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Discussion: Proposed 2017 JWOC Team Selection Criteria and JTESC rules changes

in: Orienteering; General

Dec 7, 2016 8:41 PM # 
Proposed 2017 US JWOC Team Selection Criteria have been posted to the Upcoming OUSA Board Meetings page as part of supporting material for the Dec 12 Board meeting. A note was also sent to Boardnet. This proposal is not yet approved, but apparently the JTESC will be meeting tonight to discuss it. The first 3 pages describe the scoring system, and the remaining 5 describe the petition process.

According to a message sent to Boardnet by a board member on Dec 5, I gathered that the Board feels strongly that JNT membership should not be codified as a rule. However you will see in the proposed selection criteria (linked above), "JNT membership" has been added as one of the 6 scores used to select the team, and has been given a score of 100 points. This is higher than all of the 1st place scores combined and effectively means JNT membership *IS* required to be on the JWOC team. That is, someone who wins all 4 JWOC trials races and meets the 3k time minimum can score a maximum of 83 points, but simply being a member of the JNT gets you another 100 points automatically. It would be virtually impossible to get on the JWOC team without JNT membership (or a petition) under this proposal. It looks to me like this is an attempt to simply hide the JNT membership requirement in the scoring without explicitly stating so. Adding a 100-point constant to the scoring calculation also dramatically changes the relative weights of the other scores. For example, the physical fitness requirement is effectively irrelevant.

Also, in the "Selections Committee" section at the bottom, the makeup of the committee is presented, which comes directly from rule G2.7.6. Does anyone know why the JTA and VP Comp can designate a replacement of their choosing but the JTC cannot? I'm just curious what the logic is behind this.

The last paragraph in the proposal is a note about conflicts of interest, which I do greatly appreciate. However, it further states that "If he/she has four or more such conflicts, he/she should consider resigning from the Committee, and designating a replacement, as per above." Four? That number seems pretty arbitrary and rather large. If one of the three Selections Committee members happens to have 3 kids all trying for the team at the same time, that's ok as long as there are voting recusals, but if they have 4 kids trying at the same time they have to step down (and designate a replacement of their own choosing). It doesn't even say they "should resign," it just says they should consider resigning.

In addition to the selection criteria, a number of rules changes have been proposed by the JTESC, and the Board will likely rule on those changes at their meeting Mon night (Dec 12). The proposal was changed a bit after the Nov 28 Board meeting. The current proposal is here. If you have any comments or concerns about these, now is the time to contact Board members to let them know. There are 5 days left before the meeting.
Dec 8, 2016 10:57 AM # 
Yeah, I don't see why anyone outside the JNT would bother trying for the team under those conditions.
Dec 8, 2016 11:20 AM # 
I really don't understand why the process has to be so complicated. How about an alternate JWOC Selection proposal:

  • Show up at the team trials
  • Compete in the races
  • Finish in the top 5
  • Use Average Weighted Time to normalize the Long, Middle and Sprint results.
  • Have one or two acknowledged experts pre-run the courses. Correct any issue they might find before the juniors go out.
  • No course based protests, no petitions

The junior runners would know if they made the team before they left the trials.

I honestly don't see why it has to be more complicated than that.
Dec 8, 2016 11:31 AM # 
Isn't assigning points to places even less complicated than using average weighted time? If simple is the objective, that seems to fit the bill.
Dec 8, 2016 11:46 AM # 
I think AWT is a good way to normalize performance. With points there is no difference between winning by 10 min and winning by 1 second.

However, if the sole criteria is performance at the trails, then using points works.
Dec 8, 2016 12:26 PM # 
Good discussion.
Once you have hashed out your thoughts here, if you have feedback on proposals please route it accordingly: Board decides on rules change. JTESC decides on JWOC selection criteria and JNT application.
Dec 8, 2016 1:01 PM # 
Barb what is the process for submitting objections to JTESC?
Dec 8, 2016 2:14 PM # 
Yes, is there a method/forum for communication with JTESC?

As I read the JNT requirement it appears that either a) you must be a JNT member, or b) you submit a petition and petitioners due to non-JNT membership must have met the 3K time trial standard that is not required of JNT members.

Maybe that wasn't the intent but that's how it reads.

I would like to hear from JTESC their reasoning behind the JNT requirement. I thought I understood last week that the BOD was asking them to include some justification for their rule changes. And to their credit the updated rules changes do now include justifications. But there is no justification section for changes to the selection procedure.

As best I can recall this is a USOF/OUSA first. A worlds team selection procedure that requires selectees to first be members of the standing national team or else take their chances with a petition after having first proven themselves on the track.
Dec 8, 2016 2:25 PM # 
To contact JTESC you could email the Chair of the committee at the email address on the OUSA site:

What's the objection with requiring* athletes to be on JNT/JDT in order to go to JWOC? The JTC puts a lot of effort into developing the athletes over the course of the entire year, and they all benefit from each other. This just seems like a positive to me -- you want to be on the select ("All Star") team, you first need to be on the main roster.
Dec 8, 2016 3:02 PM # 
A. It doesn't say JNT/JDT, it says JNT. There's a very significant difference.

B. If you re-read what I wrote you might notice that nowhere did I object to this requirement. But I am asking that rather than just toss it out there unexpectedly the JTESC at least include some commentary on why it's being added.

I agree that Erin's efforts and energy level are nothing short of amazing. I am a big Erin fan! And like you I can make my guesses as to why the requirement was added. But I'd prefer to hear the reasoning directly from those who made this unprecedented decision.
Dec 8, 2016 3:11 PM # 
A. You're right, that makes a difference.
B. Yes, I agree, there should be reasoning presented, which I think Bill did on ClubNet, but obviously that's not widely read. Apologies for assuming you objected, I think I let me enthusiasm for the idea overwhelm my reading comprehension abilities. :-)
Dec 8, 2016 3:32 PM # 
What's the objection to requiring...? .

If the idea is that only JNT, or JNT/JDT members be eligible, then why not make that the rule? I find it strange (and seemingly underhanded) to design a set of rules that are ostensibly "open" to anyone, but effectively closed.

The JTC puts a lot of effort...

I don't see how this matters at all. If someone shows up and outperforms the people into whom a lot of effort has been put, it seems obvious to me that they should get a fair chance to represent their country. If so much effort is being put into the JNT, then surely they are already at an advantage. JWOC is not going to award any places for being on the JNT.
Dec 8, 2016 3:59 PM # 
Apology accepted. I should also note that just because I haven't objected doesn't mean I agree with the requirement. I want to be open-minded for a while so I can give it time for consideration and discussion. There are undoubtedly both pros and cons on this and I haven't seen them discussed anywhere.

Also, Brendan, note that she said JTC puts a lot of effort. JTC refers to the coach. But still your point is a good one. We are, after all, not selecting a basketball or hockey team where everyone's success is interdependent. We do have relays, but even there it's still you, the map, the course-setter, and your competitors.


Ahh, right. I don't lurk there. But taking a peek I see there's a discussion underway and Bob did post the JTESC reasoning:

This year, the JTESC is introducing a 'strong incentive' for athletes intending to tryout for the JWOC team, to participate in the JDT/JNT program. In a nutshell.... We believe that a group of athletes who bond as a community and train as a team will perform better than a group of individuals who are thrown together for just a couple weeks. In 2017, all applicants who meet the basic requirements will be accepted to the JDT. JDT members who meet the JNT performance criteria will be given the option of joining the JNT. US JWOC team members will be selected from the pool of JNT athletes who have declared their intent, based on the JWOC Selection Criteria. We did not codify JNT membership as a rule so that athletes who choose not to participate, but feel they are otherwise qualified, will have the option to petition.

It would really be nice if this language were added to the JWOC team selection document.

Some of the comments this has drawn there that aren't already reflected above:

Seriously? 100 points is not "codifying" it?

Forgetting that, who seriously thinks the petition process for such
an athlete will be objective under this regime?

Thanks for clarifying the thinking of the JTESC. One question: why are members of the JDT not eligible for the 100 point bonus? At the junior level, athlete development can happen quickly, and someone who does not meet the performance criteria for the JNT at the beginning of the year may well meet them by the time the selection races come around. As long as that junior is participating in the JDT activities, I see no reason to exclude them from the bonus.

I'm not going to continue relaying comments but I guess I will lurk on clubnet for a while to follow this thread.
Dec 8, 2016 4:34 PM # 
I can't wait until we have an official OUSA discussion forum on the federation's website, so that precisely this juggling of multiple sources doesn't have to happen.
Dec 8, 2016 4:35 PM # 
The GAOC response has been sent to Bill Langton. The text is repeated below.


The Georgia Orienteering Club has a number of objections to the proposed changes in the JWOC selection rules.

1) The new rules limit selections to the JNT members. The JNT is limited to 10 males and 10 females. The JNT member are selected at the sole discretion of the JTESC. This effectively means that the JTESC selects the JWOC team.

2) The continued use of the rankings system as a component for selection. I have demonstrated in the past that the ranking system disadvantages our juniors. I am not going to rehash that here. I will restate that the GAOC objects to the use of a ranking system for national team selections. This would be true for both the Junior and Senior teams.

We would like to see the selections based entirely on head to head performance. We feel that gives our juniors the best chance at making the JWOC team.

As such, we would like to put forth an alternate selection process:

  • Attend the team trials.
  • Compete in the races.
  • Use Average Weighted Time (AWT) to normalize the Long, Middle and Sprint results.
  • Based on the combined AWT scores for each race, the top 5 finishers would qualify for the team.
  • Have one or two acknowledged experts pre-run the courses. Correct any issue they might find before the juniors go out.
  • No course based protests, no petitions.


Bob Frost
Georgia Orienteering Club
VP Juniors
Dec 8, 2016 4:50 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
This just seems like a positive to me -- you want to be on the select ("All Star") team, you first need to be on the main roster.

Other running sports (eg, running in the US) don't have this - hit your qualifier, show up at the trials, and whatever happens happens. Not sure orienteering is big enough to need a qualifier, so to me trials results sounds good. The benefits of JNT/JDT membership would be reflected in the times.

For me, the biggest argument against purely trials performance based selection is WOC relegation, when perhaps you don't want a potentially super fast but flaky person over a fast enough person in some scenarios. Unless you are already relegated, in which case you could argue you should send your potentially fastest with no regard for reliability, in sort of the inverse of normal subjective selection.

Of course one is welcome to argue that orienteering is not like running, since running doesn't take the best times across the steeplechase, 10k, and marathon and send that runner.
Dec 8, 2016 5:39 PM # 
I might be out of date on this but isn't WOC relegation only a senior team thing? Is it happening in JWOC now, too?
Dec 8, 2016 6:02 PM # 
I believe that is just the senior team. IIRC we get 1 on the long and 1 on the middle.

That should make the selections for the long and middle simple: At the trials, did you win the long or did you win the middle?
Dec 8, 2016 6:10 PM # 
GAOC's suggestion might work in a perfect world but that is never the case. For example, selection based solely on the trials favors the locals. Also, no petitions means you need to be completely healthy so too bad if you get the flu, sprain an ankle, or whatever.
Dec 8, 2016 6:17 PM # 
Someone above reference track and field. If you can't make the trails or are sick or sprain an ankle. Yes, too bad.

Remember for everyone you petition in, there is someone you petitioned out.
Dec 8, 2016 6:47 PM # 
In track and field, nobody ever gets a defective map, and controls never get stolen.
Dec 8, 2016 6:50 PM # 
The GAOC proposal would disadvantage Americans living in Europe, who could be among the best placed to train well for orienteering. A time consuming, jet lag inducing transatlantic trip during school or university for a trials weekend could be hard, more so than a transatlantic trip during summer for JWOC and a month of European training for an American resident.

Also, one (senior) Team Trials had a forest fire during the event. Even with solid advance vetting, not being able to protest the course could be quite unfair in this circumstance. If the control is burning as someone approaches (but not when the previous and next competitor arrive), and the orienteer doesn't feel comfortable reaching into the flames to punch, should they get a bad time as a result waiting for the fire to move along, and lose their place? Or perhaps their reaction to smoke is worse than another's due to asthma?

I'm not against the trials having the major role, but I wonder if making it the only criterion is the best? Just throwing out concerns.

I do wonder why not counting JDT membership, only JNT?
Dec 8, 2016 6:56 PM # 
Let go back to our primary objections - JDT membership and the use of rankings scores.

The 2017 draft JDT memberships application lists a requirement of "Have attended at least three training days or a weekend training camp where you practiced intermediate and/or advanced level skills based on OUSA skills progression."

Exactly how many of those training days or weekend training camps a scheduled for the Southeast?
Dec 8, 2016 7:54 PM # 
Selecting a team in a trials race, by best time -- that is so old-fashioned, so 1980s.
And so many ways it can go unfair.

I propose instead a scoring system, based on
(i) Number of followers in AP blog / likes on FB
(ii) Score for essay on topic "Think Globally --Act Locally" (scored by PinkSocks)
(iii) Recommendation letter from local church with evidence of good character.
Dec 8, 2016 10:41 PM # 
JTC refers to the coach

Apologies, misread that. Fixed now. But, I still don't see how it's relevant. If the athletes working with the JTC are benefitting from it, that will reflect in trials results.

Many of the responses to the Bob-F are focusing on the in/exclusion of petitions. The bigger issue is this 100pt bonus simply for being on the JNT. This makes any trials an effectively closed competition. So why bother?
Dec 9, 2016 2:09 AM # 
A draft of 2017 JDT/JNT application is now on the OUSA website.

Again it would really be nice if this document included a brief summary of what has changed since the previous year. One thing that appears to have changed is the numbers. For 2016 there was a target of "approximately 10 men and 10 women" for JNT. The 2017 draft does not include target numbers, but rather a performance requirement: "Applying juniors who meet the JNT standards will be placed on the JNT. Juniors on JDT who reach the standards will be moved up to the JNT." So it appears that there might be more or less than 10 men and 10 women this time around.

Also the non-codified JNT requirement for JWOC is in fact codified here:

"Athletes interested in competing at the Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) must be placed on the JNT prior to the JWOC selection races. Athletes on the JDT and non junior program participants are welcome to compete at the JWOC trials races, however, they will not be considered in the selection for the JWOC team."

So yes, a closed competition, by design. As to Brendan's question: So why bother? I guess it really depends on how many juniors achieve the JNT performance requirements. If there are more than the JWOC quota then it provides a means for a final selection. For those not on JNT it provides an opportunity to go head to head with those who are and find out how much improvement you need to make over the next year. This could be particularly valuable when you realize that it might be your only opportunity to race against some of them all year.
Dec 9, 2016 2:42 AM # 
So....if there's no limit to the size of the JNT, is there any reason for any serious junior who wants to be considered for JWOC not to be a member of it?
Dec 9, 2016 8:03 AM # 
According to rule G.2.7.7 of the OUSA Rules of Competition, both in the original and as amended in the JTESC's own proposed rules change request, eligibility for the US JWOC team is based on IOF rules, and nothing more. Here is the text of both, directly from the JTESC proposal:

G.2.7.7 The Selections Committee shall determine who is eligible for the JWOC Team, based on citizenship and age requirements set forth by the IOF.

The Selections Committee shall determine who is eligible for the JWOC Team based on IOF rules.

Reason: The IOF rules state eligibility requirements. No reason to restate here. If the IOF rules change, we will be in alignment.

I've looked through the IOF rules and can find no reference to JNT membership, JDT membership or any other team memberships. I also don't see anything in the OUSA rules of competition granting the JTESC the authority to establish eligibility requirements beyond those set forth in rule G.2.7.7. By rule, the JTESC does have the authority to set selection criteria, but not to say who is or is not eligible to compete for spots on the JWOC team within those criteria.

As such, I propose that this, the second paragraph in the Draft US Junior National Team application, should be removed, as it would be a violation of OUSA rules:

Athletes interested in competing at the Junior World Orienteering Championships(JWOC) must be placed on the JNT prior to the JWOC selection races. Athletes on the JDT and non junior program participants are welcome to compete at the JWOC trials races, however, they will not be considered in the selection for the JWOC team. You may contact US Junior National Coach Erin Schirm with questions at: [ed: address removed]

Further, the assignment of a point-value for JNT membership in the objective "Scoring List" section of the Proposed 2017 JWOC Team Selection Criteria materially constitutes an eligibility restriction that is not allowed by the rules of competition and this too should be removed. Simply attaching a point value (of any magnitude) to a team membership granted by the JTESC itself does not convert it from an eligibility restriction to a rankable selection criteria.

When asked about the JNT membership score in the selection criteria in messages posted to Clubnet on Dec 8, two members of the JTESC referred to this as a both a "'strong incentive'" (quotes included) for JNT participation (i.e. by serving as a pre-requisite for JWOC eligibility) and suggested the JWOC team serves as the "select traveling team" of the JNT. These statements by members of the JTESC further support the notion that this Scoring List requirement is intended as a restriction on JWOC team eligibility, which is not allowed by rule G.2.7.7.

The ability to petition for a spot without JNT membership was offered as evidence that this is not an eligibility restriction since petitioning provides an alternate path to the JWOC team for non-JNT members, but I do not agree with this. This alternate route requires the subjective acceptance of said petition by the Selections Committee - ultimately by the very JTESC that is denying them access to the selection races in the first place - without the athlete being given the same opportunity to objectively qualify on their own merits. In addition, this petition clause would seem to contradict paragraph 2 of the Junior Nation Team application above, which very explicitly states that "non junior program members ... will not be considered in the selection for the JWOC team."
Dec 9, 2016 8:25 AM # 
Please note that I am no longer a member of JTESC and did not play any part in developing the new selection criteria. My statements (such as "select traveling team") reflect purely my own view and not that of JTESC or anyone on JTESC.
Dec 9, 2016 8:36 AM # 
Ok, thanks. This page needs to be updated then (last update 13 Feb 2016). Is there a current list of JTESC members somewhere?
Dec 9, 2016 7:04 PM # 
Current JTESC members:

Bill Langton (chair)
Andrea Schneider
Brenda Blacklock
Guy Olsen
Erin Schirm (advisory)
Dec 9, 2016 9:28 PM # 
Hi all this is the response I gave to Eddie and others on club net.

Hi Eddie,
First off JTESC does not make determinations on petitions. The selection committee does. If you read through the junior petition process there is a very clear process. There is also a rubric that the selection committee uses. An athlete who has 4s on that rubric would have a strong case to go to grievance should they not be placed on the team.

The reason eligibility and criteria have been separated is because selection criteria need to be flexible. If they are in the rules there would have to be rules changes every time a criteria is changed. Eligibility to compete at JWOC is determined by iof not a federation and this is made clear in the rules. Anyone who does not meet the IOF eligibility by rule can't compete. OUSA can determine how a team is selected and in this case the power to oversee the junior team has been given to JTESC. It's up to us to determine what's in the best interest of the program looking at both the past, present and future. In this case it has been decided that we want the selection criteria to be flexible so we can tailor selection as needed to account for weaknesses in the selection process account for IOF changes, account for JWOC terrains and competition on a year to year basis, accounts for an ever changing OUSA schedule and be able have athletes focus on what will make them better. As per the rules any changes to criteria will be announced in a timely manner so everyone is informed. Ultimately it's your right to disagree and express your opinion. If you are against what JTESC is doing then write to a board member/s and encourage them to vote no. By vote JTESC has decided the way we want to move forward. No suggestion at this point is going to lead us to change what we have done unless the board votes no to our proposal.

This is to a broader group of people asking questions.

Since I first started as the junior national coach it's been my goal and the goal of OUSA to have a more competitive junior program. Over the last four years most juniors starting out on JNT have been missing fundamental skills and fitness. The ones that have put in the time to learn and refine these skills have made vast improvements.

We are now going into the fifth year of the junior program an it's no longer acceptable for juniors to be on the junior national team who are not fully committed to putting in the time and who lack the basic skills. For this reason we created a barrier of basic requirements between JDT and JNT. With criteria determining who makes JNT there are no more limits to the size of the JNT. Athletes who are not ready for the large commitment of JNT or lack the skills can still be part of the program on JDT. Everyone who applies makes JDT. Any time a JDT member or an applying member meets the JNT standards they will be moved up. For most people arguing against this remember that to have success as an athlete you have to follow through on the process it takes to be good. Creating this barrier brings the focused to the process and juniors who aspire to compete at JWOC will start younger and work harder at the process to be good and that's how we as a nation will get better results in international competition.

The US JWOC selection process is designed to test athletes in 5 areas. To understand these areas you have to understand JWOC and it's challenges. First JWOC is five intense races of varying lengths over 6 days. In order to last and compete well over all 5 races an athlete needs to be both physically strong and consistent. The nature of the relay and the sprint require fast running and speed. The long requires endurance and the ability to focus for 60-90min. The middle takes strong technical skill. Our selection system tests athletes for the three disciplines with the three trials races. The 3k shows that an athlete has both the speed to compete in the sprint and the ability to hang in a relay. The rankings show consistency over the course of the year. So you can see that the team trials test is designed to incentivize athletes to work on what it takes to be good. Leaving criteria out of the rules allows us to try maybe a woods 3k as part of the trials, or a different way of tracking consistency such as head to head completion or challenge of terrain without always having to go back to rules.

There have been a number of arguments about just having head to head competition. The answer to this is simple we are not Norway, Sweden, or Finland. We don't have the depth of athletes who are highly talented to make top 20 at JWOC or compete for medals. We don't have a club infrastructure on competitive development. For us to get their with our current numbers infrastructure it takes long term commitment and the wiliness to work smarter than countries that have depth by process of numbers. For these reasons JTesc has moved to make JNT a proceeding requirement to compete at JWOC. This way the junior coach can monitor and support athletes as needed starting early on in the year and over years to prepare for JWOC long term. Mandatory JNT membership also means we are building a team atmosphere. A group of juniors with a common goal will push each other further and harder, provided varying perspectives and ways of navigating situation that can help each other grow. It also means that athletes will be giving back to the US orienteering community. It's well know that competing at the highest levels can be a selfish endeavor and requires support from the community. We as JTESC value community support and want to make sure that every junior receiving it is giving back.

Finally I would like to acknowledge all the clubs who have been and have started regular training camps and putting on more regular training opportunities. At the JNT level an athlete should be on a map twice a week. This is a lofty goal. It's the goal of JTESC that this change will encourage clubs to continue to provide and grow their training opportunities so juniors develop a proper base of skill and ability. When a junior reaches JNT with a good base he/she is much more likely to unlock their greatest potential.

I the junior coach and JTESC believe for all these reasons that the changes we are proposing will continue to bring the junior program forward. We encourage you to write to board members expressing your support. Thank you.

Dec 11, 2016 2:43 PM # 
Thanks for sharing this, Erin. I expected there was a line of reasoning behind the changes. My suggestion is that a summary of what's changing and the motivation behind the changes should be included as an introduction to the team selection document, so that readers have a chance to see that before they dive into the selection process and start reacting to unexpected changes.
Dec 12, 2016 7:19 AM # 
The Board will be voting on the JTESC's proposed rules changes at the meeting Monday. I’ve read through them a few times and appreciate the additional justification provided. They all look ok to me – they’re mostly just rewording or clarification of the existing text. I have a question and a comment:

1) Is the JNT Athlete Agreement mentioned in new rule G.2.4.5 the same as the Sr. team AA, and if not, can a copy of it be posted with the supporting material ahead of the Board meeting?

2) In the proposed replacement text for rule G.2.6, the last sentence states: “The affected junior and their parents will be notified of the decision.” Since not all of the juniors are minors, and to be consistent with the newly proposed text of rule G.2.4.5, I would suggest that this sentence be replaced with the following (or equivalent): “The affected athlete (and the athlete’s parents if the athlete is under the age of 18) will be notified of the decision.”

I’d also like to reiterate my objection to the eligibility restrictions that the JTESC is imposing on JWOC selections in both its proposed 2017 JNT application and the proposed 2017 JWOC selection criteria. The rules are very clear that the JTESC has the authority to oversee the junior team and to establish the selection *criteria* for both the team and JWOC, and I’m not questioning that. I don’t think anyone has so far in the discussion. I’m arguing that no individual or group within OUSA (JTESC, JTC, VPComp, Sr team ESC, etc) has the authority to deny any member of the organization the right to apply for or compete for spots on the standing or WOC teams that are open to any/all others in the organization unless explicitly allowed by rule or the bylaws. I’ve already presented a case above for removal of text in the JNT application and the attempt to give a bonus 100-point score only to JNT members, rendering selection of non-JNT members effectively impossible (except by petition). Erin has stated above that JTESC has moved to make JNT a proceeding requirement to compete at JWOC, so its clear that the bonus score is meant specifically to serve this purpose. The rule (proposed G.2.7.1, original G.2.7.2) also states that “The selection criteria shall be objective in nature,” but if the field of candidates competing in the team trials is (essentially, due to the “JNT membership” score) limited to JNT members, this constitutes a subjective pre-selection of the candidate field by the JTESC in advance. Months in advance.

If the JTESC wishes to limit JWOC eligibility only to certain members of OUSA, as it appears it is trying to do, I believe that the Board will have to make a rule enabling it. Based on discussion on Boardnet last week I gather that the Board does not want to codify JNT membership as a JWOC eligibility requirement into the rules. The Board could simply make a rule that gives the JTESC (or anyone else) the authority to set eligibility requirements as it sees fit, but I recommend very, very strongly against this. The rules are not just for the benefit of the ESCs, they are also there to protect the rights and entitlements of ALL members of the organization. The JWOC team spots should not be used as prizes to incentivize JNT membership, they should be used to send our best athletes to JWOC in any given year.

As Brendan and others have pointed out, if an athlete training outside the structure of the national team (for whatever reason) competes in the team trials and qualifies ahead of athletes on the JNT, why would we not want that athlete on the team? Are we afraid that might reflect poorly on the junior national program itself?

I’m requesting that the Board please ask the JTESC to remove the eligibility restrictions mentioned above from the proposed JNT application and JWOC selection criteria.
Dec 12, 2016 1:28 PM # 
Following up on Eddie's comments.

I was reviewing the 2017 draft JNT application. It appears you have added a $200 fee to join the team.

I have a major problem with adding a requirement to the JWOC selection criteria that the junior be a member of the JNT team and simultaneously adding a $200 fee.

Also, the application also has to been in by January 15. It requires at least 4 A days. If a Junior does not have 4 'A' days in to 2016, under the proposed rules, would they be ineligible for JWOC 2017?

Additionally, I don't believe any one responded on what qualified as a "Training Day".

Finally, I believe we have a requirement that the JWOC criteria be published 6 months if advance. If one of the requirements is membership in JNT, then the JNT requirements should also be publish 6 months in advance.

Sorry - it is 4 months not 6:
G.2.7.3 JTESC shall announce the Selection Period and Selection Criteria annually, at least four months prior to selection races and prior to the beginning of the Selection Period. The announcement shall be disseminated through Junior Team e-mail lists, and other communication methods, so as to reach as many juniors as possible. The announcement shall also set forth the date by which the selections shall be made and the last day for filing petitions.
Dec 12, 2016 2:53 PM # 
Great discussion. Related to the $200 JNT fee, I want to point out that currently to participate on the JWOC team you must pay far more than $200 -- the cost is above $1000, and often much more, depending on how fundraising and team contributions turn out each year. The JWOC trip is an excellent learning experience for 12 of our best young orienteers, including professional coaching, a period of training in advance of the competition, as well as additional adults traveling as chaperones, drivers, and/or team leaders. In 2016, aside from restricted donations that are passed directly on to the team, OUSA provided only $4000, and imposed a new requirement to purchase expensive insurance through OUSA, which cost > $2000. The cost of the trip is probably around $40,000. Thus the amount of financial support provided directly by OUSA is minimal at the moment. We have chosen as an organization to put most of our discretionary dollars elsewhere, focusing on building up a more professional society with a paid ED, better website, better communication (eg e-newsletter), more connection to other sports organizations, etc.

All of which means that OUSA is not funding the JWOC team more than a few percent of what the trip actually costs, and most of the cost is paid by the juniors or their parents.

Even those who do not go to JWOC but are on JNT have costs greater than $200 for uniforms, and travel to events and training camps.

In the past, JTESC has worked very hard to ensure that every junior who wanted to be part of the junior program could participate, regardless of ability to pay. I would be very surprised if any junior who could not afford the $200 to join the JNT would be turned away. Erin has been vocal with juniors and their families asking them to let him or JTESC know if they need financial help. Sometimes individuals step up to support kids in need, and sometimes JTESC is able to make grants. I don't think we'll be turning anyone away because they can't afford the $200.

Thanks to our donor, JNT has been able to enjoy the benefit of consistent year-round coaching, but not everything is covered (such as uniforms and travel to events and training camps). I think getting stuff for free sometimes results in taking it for granted. Being serious about a sport includes cost - clothing, transportation, etc. I think $200 is a really good deal for the value provided, and would be happy to help JTESC help youth who can't afford it, but are serious about wanting to become better orienteers, find the funds. At some point, we may not have the donation for the coach, and it would be great to start finding ways to make the junior program more self-sustaining. If the donations do continue, it would be great to start using them to broaden the number of juniors involved, in addition to focusing on the intensive support of the top juniors. Showing the donor that we are working toward finding additional ways of funding the program might be motivating to him.

Finally, I'm sure the $200 is going to be used for supporting the activities team members are agreeing to do anyway, like attending training camps.


$200 is not a high amount compared to the value provided for being on JNT.
$200 is a drop in the bucket compared to what JWOC team members have to pay to be on the team.
$200 would (presumably) be used for the team. It is like a down-payment for things the juniors would need to buy anyway.
Dec 13, 2016 5:51 AM # 
Izzy B:
Dec 13, 2016 6:20 PM # 
That $200 is also a great opportunity for US clubs to help support their top-end juniors.
Dec 13, 2016 10:37 PM # 
I will respectfully disagree with your statement that $200 is not a high amount. The median us income is median household income in 2014 was $53,657.

Also, it's an unexpected expense at an expensive time of year. I also didn't see any mention of the availability of financial assistance in the supporting documents. I didn't see any mention of fundraising to offset the costs.

What I've always objected to is the abrupt change in policy, which seems to come in the middle of the selection time frame. Why was this not discussed 6 months ago?

Having been involved in soccer, baseball, basketball, boy scouts and marching band - the way to self sustainability for a program is not to pay-to-play - it's booster clubs. Booster clubs manage fundraising and sponsorship's across a broad spectrum of supporters, not just the athletes and their families. Our marching band booster club has a fundraiser or multiple in play every month and the sign up fee can be recouped by the individual thru fundraising and volunteering. They also have payment plans.

If the goal is to get more juniors involved in the sport at a high level, then removing, not adding, barriers is key.

This fee to me looks to be an another entry barrier - along with the short time frame to meet the new JNT/JWOC criteria and the use of the ranking score in JWOC selections.
Dec 14, 2016 1:49 AM # 
Regarding the 4 "A" days, Georgia Navigator Cup will offer 3 days on the weekend the application is due. I'm sure an applicant could use those days as part of the application even if it was submitted a few days before the meet, OR presumably, if asked, I would expect that the JTESC would have the very reasonable courtesy to grant a deadline extension of 3-4 days to let the application be submitted after the competition weekend.
Dec 14, 2016 2:44 AM # 
Barb: The JWOC trip is an excellent learning experience for 12 of our best young orienteers

This is one of the things I've been wondering about. With the JNT membership prerequisite, will there still be 6 men + 6 women going to JWOC? It seems the team could be smaller if we don't get that many that meet the JNT requirements.
Dec 14, 2016 6:23 AM # 
I've been watching this thread, with various thoughts running through my mind. It strikes me that, as North American orienteers, we spend an awfully large amount of energy on selection criteria, on how to select our best orienteers to represent us at various events. But, we spend precious little energy actually developing our athletes to be good at our sport.

It is a breath of fresh air to read what Erin has written, which is clearly about developing athletes to be the best that they can be at orienteering. In the long run, this is so much more valuable than whining about the minutia of selection criteria.

People seem to lose sight of the fact that JWOC is a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. If an athlete wants to run at JWOC, it really isn't asking too much to show a little commitment to the sport. 4 A meet starts, 3 days of training camps, $200 to receive high-level coaching ... this is not too much to ask. Any serious athlete trying to do well at JWOC should be striving for so much more.
Dec 14, 2016 2:19 PM # 
I agree, there's nothing wrong with asking athletes to show some level of commitment, so why can't we simply require athletes (all athletes, no excuses) to show up and compete directly against each other in the selection races? Its one weekend of racing. Yet we bend over backwards with these petition clauses which just give athletes a way out of that most basic level of commitment.

Give all athletes the RIGHT to compete directly against their peers. They deserve at least that basic protection.
Dec 14, 2016 3:14 PM # 
Eddie writes: why can't we simply require athletes (all athletes, no excuses) to show up and compete directly against each other in the selection races?

Gee, I can think of lots of reasons that could justify a petition:
1 Illness
2 Injury
3 living / training overseas (travel to the trials could easily cost as much as the JWOC trip)
4 most importantly, we are talking about high school and college STUDENTS. Regardless of the importance of competing on a national team, their EDUCATION comes first. It's not always possible (or desirable) to reschedule major exams or other educational conflicts that tend to be concentrated in spring, coincidentally right when trials are usually held.

Bmay makes a great point - the team is not entirely about the single best individuals for any given year's JUNIOR world championship; it's also (perhaps more) about developing (and recruiting) the best athletes for many future years of JWOC and WOC performance. Erin's vision is long term. I don't agree with every aspect of how he wants to get there, but I respect that he is an excellent coach and believe we should give him a lot of lattitude in how he trains and develops his team.
Dec 14, 2016 5:07 PM # 
"4 A meet starts, 3 days of training camps, $200 to receive high-level coaching ... this is not too much to ask"

True, that does sound like not much to ask, however, break it down:

In 2016, there were 16 A-meet days in the NE versus 2 in the SE. So for a junior in the SE or Midwest to get 4 A-meet days, they would have to fly to at least one meet in the NE. Since most meets are not accessible by public transportation, you have to rent a car to get to the meet, stay in a hotel, pay for gas, food, etc. But since a junior can't rent a car or check into a hotel, an adult would have to go along, now doubling the cost of the trip. The junior would have to take a day from school to fly up (many of our schools restrict absences to 7 per year before failing a student) and the adult has to take a day from work. The NE junior does not have to fly, rent a car or in all likelihood take the day off from school. I could easily see the cost to attend one A-meet adding up to ~$1000.00.

Training Days/Camps - when are they held and where? I find very little information - and I am on many mailing lists. Are they held in various parts of the country so all interested juniors have equal access?

Can you see how a large group of juniors is financially locked out from high-level coaching?

Rankings - it has been mathematically shown that the ranking calculation is flawed and benefits those that have more A races. So in order to have a higher ranking you have to travel to A meets. Broken record here, costs for travel to A meets is higher for those not in the NE.

Now onto JWOC selection criteria - mix the new 100 point advantage for JNT members in the JWOC selection criteria along with a flawed/biased rankings score and that gives you a very exclusionary and discriminatory selection criteria.

If the point is to get more juniors involved, why all the barriers?
Dec 14, 2016 5:42 PM # 
When I was a junior, there was very little orienteering where I lived. To attend West Point each spring (a relatively nearby A meet), I would ...
1) Take 1.5 hour flight to Halifax.
2) Jump in a car with friends, drive 18 hours to NY.
3) Race two days
4) Drive 18 hours back to Halifax
5) Fly home
Cost involved, absolutely. Time involved, most definitely. Commitment ... yes.
Dec 14, 2016 6:07 PM # 
@bmay - how many A days did you get a year? If it was just those two, you would not have been eligible for the Junior National Team. Even if you beat everyone there.

As for rankings, if you had four ranking days you would get a ranking score. However, someone with 12 A days would have had a huge advantage over you. They get to drop their eight lowest scores.

You guys seems to be very OK with making this an exclusive cost high cost barrier sport. We (GAOC) are trying to go in the other direction. We want to increase the pool of athletes competing in Orienteering. A large percentage of our kids are disadvantaged. Yet they can Orienteer. GAOC schools have generally outperformed at the Interscholastic championships over the last decade.
Dec 14, 2016 6:22 PM # 
Commitment has nothing to do with this - it's about excluding people based on their ability to pay.

You were lucky you had the advantage to afford the flight, friends with a car to drive you and the time to drive.

SE juniors are very committed, they are out at most local meets, they attend training at their school, they assist with the local meets, they do course reviews.

I'm sure juniors from other parts of the country are also just as committed.
Dec 14, 2016 6:23 PM # 
Then the solution is to have more National Ranking Events in the south!
What would it take to make that happen? Seriously, the sports working group is looking at how to not only improve the quality of our high level events, but also get more events into the ranking/sanctioning system.
Lets figure out how to make a plan so that there are six ranking days in the south each year. Two of those would be at the GNC, which would be more premier level event with expectations of event production, but the other four days would only need to be events on good maps, with good courses, that follow the OUSA rules.
Email me at if you want to try and make something happen. My services are available to work the events.
Dec 14, 2016 6:35 PM # 
Pink Socks:
You have to rent a car to get to the meet, stay in a hotel, pay for gas, food, etc. But since a junior can't rent a car or check into a hotel, an adult would have to go along, now doubling the cost of the trip.

On multiple occasions, I've been asked to ferry juniors from an airport to the event site, and in two of those cases I barely knew or didn't know the junior. You don't always need to get your own rental car or hotel or an adult to come along. Use the community!

Booster clubs manage fundraising and sponsorships across a broad spectrum of supporters, not just the athletes and their families.

This sounds like a great idea. Several of the teams and parents involved with the junior league in Seattle sell food at our events, with proceeds that fund travel to A meets. And speaking of clubs, what about the orienteering club? Cascade budgets $2000 for travel stipends for our local juniors to attend national events (usually Interscholastics), and we also provide additional travel stipends to any junior athlete who goes to JWOC.

In 2016, there were 16 A-meet days in the NE versus 2 in the SE.
SE juniors are very committed... they assist with the local meets

Piggybacking what Ed just said, then have more national ranking events in the south, and have the juniors assist. O-USA would benefit from having more ranking events, so it's in everyone's best interest to make this happen. There's also been a precedent for juniors organizing a national ranking event. The Cascade juniors did this back in 2008.
Dec 14, 2016 6:36 PM # 
Ed is right on. I think the most positive solution to the very real problems that Lisa describes is providing more national event opportunities for juniors in the SE and other regions that have fewer events.

Can GAOC partner with VOC, FLO, or COK to help them organize national events?

Having more exposure to national-level events and competition would be crucial for those juniors who are trying to make it to the national level.
Dec 14, 2016 6:37 PM # 
A couple of comments:
1.I agree with mikeminium on the petitions except I don't think the cost of travel should be an acceptable excuse. I understand that those living in Europe would incur a big cost getting to the trials but there are big costs for folks from various parts of the country here getting to other parts too. Plus, JWOC (or WOC), is usually in Europe so any money spent traveling to the US for the trials will be somewhat offset by savings getting to the actual event should they qualify.

2. I like the idea of including ranking score in the selection process. It shows a certain amount of consistency but more importantly it usually indicates that the individual has been to more than one A-meet so has at least some experience in different terrains. And, it is the different terrains and different conditions thing that proponents of a single selection trial are ignoring. Different folks are better in different terrains and no matter how similar you may think the trial terrain is, when you actually get to JWOC (or WOC, or whatever), it will be different and it's those people that adjust that will do the best.

As an aside, I remember one member of the JWOC team a couple years ago that had never orienteered in the rain. That person certainly deserved to be on the team but my point is that experience in different terrains under different conditions is important and that is best reflected in the ranking and not a single trails event.
Dec 14, 2016 6:42 PM # 
@LisaF It is pretty difficult to get good at orienteering without doing quite a lot of it, preferably in a variety of terrains. I don't think anybody would argue that it is equally easy to get this sort of experience in all parts of the country. But I think you are either overstating the difficulties of getting to a few A-meets each year from, say, Georgia, where it looks as if you do much of your orienteering, or maybe not thinking about some of the possibilities. First, there is the annual Georgia Navigators Cup locally, then there is annually the Flying Pig event in the Cincinnati area which is only about a 7-hour drive from Atlanta (we took a 10-hour drive to the Flying Pig many years when my son was younger, usually with 5-7 people in the van depending on how many of his friends and their parents from our club wanted to go along. With a 10-hr drive it is possible to leave after work on Friday, and get back to be at work or school on Monday, and camping is pretty cheap.). QOC most years has an A-meet in the DC area, which is at about a 10 hour drive from Atlanta. SLOC presents possibilities some years, again more or less 7 hour drive. Carpooling can cut costs and make the drives more fun. (I might note from my experience of having a daughter that played ice hockey that the driving may add up to a lot less per year than you may experience from having a kid on a travel team in many other club sports, where the drives may be somewhat shorter to individual events, but may come almost every weekend for periods of months at a time, not to mention several times a week of midweek practice sessions). If you think ahead, a family vacation may well be incorporated into the time frame of some A-meet orienteering. Certainly our family went out to several editions of the RMOC 1000 days events, and my son went to several more that the rest of us didn't go to, often with transportation provided by other orienteers. Those are during the summer, so don't involve days off from school, though may have an impact on family vacation time from employers. I think that most of the training camps to which I took my son involved taking along other kids in the car. I know that I and many other orienteers have picked up kids (and sometimes adults) to provide transportation from airports to meet sites. All of this is easier if others in the family are enthusiastic orienteers, or if there is a significant orienteering community nearby that can help sharing transportation issues, and if the distances are closer, but I think enough interest can find solutions. Looked at from a cost and time standpoint, I can say that a parent living in my area should be delighted to have a child excited about orienteering rather than ice hockey!
Dec 14, 2016 6:46 PM # 
With regards to training camps, I am organizing a training camp aimed at juniors in Prince William Forest in Virginia, the weekend of March 11-12. The training camp will involve three training sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday, and should be included on Erin's training camp list for 2017. I guarantee high quality terrain, maps, training exercises, and coaching.

Any and all juniors from Georgia are very welcome!
Dec 14, 2016 7:14 PM # 
@BorisGr - send me the info on your camp. I will post it to our Facebook page.

@edwarddes - I just looked at the 'A' meets. There are currently a grand total of just 7 A meets scheduled for 2017.

I will take up the discussion with our Officers. I have in the past and the general consensus what that it was not worth the effort to the club.

I would love to get some of our local meet days in to the rankings. However the requirements on the club will have to be minimal.

I will follow up with you via an email.

@eldersmith For our 2016 - 2017 schedule we have 28 local meet days scheduled. Two of which are two day meets. In addition FLO has 20 and VOC has another 5 local meet days. That is in addition to the 3 sanctioned days for the Georgia Navigator.

That is a lot of Orienteering. That may help to explain why SEIS schools have won 5 of last 6 national championships.

I would put my kids against any kids in the country any day. I get the impression that is exactly what some do not want.
Dec 14, 2016 8:38 PM # 
@edwarddes - it's a great idea for the future to have more meets, but on the ground right now juniors are locked out of JNT, how to address the immediate issue?

@Pinksocks - great idea about using the community, but gets iffy when juniors are involved - from the Orienteering USA Junior Safety Handbook "one-to-one interactions should be minimized to create a safe environment and to protect athletes". And in the event of illness or injury or stranded juniors, what happens then? When the juniors traveled to Europe we were required to sign a Power of Attorney.

@eldersmith - Yes, I've done that trip to the Flying Pig - the one a few years ago turned into a 12 hour marathon due to driving from Athens, GA. The intent was to overnight in KY, but then we ran into 'no rooms at the inn' all up and down I-75 - apparently the people attending Keeneland are very passionate and there are so many of them. But what about juniors from south of Atlanta or Florida? The drive then becomes even more of a marathon.

@carlch Could there be a different way to encourage training on varying terrain and conditions besides using the flawed rankings? Most interesting condition for me was after a controlled burn where a control didn't make it - that one was hard to find.
Dec 14, 2016 8:38 PM # 
... there is annually the Flying Pig event in the Cincinnati area which is only about a 7-hour drive from Atlanta

Conversely, Mike Minium has been pretty consistently bringing a group of OCIN/TROL juniors to the GNC for as long as I can remember. What would it take for GAOC to get a cadre of their top juniors to the Pig on an annual basis?

Plus, the Pig always offers at least 3 rankable races -- 4 in 2017 (now sanctioned). Add them to the 3 that will be offered at the GNC, and you have up to 7 races on which to be ranked. Kids who cant make more than 2 days of each event should still be able to get 5 races.
Dec 14, 2016 9:16 PM # 
We should be looking forward trying to solving deficiencies in a region instead of looking backward and building our program around those deficiencies. The junior program under Erin is moving in a direction that he feels is going to produce the best athletes and the best program, and we should trust him with that, and help him implement his vision if we want success.
If a region is short on events, or training camps, or funding that it needs to have its athletes make the team, and it thinks its athletes are great, then focus all your efforts on having more ranking events and training camps, or fundraising, or finding ways for them to travel to other areas and be exposed to different terrain.
Instead of spending all this effort here debating the criteria, lets help as many people as we can meet them. If someone shows up to team trials and is orienteering great but hasn't been to enough events, or training camps, then it is up to us to trust the selection committee and junior coach to make decisions about petitions that they feel helps the athletes development and make the best team now and in the future.

No matter what the sport is, the way to be picked for a team is to jump through all the hoops required leading up to the trials to show you are prepared, committed, and able to follow through on the requirements of the team, and then to perform well enough that you are not on the bubble of being selected, but are clearly so much better than everyone else that the selectors will pick you.
Dec 14, 2016 9:31 PM # 
What Erin et al. are developing with the JNT and JDT is awesome. The requirements for becoming a member of these groups are, in my opinion, reasonable. I believe for those who can do it, it most likely offers the highest probability for success.

However, I find it unreasonable to tie JNT membership to earning a spot on JWOC team. How an athlete trains and prepares for elite competition is up to them and they should not be punished or eliminated for taking a different path, whatever their reason. Whether others find the JNT/JDT path to offer better odds for success and whether others think the requirements are not a huge burden, is beside the point. Every athlete deserves the right to make their own decisions for how to get to the JWOC. While the JNT/JDT may, on average, develop better orienteers, ultimately, to get to JWOC let the athletes run and decide the results themselves.

Regarding costs and burdens and what is reasonable or not I offer the following: I am involved with a rowing club that offers financial aid to juniors to participate in our program; I review their applications. Some of the athletes applying for aid have very difficult family circumstances be it single-parent households, health issues, limited income, etc. I've seen aid applications with *family* incomes less than $30k. At the same time, the athletes are committed, driven, and craving opportunities to succeed. Every season I am humbled by what these young people are able to accomplish while coming from less than picture perfect circumstances. In my opinion, it is indeed hubris to assume $200 is not so much, that just getting to the airport is no big deal, and that even owning a $70 compass or a GPS watch is something anyone can do.

However, unlike my rowing club, OUSA and the JNT are not "community outreach" programs. Further, the latter is specifically to promote elite competition and, in my opinion, that is proper. And to be clear, I don't believe earning a spot on the JWOC team should make performance allowances based on life circumstances. Competition should decide who makes the JWOC team. So, while I have the deepest respect and admiration for both the intentions and efforts of all who are working to improve junior orienteering, to tie inclusion in the JNT to earning a spot on the JWOC team is, in my opinion, ignoring the realities of the spectrum of athlete's life circumstances and exclusionary.

In sum, do what you like with the JNT and JDT. For qualifying for JWOC, simply let them run. You are over engineering it.

Just some thoughts from the bleachers.
Dec 14, 2016 10:27 PM # 
A couple of comments:


I just looked at the 'A' meets. There are currently a grand total of just 7 A meets scheduled for 2017.

This seems to be a problem that has increased since the transition from disseminating meet info by magazine to relying on the web. Not that meet numbers are lower, though maybe they are. But that here we are at the end of 2016 and the published 2017 schedule is missing meets that are in various stages of planning and we "know" are going to happen. I don't know what the best solution is but rather than leaving meets out of the schedule until they are fully sanctioned, maybe meets that are past some threshold planning level could be put on the calendar in italics and with a big asterisk to show that they are in sanctioning.

Yes, there is also the Planning Calendar, but last time I looked even West Point was not listed there.


There have been some comments about the validity of using the ranking numbers. This reminded me that a few(?) years ago I saw where Barb (and Barb, correct me if I mis-state this) had been doing some number crunching on the ranking results, and showed that the ranking numbers for any particular day on F20 were significantly skewed one way or the other depending on whether one particular M50 runner had run that day on green .vs. red. I'm wondering if this weakness in the system has been corrected for since that time or if it's still an issue of concern.
Dec 14, 2016 11:10 PM # 
@fossil - yes, a few years ago I thought we had pretty much that demonstrated the Ranking scores were problematic.

I recreate the ranking system. I was able to match OUSA results exactly.

Once I did that, I started playing with the inputs. I found that by selectively removing runners from a race you could sway the results as much as 15 point (that was an extreme example), but a 5 points spread was easily achievable.

I believe Barb's analysis was based on head to head competition vs expectations based on the ranking scores.
Dec 14, 2016 11:35 PM # 
@fossil, and others, relevant to events on the calendar.

The OUSA website includes this major events page, which includes all the sanctioned events plus any other major events *that I hear about,* so definitely send me an email if you are planning a major (typically a goat-length or multi-day) event, noting that Rogaines have a separate schedule page. If you plan the event and just post it on Attackpoint, I may or may not pick up on it, but emailing me will get my attention.

I have not been proactive at checking the "planning calendar" because it's not updated often enough, but if folks send me info (as West Point did a day or so ago), I'll post it on that page pending sanctioning.
Dec 15, 2016 12:03 AM # 
IMO, what we observe is the natural stage in development of "Junior National Team"--attempt to monopolize, to create a barrier for outsiders.
The fact that their coach is a competent one does not give these rights.
In fact I can easily imagine equally competent coaches in say Atlanta or Seattle or DC area, supported by local clubs, to offer similar development opportunities, financially realistic ones, for their juniors. The reality of a huge-size country is that bulk of the training has to be done locally, this centralized team is not financially viable in the long run, better spend effort on developing a few regional "centers", say Atlanta can attract local juniors from the whole SouthEast to their local two-day meets. Trial race is really the only fair way to select the team for World Champs.
BTW, travel across the country is not much less than flying from GB or Spain.
Just organize the trial race with care.

No one argues that those who have stomach to endure the agenda that goes along with the training, and time, and money to travel, should be welcome to participate in the group coached by Mr. Schirm, but do not let it turn into another ugly monopoly, so no "extra points". Trial race will show what it was worth.
Orienteering is inherently an individual sport, that "team-building" coming from NBA/NFL mentality, or maybe thinking of some kind of militarized exercise, is not appropriate.
Dec 15, 2016 12:04 AM # 
Wow, thank you Janet! Somehow I never found that particular page before. This is great!

Looking back at the events page, I think maybe i missed it because it's a heading with 2 entries beneath it. At least to my eye it would stand out more if it were a 3rd entry in that list under the Foot orienteering events heading.
Dec 15, 2016 12:23 AM # 
Also, Bob, I'm not sure if we're talking about the same analysis, but the one I saw was showing how one old guy with fast legs had significant impact on the F20 rankings, depending on whether he ran the same course as them or a different one.

That this guy could affect JWOC selections in this way seems at least a bit problematic, which is why I mentioned it.
Dec 15, 2016 1:16 AM # 
Lots of individual sports engage in "team building" - for example, alpine skiing (I have two Olympic contacts, male & female, who could serve as a consultants as they have moved from junior, to development members, to traveling team, to the Olympics, to now retirement & coaching juiniors). There is GREAT value in "team building" to help with training, expectations, community, communication with peers who understand what you are striving for, friendship, familiarity when it comes to traveling to events and eventually JWOC which is key as individual expectations & pressures mount, etc. As an educator I can not stress enough the importance of these kinds of relationships for youth in athletics and life not to mention it greatly improves desire to compete, travel to events, and continue with the sport at all.
Dec 15, 2016 1:25 AM # 
Engaging on AP as a diverse group of people from a variety of farflung locations is an act of informal "team building" based on the common interest of a particular sport that enhances all of our enjoyment and willingness to travel to events to see the friends we have made.
Dec 15, 2016 2:20 AM # 
Australia is pretty big too, one state is even an island. I don't recall anywhere near as much hand-wringing when selecting our JWOC teams which have included juniors from every state, including isolated Western Australia. Perhaps Australia's process is more simple?
Dec 15, 2016 2:43 AM # 
Tooms, the obvious question that I and I suspect other have is what Australia's process is? Sounds like an opportunity to learn what works for Australia and see what may be applicable elsewhere.
Dec 15, 2016 4:42 AM # 
Tooms, I think you need to wait until the JWOC selection becomes a salient family issue for yourself. Speaking as a parent who went through the agony of waiting for the selection decision at the end of six Easter carnivals, my impression of the process was that it was opaque and subjective. There was a selection panel and they made decisions. Their decisions did not always match the results of the Easter carnival. I was told on more than one occasion that one good race and three less than good races was better than an overall performance. I was also told that objective selection criteria did not leave enough leeway for the selectors to pick the best team. In 2007 I was able to leave the carnival before the presentations and selection announcements, and it was a blessed relief. I would not recommend the Australian process as I experienced it. Maybe it has changed since then, but I have pointedly avoided finding out.
Dec 15, 2016 5:42 AM # 
Agree with Invis. Australia's (and Ireland's) have subjective selection processes and often lack transparency. In general if a competitor knew in good time what to train for and what performance was needed then whether subjective or objective at least the competitor should not be disappointed with the outcome.
Dec 15, 2016 7:34 AM # 
Same round here. There's so much grizzling that I wonder whether we should just have a big vote on who should be in the team. Then nobody could complain about the result. Could they?
Dec 15, 2016 7:49 AM # 
Ireland's has been mixed. Win a selection race (or in the past come second) and you were automatically on the team. It seemed to work. One or two questionable decisions about race allocation over the years, but on balance it has been very good.

The reality of a huge-size country is that bulk of the training has to be done locally, this centralized team is not financially viable in the long run, better spend effort on developing a few regional "centers", say Atlanta can attract local juniors from the whole SouthEast to their local two-day meets.
That's another positive contribution, yurets. What's going on? ;p

There are clearly smart and good people on both sides of the discussion. I thought when Erin's remit was defined that it was way overly ambitious [thinking, as I still do, that regional development makes much more sense] but I've been positively surprised. I'd let their proposed system run for a year or three. If you have talented juniors in your area not in the NE, get in touch with Erin and discuss how they can train and prepare and compete even without fulfilling all the JNT listed requirements. I believe Erin and team want to pull people in, not to exclude.
Dec 15, 2016 9:32 AM # 
I've certainly heard of appeals (petitions) to our process, but from the outside I guess it never seems as fraught unless your own little darling, or athlete, is feeling hard done by. I like Eoin's summation. Get given clear expectations, then train for it. If the selection trial is on unfamiliar terrain, tough, prepare for it.
Dec 15, 2016 10:59 AM # 
I've been involved with appeals, and they haven't been fun. Part of the reason why Australia has gone towards using results from more races than just the main Easter trials, for JWOC selection, is to take the pressure off the selectors - as well as to get a more consistent picture of the JWOC contenders' performance abilities.
Jan 6, 2018 11:18 PM # 
So where'd this end up? In 2017, I think some people (one, more?) were (subjectively) moved up to JNT, and then, fortunately, by the time of the JWOC trials, all of the top finishers were starting from a 100 point base, and moving up from there.

But did we fix the rule? E.g. what if a top JDT competitor, who's applied to JNT, and signed all the relevant agreements, is, for whatever reason, is not popular enough with the JNT selectors - and yet wins or otherwise does great at the JWOC Trials this March near Sacramento - are they still disqualified from JWOC?
Jan 7, 2018 2:49 AM # 
I would also really like to see an answer to Wyatt's question.
Jan 7, 2018 3:35 AM # 
Just to be clear - I think the system worked fine in 2017 - and the 'subjective' promotion(s) we're quite reasonable.

But I'd love to be able to tell a top JDT competitors that if they train hard, and kick a** at the JWOC trials, then they can go to JWOC - but it's not clear if I can say that with confidence.

Perhaps I should be first pointing them to a JNT standards rubric - e.g. including attending more A-events where their rankings would help provide evidence - and suggest they periodically reapply for JDT->JNT promotion?
Jan 7, 2018 1:52 PM # 
fortunately, by the time of the JWOC trials, all of the top finishers were starting from a 100 point base, and moving up from there.

Without even going back to review the results, the problem with this conclusion is it's referring to JWOC trials attendees. What we don't know is how many juniors chose not to even attend the trials because they didn't have the 100 JNT points.

Discouraging trials attendance by JDT members is the one downside I can see to the current scoring system. Not having a large number of juniors to begin with, I would think that getting as many as possible to show up at trials would be a good thing. Not just for the current year but for succeeding years as well when this year's JWOC team has aged out. Starting them off with a 100 point deficit is not an encouragement and I'm sure some kids didn't show up just because of that.
Jan 7, 2018 9:08 PM # 
My understanding from some offline discussions is the US Jr.'s path to JWOC is, by intent, a 2 step process:

1) Earn a place on the JNT.
- Eligibility is spelled out here:
and (I think) you're welcome to re-apply once you think you've reached this, (or at least petition at JWOC trials.) The standards are not especially strict (certainly by international standards) and there's no JNT size limit - so if you're interested in JWOC, and not yet on the JNT - read this, work to meet & beat these standards, and get yourself promoted to JNT.

2) Among the JNT members, race well (and otherwise score highly) at the JWOC Trials.

This is - for much discussed reasons, and difficult choices made by volunteers - thanks you - intentionally different from the WOC trials process (where 3(?) slots are selected entirely based on a single weekend of race results.)

This is the process clarity I was looking for.
Jan 8, 2018 2:55 AM # 
Thanks for the post Wyatt.

Generally JTESC has decided not to respond to official questions about the junior program on AP. We will use it mainly to make announcements. Questions about the junior program, JWOC, etc can be directed to

Wyatt's recap is very accurate. If anyone has philosophical questions about JTESC's decisions or concerns about athletes making the JWOC team or about the process please email me or the email above. Thanks

This discussion thread is closed.