, say, Denmark or Australia.
May 1, 2019 7:49 PM # 
A number of pages?
May 1, 2019 7:57 PM # 
Moose are big.
May 1, 2019 8:04 PM # 
Pink Socks:
So, we have some unquantifiable rules here.

According to ISOM/IOF, lakes are uncrossable, but legal to cross. O-USA further stipulates to not make swimming a tempting option, which makes sense but how does one define "tempting"?

I think the simplest solution here would be to keep the leg as-designed, but to add an uncrossable/illegal purple line down the length of the lake.
May 1, 2019 8:13 PM # 
At West Point you make swimming not tempting by adjusting the weather accordingly.
May 1, 2019 8:15 PM # 
The military can do that.
May 1, 2019 8:27 PM # 
Nobody actually tried to swim, so in a sense, the line isn't needed. But the fact that somebody (ok, just knucklehead me and maybe pshannon) thought it might work, arguably makes it "tempting". (We didn't try it, but we also didn't really have anything at stake.) But coach's original point was that it just wasn't a good leg.
May 1, 2019 8:46 PM # 
Call it the JJ rule. If JJ would be tempted, it's a bad idea...
May 1, 2019 9:53 PM # 
Gosh I don't know, Tori. That doesn't leave many options open for the rest of us. I mean by that rule swimming is out, hang gliding is out, bicycling on ice is out, unicycling is out, pole dancing is out... what's left to choose from? I guess sprint O. And maybe green courses still.
May 1, 2019 9:55 PM # 
Re: Swimming

Flying Pig 2018 at Elk Creek


Relevant log:

He won the split by 24 seconds

Edit: those are my tracks, not the split winners
May 1, 2019 10:20 PM # 
Great! Josh will be back at West Point to work with USMAOC shortly. JJ, things are looking up for all temptations, great and small!
May 1, 2019 10:35 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
First thought when a friend sent me F21E.

I support the purple line.
May 2, 2019 12:01 AM # 
Don't forget Trail-O, fossil. And the Beer Chase.
May 2, 2019 1:04 PM # 
... just catching up now with orienteering news in general... nice read.... always fun reading stuff on AP, #MOGA hats, swim across a lake, etc. Speaking of which, a (atttempted) swim happened in 2013... even got mentioned on an AP log

May 2, 2019 1:51 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I measured it in Purple Pen. Assuming 500 m north lines, going north (around the east side of the hill top to stay flat and avoid green, then directly to the narrow part) is 300 m shorter with a 40 meter swim than the southern route. If you swim as slow as possible to finish an Ironman swim in the cut off (3:37/100 m), the southern route's extra 300 meters needs about 9:30/mile pace to stay even. If an "average" per the internet lap swimmer (2:00/100 m), the southern route needs closer to 5:30/mile pace to stay even, I think.

Although one of the attendees mentions the ~43°F temps, so maybe still not a great idea even if shorter & possibly faster.
May 2, 2019 2:51 PM # 
@Mr Wonderful, based on route gadget it appears the S route was much faster than the N anyway so the slight gain you MAY have gotten from the swim over the N route probably doesn't benefit you not to mention carrying that extra weight while climbing on the next couple of legs so guess I chose correctly by going S in the end. Go me!

@jjcote Nothing at stake? Speak for yourself! I was just 70 minutes out from qualifying for Norway! But in all seriousness your comment does bring up another thing I'm appreciative for from team trials and that is the chance to compete. Even on my best day I'm not going to come close to winning TT, but I love competing against the best on an elite course and having TT be an open race allows me that chance against what is always one of the strongest fields at any event in NA (especially when it is Canada's TT as well). Perhaps we are not a big enough sport in the US that requiring competitors meet certain qualifying standards even makes sense, but I appreciate the opportunity never-the-less.
May 2, 2019 4:19 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
The north ones on RouteGadget ran an extra 600 ish m over the north + short swim option, or, in other words, 300 m extra over the south option, so I am not surprised they are slower, even adjusting for speed points.
May 2, 2019 5:40 PM # 
If I decide to try this at some point, I'll do all four route options. The north + short swim does look appealing, especially if that narrow place is actually shallow enough to wade.
May 3, 2019 11:12 AM # 
JJ, do me/us a favor - please don't go out there alone if you're going to try the swimming option.
May 3, 2019 10:25 PM # 
JJ, a cool thing would be to try it wearing a weighted vest. Just imagine you are a SEAL, a tough guy
May 4, 2019 11:06 AM # 
No. That's not funny. That's what killed Evan.
May 5, 2019 10:38 AM # 
There were a few things which went into the logic of "uncrossable" not being "forbidden to cross" in ISOM/the current Competition Rules: in a forest environment, such a rule is difficult or impossible to enforce; it may vary seasonally (I recall "uncrossable" marshes on the NAOC 2014 maps which were dry or almost dry at the time of the event); and what is crossable for an elite athlete may not be for a junior or an older orienteer. The option is always there of using the purple overprint if a course-setter wants to declare it "forbidden to cross" for a particular event.

Many of you will recall the long leg of the WOC 2016 long distance where numerous competitors took a straight(ish) route which required crossing an "uncrossable" stream. I wouldn't have been prepared to take that risk myself - if it is actually impossible to cross, then your race is over.

As for national versus international rules, there will always be a need for national/local rules to supplement international rules (to give one example, there are no provisions in the IOF rules for moderate or easy-navigation courses for younger juniors or the less experienced), but a strong argument would be needed for national rules which are inconsistent with IOF rules covering the same subject.

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