Dear Orienteering USA community,
At the coming board meeting at O in the Oaks, the board will be discussing a proposal by the Sport Working Group about restructuring our National Events. The board will not be voting on this, simply discussing this proposal to try and come up with the best possible solution(s) to the existing perceived problems. If you would like to take a look at the proposal, it is attached as a powerpoint presentation. We welcome your comments, either via email or at the board meeting in person!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
VP of Competition
The presentation doesn't say it, but I assume this only applies to Foot-O? (Hate that term, but I can't think of anything better.) Ski-O, MTB-O, and Trail-O aren't mentioned.
In general, I like it. Regarding relays, I wish more people had come last weekend, it was great fun. But then I wouldn't have gotten a medal.
We were specifically working on Foot-O issues, but I think a lot of it can apply to the other disciplines as well, at least in branding all of our championships in each discipline consistently.
There aren't really any national events in any of the other disciplines outside of their championships, but that would be good to change, and to be structured similarly.
Some great ideas in there. I like the idea of changing to a junior/elite/master format.
I hope that the IC/IS team competition aspect will remain, however, whether part of the junior national championship or as a separate event. It's a powerful motivator to travel when a school or a club is putting together a team. I'm pretty sure that most of the QOC and DVOA athletes and their families would not have traveled for IS this year if it had been an individual competition rather than a team event.
One thought on definitions. Some local events have 350-400 participants, so I'm not sure it's a valid assumption that all regional events will be <200 participants. I wasn't sure from the phrasing of the bullet if having a larger event would disqualify it from being a regional event.
I've suggested that the proposed national championship (SML) go to fifteen year age categories for those older than elite. (I'd leave the proposed masters championship (two day classic) with the five year, since i actually just don't care about this format.). Only split into smaller categories if the start window won't accommodate the fifteen year category.
(Personally, it seems crazy to split up limited competition at our national championships, and feels odd to run on the same course but different category from someone only a few years different in age and same sex.)
What do others in these categories think?
I don't get the comments about age groups in the national championships, and the distinction from Masters championships. Masters championships ARE the nationals for the older folks. Is the proposal now suggest two sets of championships if you are older?
Am I not reading this right? National championships should be only for the Elite class (rest are running a normal A meet), or combined with the juniors/masters if club has chosen so/approved so.
I understood the proposal (see the link) as a renaming of our SML championships as the Nationals, emphasis on elite but all categories offered, and a renaming of the two day classic championships as the Masters, as well as a renaming of the Interscholastic/Intercollegiate championships as the Junior Nationals.
From the proposal:
All age classes championships
Emphasis on 35+ classes
Courses offered for everyone, but only masters get the medals"
So is this a way not to deal with the elephant in the room (classic championships)?
The proposed change makes it even more confusing than the current situation. get rid of the Classic name but keep the watered down perception of National Championships with labeling them both as such.
Elites now will not have Classic national championships anymore, but juniors and masters will. Except they will now be called Masters Nationals and will be existing along the Age group nationals. Why? There is a proposal and opportunity to simplify and align US Orienteering with the rest of the world (I guess that's mostly Europe, but still) and we muddy the water even more.
Its a step in the right direction that the elite classes don't have that anymore, but can we just call the two day classic event some super duper flashy name (Ford Masters Invitational Tesla Cup Prestigious Event Name ) and drop the nationals name?
Re: Junior Nationals... The proposal suggest elevating the IS/IC to a Nationals level event. But what about the National Championships that already have all age groups.
The whole proposed structure goes against solving the problems 1 and 2 laid down at the beginning of it. Now we are elevating another set of events as nationals. The IS/IC should also be a clear step down from the S/M/L Championships. Again call it something flashy find/attach sponsors and promote it, but keep it as the Next tier down. That will help in solving both problems 1 and 2
Overall I really like the proposals in the presentation.
One question I have, however, is why are the Masters championships only "classic" (translation = "long", if I understand correctly)? I would still like to see Masters runners able to compete for Middle and Sprint in nat'l Masters champs, not just classic/long.
Everything else looks great to me. Thanks to whoever is working on this and putting it together.
The IS/IC already IS a "Nationals level event". What's being proposed is more or less a name change.
As for age groups, if they use 5-year groups in Europe, I see no reason not to keep using them here...
@Vector, the Nationals (would it be called that, or the American Orienteering Championships, or some such?) would be SML, and have championships in all age categories. So, personally I'd just go to the SML championships (the Nationals), and ignore the Masters (two day classic). Someone will be named national champion in M50, and someone at the Masters will be named national masters champion in M50.
As i wrote in an email to Alex, i think the proposals are good overall. The result is at least a bit less confusing than now.
Noting that the UK has the very popular Jan Kjellstrom Cup, branding an event something other than National Championship isn't unreasvonable. Other examples of well known non championship event brands include Billygoat, Highlander, Flying Pig, Possum Trot. Maybe name the two day classic event after some founder of American orienteering. Or after an animal.
Clearly, this is something of an aspirational rather than a blocking and tackling plan. The notion seems to be if you establish high standards, you will find what you seek. However, I'd be afraid that the expectations for National Championship Events will make a bad problem worse. But, I guess we will find out. Maybe demand pull (of a sort) works.
There are some great ideas here about encouraging more clubs to do big events and making it easy. But there are a few I find disturbing as well.
The opportunity to win medals in five year increments is a big motivator to me. Before we consider changing them to 10 or 15 year increments, the impact on recruitment and retention of major volunteers should be considered.
Personally, I like having lots of championship events. I usually have timing conflicts with some, but enjoy making the ones I can. In concept, I really don't care much either way about either keeping or dropping the classic "elephant", although I confess to enjoying the two day total time format. And having both classic and SML is nice - if I can't make it to the SML or North Americans, there's one more BIG event I can run in. But I understand the desire to just have one national championship.
I'm definitely a fan of the specialty championships (night, ultralong, relay). I would be most distressed if those were to disappear. They have a unique character and appeal.
I find the argument that anyone is somehow diminished by having too many championships or too many age groups absolutely ridiculous. Personally, I will be diminished if events I enjoy participating, and having the occasional opportunity for a medal, are taken away. If you think there are too many classes, just compare yourself to the whole course. If you beat everyone that's 10 years older or younger than you, whoopee for you! But don't take away the opportunity for the next tier of ability to also take home some pride. If we ever succeed in really growing participation in the sport, numbers alone will make those medals more precious and difficult to earn.
As far as the arena concept, it's cool when you can do it. But the number one consideration must be quality courses in quality terrain. If a spectator friendly arena is not practical, that should not preclude using the most interesting terrain with the best possible courses of appropriate challenge and difficulty. If the course planning suffers due to the desire for an arena, then ditch the arena. When planning a major event, I always look for arena and spectator possibilities, but we must not let that be the most important driver of site selection and course planning.
As far as limiting championship events to particular months or seasons, and doing the same thing every year, it just does not make sense in a country with the geographic and climate diversity of the United States. If you want clubs around the country to be able to host, you have to be flexible to fit into their best seasons. Hunting and seasonal land access also are big factors in when clubs can host events. Orienteering is about adaptability. Don't give me the phoney baloney about planning to train and prepare for a particular race at a particular time of year. If championships are announced a year in advance, you can plan ahead for it regardless of the month in which it happens to fall. Part of the great potential for orienteering in the USA is our diversity of terrain - we want national championships in the complex glacial sediments of Minnesota and Wisconsin; the subtle contours of Florida, the intricate rocky terrain of New England, the fast open forests of the high elevations of Colorado and Wyoming, the unique desert terrain of Arizona, and the rugged mountain forest of the Pacific coast. Limiting championships to a single month or two will mean many of these places can never host a championship.
The board needs to be focused on how to grow the sport and increase participation. Encouraging clubs to have more and bigger events, and simplifying the process contributes positively toward this goal. Cutting the number of events we call championships, and restricting when they can be held (and thus who can host them) is entirely counter-productive.
I'm in a completely different place from Mike as far as the attitude toward the size of age groups is concerned. I argued for 15-year categories for a long time, although that's based on our current course structure, and 10-year categories as they use in Canada (or did last I checked) would also be an improvement. But I gave up that fight, and will just go with whatever is there, although personally, when I run Red, I choose the category where any male Masters runner can come and meet me: M35.
But I'm in agreement that restricting the time of year for events is improper. It's centered in the thinking of someone from a particular part of the country. Go to Georgia, Texas, or Arizona, and you'll see that an entirely different time of year would make sense.
I'm in the too many medals, too many championships camp. In general I like most of the elements of the proposal presented.
I'd be all for limiting the awards to the focus group - at Junior Nationals, only juniors get awards, other 'spectator' classes offered, ranking points awarded, but leave the focus in 'winning' to the juniors at 'their' champs. Ditto for masters and elite champs.
I agree elite champs should be SML format to match international standard. For masters, although I enjoy the 2-day classic, I'd give the organizers discretion to offer either format.
15 year age bands at the masters level seems appropriate to me - master, vet, supervet - until the sport reaches a size where smaller bands are required to fit a start window.
Night, relay, ultralong - I like all of these, but don't see the need to make national Champs out of them. Encourage organizers to add more of these in conjunction with national and regional ranking event weekends, but don't make them championships in their own right.
So.. more rankable races, including making some regional favorites like the billygoat into rankable entities, but curtail the championships to a singular pinnacle event for each age band. Juniors in spring to coordinate with typical academic calendars, elite in the fall and masters flexible as far as scheduling goes.
And to the point of excluding regions by defining elites as a fall thing - are there really any regions that are left out if the window for elite championships were to fall in the Sep-Dec timeframe? Seems southern areas could go in Dec, northern could go in early Sept and still avoid seasonal issues that dictate scheduling dates.
Sprints - I like sprints... aside from the S in SML, any ideas to encourage more sprints at the regional/national ranking level? Sprints also lend themselves to arena / spectating opportunities and sprint relays could serve as a catalyst for more exciting inclusion of relays across the calendar. I'd love to see a Jukola/Tomila type event in the US, but don't think the critical mass is there to do that successfully. But build interest in relays with high visibility sprint relays and you may eventually build that mass.
I'm thinking of scheduling more in terms of the competitors than of the hosts. For southerners, an early fall event is when they're coming out of the unpleasant weather season, and thus unfortunate scheduling for the showcase event year after year.
Could we build up sufficient interest in a Jukola/Tiomila/25manna event in North America every five years? Maybe it needs even longer legs so that Rogaine/AR folks can take those legs, leaving fewer overnight legs that need filling. It'll never be as big as those events (quite a bit smaller at best), but it still could be fun. Maybe the middle of a summer orienteering week, with test days on either side, so that people are recovered by the time they get home? Center it around where people will be camped for the week anyway?
If the only Masters championship were two day classic, i likely wouldn't come, as I dislike the format that much. (Pretty much any other format i like, Sprint, Muddle, one day Long, Night, Relay, twelve hour Rogaine, even sometimes Ultra Long.) But some people like two day classic. Could we just rebrand the main two day classic as the Intrepid Antelope Classic or Harald Wibye Two Day or something, and SML is the nationals for elite and masters? Or just keep both events as championships with the proposed names, and people attend whichever they like. I suspect that's why this compromise was suggested.
@cmorse, the suggested timeframe for Nationals is Sep-Oct, which is indeed narrow enough to eliminate some terrain and also awkward timing for some. I don't know if it's a real concern from a practical standpoint, though, so I'm curious to know whether clubs were polled about this and the results. Specifically, clubs in TX, AZ, GA, FL, KS, MO, CO, ID, CA. I guess even WA and OR might feel a bit excluded.
I think the timeframe might be related to getting junior events into junior-friendly time periods? There are definitely challenges around spring break, finals weeks, etc.
I recall that Houston held a US championship in October once? Am i recalling wrong? Having lived there, September is out due to heat and humidity, but October seems possible. It would be good to hear from orienteers in those areas on this topic.
I live in one of those areas, where we can only train in the woods ( and host events) from Nov to Mar. I oppose the idea of single time frames for any event. Under the current system, there are some years where the champs falls at a good time for me, and some years where it does not. I can live with that variability. Under the proposed system, I will be at a disadvantage every year for the Nationals. And the proposed time frame would prohibit us from ever hosting the Nationals.
I do like some ideas in the proposal. And I do think we are proposing a "build it and they will come" model to try to grow coverage of our national events. This is probably too optimistic, but we can try anything and see what happens.
IMO, the best part of the proposal is enabling more events to be used for ranking. As always, though, the devil is in the details...
Viewed from the outside, the Classic Champs have history and romance attached. Be aware of that as you ditch them.
From a tiny place (5m ppl, 1000mi end to end) which almost came to blows over the timing of its national champs, I wish you well:-)
It would be very disappointing to have Junior and Masters Champs that are not in the SML format, which is the now the standard internationally. (Am I reading this right?) This means there would be no Sprint or Middle Champions for Masters or Juniors. A major step backwards. We need to be encouraging more Sprint and Middle Specialists, not eliminating their national titles. Could someone in the working group explain the rationale for this?
Makes me think of how NOC / NOM was ditched for that Nordic tour. Sad.
There's nothing that says that the two races can't be long and middle instead of classic-classic. In 2014 and 2016, the host club also offered a separate Friday sprint with separate unofficial awards. A potential solution is to add an official sprint champs on Friday and keep the 2-day-total time format for the team championships, but design the courses to long and middle standards. Individual awards could either remain total time (long plus middle) or be separated.
Ah, the Classic Champs. I remember when that event was the largest event in North America. Each year everyone showed up to try their luck at becoming THE champion of the country in their age group. Even making the podium was a challenge. The two day format meant that you really had to be the best to win. Being lucky on one day wasn't good enough. And if you led after the first day, you had to sleep on it hoping you could maintain it on day two. A victory there was sweet.
Then along came the elephant in the room, the SML, and the stage was set for a not yet ended battle. We must have SML champs only, as that is the world standard(well, not at WMOC) and not doing that will be a major step backwards in the development of the sport of orienteering(perhaps the world will end?). People started calling the historic and romantic classic champs the elephant in the room(Gasp). The purity of the sport was going to be killed by a non conforming US Champs classic format(oh NO!!) that had been used for 3+decades. Even some prominent Canadians chimed in to proclaim our classic champs was a farce that needed to be put to rest(having it in a country next to theirs was more than they could bare?).
The OUSA board could not decide which one to use(think $$$$), so we had 2 champs and lots of champions. There are 4+ national champions every year in every age group and no one even knows who they are. But they are all champions in their own minds. They ran at an event against maybe 3+ others(less in some categories) and won. But that doesn't diminish the value of their award, does it?
The multiple championships cut the field size, as some would attend one of the champs, others the other. Neither event is now the largest in North America. The competition at both events got weaker. And the battle of SML vs. Classic rages on....
But I gave up that fight, and will just go with whatever is there, although personally, when I run Red, I choose the category where any male Masters runner can come and meet me: M35.
I'm more interesting than that guy.
Thanks for all the responses. We appreciate the feedback, as the point of putting this out here is to garner feedback and ways to improve this proposal. To address some of the immediate concerns -
- Master Nationals (or whatever it may end up being called) is still a two-day classic event. Is it the name that people find important, or the format? We felt that it was the format that was important to maintain.
- The proposal currently is calling for all age classes to have a championship at Nationals; it sounds like from the feedback that this is important to keep in there. Geoman and Vector, sounds like we just need to clarify the wording of that bit, because the intent is to have an age group for everyone at Nationals.
- Timing - I'm hearing that we ought to be cautious of having too narrow a window for the Junior Nationals and Nationals, especially in the fall. Sounds like either shifting the window to be October-November, or just widening it to be September-December could work for clubs who need that flexibility. I haven't yet heard an argument to do away with consistent timing entirely from this proposal. The key thing, of course, is what Mike touches on - if an event is announced early enough, there can be exceptions to any rule.
- Yes, this proposal is only for foot orienteering
- Master Nationals vs Nationals - I agree, this is a little unclear and perhaps worth overhauling more drastically. Right now that plan is indeed to have two sets of National Championships for masters athletes, with all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the two-day event. I do agree that the suggestion to not call it Master Nationals but rather name it after something or someone else, like Invitational xc meets, is a good one. We'll certainly think on this.
- Age classes - I think that is a question that should be answered at another time. I don't think the SWG will be opening that can of worms in this proposal.
bgr wrote: There are 4+ national champions every year in every age group and no one even knows who they are.
You can find out here:
US Orienteering Champions
(Not yet updated to reflect this past weekend's Ultralong Champs.)
Neither event is now the largest in North America. The competition at both events got weaker. And the battle of SML vs. Classic rages on....
The split between SML and Classic is not why the competition is weaker.
If you add the two events together from 2016 (~225 at SML, ~375 at Classic), the resulting combined attendance is nowhere near the largest orienteering event in North America (1000+)
AFAIK, consistent timing has not been an issue for the IS/IC Champs (future Junior Nationals). In fact it has probably been the most consistent of bid events, just because of the nature of the competition. I can't remember it ever being held outside of mid-Feb - late April.
Ok, a more thorough response!
I like the approach here, identifying the problems and targeted solutions.
I like the idea of there being one junior-focused championship event! I like the idea of combining IS and IC. I've long been an advocate of this: one, it's not that much harder to do both together organizationally; two, it's good for the junior community; and three, it may help bridge the IS-to-IC gap by physically showing the IS kids that you can still orienteer in college (ie: combining the two may help increase IC participation in the future).
I'm curious if there are any suggested mechanics for the individual and team days? Are the two days mutually exclusive? (ie: the "individual" day is a single championship race, and the results of this day have zero scoring impact for teams?). Or do both days have a team scoring element? (ie: the "individual" day crowns both the individual champions AND counts for team scoring like track, and the "team" day is a relay day that also counts for team scoring like track & field). Or, would the team day follow the adventure running playbook and have teammates competing together at the same time?
CascadeOC is planning to rebrand our one-day WIOL Championship event in 2018 to a two-day Northwest Regionals, and we're thinking of how to format the weekend. Our plan is to have an individual day and a relay day. Individual awards are earned on the individual day, obviously, but we're still thinking about how to score the teams (relay only? or relay plus scores from the individual day?)
I like the idea of the 3 events focusing on different age groups, like JWOC, WOC, and WMOC. I like that it's a SML to mirror WOC. I tend to agree with a lot of others in this thread about the window being too narrow for the broad range of terrains and climates in the US. Classic Champs in 2007 was in November in Virginia. Individual Champs in 2016 was in March in California.
I understand the reason to align with an IOF calendar, but with the sport shrinking in the US, I think adding scheduling constraints like this may result in fewer championship hosting bids. In order to help the sport grow, I think we need to be more open about when and where we organize our capstone event. With the current situation, I think we need to give the most scheduling authority to the clubs (who are doing the heavy lifting), and less to competitors who may have seasonal conflicts. Once we get a place where we have more options, we can revisit the championship schedule.
I like the theory of there being a masters-focused event, but I don't know if this implementation accomplishes this. I'm competing as a master now, but I'm also relatively new to orienteering (first national meet in 2005), so most of my career has been in the SML era. I don't have a nostalgic attachment to the two-day classic, and my two favorite disciplines are the sprint and middle. So under the restructuring, I really wouldn't have a desire to attend the weekend championships that's targeted to me. I'd rather attend Nationals, which kinda goes against the point of the restructuring.
This doesn't really solve the championship abundance problem. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't. If you want a truly masters-focused event, then you'd only have championships at one of them, not both. If you remove the masters medals from Nationals, then you will have an attendance problem (an overwhelming majority of national meet attendees are masters, many of whom are admitted medal chasers). If you offer medals at both, then you're diluting the fields at each, and you're losing sight of the primary objective of a masters-focused event (but hey, medal chasers are happy!).
Free Ranking Events
I don't see much chatter (yet) against this proposal. I like the idea of having fewer championships but more ranking days. All of the reasons you list make sense. At CascadeOC, we'd strongly consider this format for the individual day of the Northwest Regional IS that I mentioned earlier. There could be more diversity in events: (eg: a night ranking event, or an ultra-long).
I don't have any disagreements here. I like consistency, I like arena production, I like modeling after WOC, I like branding.
I might blow this up and start from scratch. There were just 6 (six!) championship-eligible club teams at relays in 2017. There were no events in 2015 and 2016, and I don't remember much outrage that there weren't any relays. There just doesn't seem to be any momentum for national club relays.
When I was doing research for this post, I found the historical relay results
, which corroborate the orienteering-is-aging trend.
1985: Orienteering! Relays! Woo!
1996: (~10 years later): Hey, we're getting older. Let's add an older category.
2004: (~10 years later): Hey, we're getting older. Let's add an even older category.
2015: (~10 years later): Hey, let's not organize a relay this year. Or next year.
- If the team day of Juniors is a relay (the event where we have the most teams), then expand the relay to include everyone else, too. Junior Nationals & Relays.
- Remove the national champs and club requirements, and have a weekend relay festival like Tiomila or Jukola.
- Remove the relay, but keep the teams (eg: teammates travel together, or teammates split up a score-o style course)
- Organize a trail running relay with a leg or two that requires some navigation. Trail running relays are becoming more popular, so this could be an opportunity for some cross-pollination.
I think there's a market for these, I just don't know if they deserve their own O-USA championships. If I were in charge, I'd try to brand a national series of all of the fun Ultra Long events that already exist: Billygoat, Highlander, etc. Tennis and golf focus on several majors, and not one ultimate championship. That was kinda the thought with the various sprint festivals and the new sprint series.
Not to imply any judgment as to the merit of the proposal, I would like to translate what I see in it with respect to bgr's comments above:
Can we get rid of two-day classic and just go with the modern SML format? Seems not, as there are a lot of people out there who like two-day classic. Who are those people? People who have been orienteering for a long time. OK, so they must be old, let's just make the two-day format be the championship for old people.
I second JJ's proposal.
In fact on first reading, I thought this was the core of the proposal. This seemed like the natural, reasonable way to reduce the championship overload, while maintaining a place for both formats. Only when I saw comments and reread, did I realize the double championships were indeed being maintained, which confused the hell out of me.
If you move to Masters and Junior Champs, then why keep line 2a (all age classes championships) under Nationals?
If you move to Masters and Junior Champs, the why keep line 2a (awards to all) under Nationals?
I think the reasoning is that without championships for all, it's no longer the premier annual event, and attendance would plummet. Why would a master go if it's neither a classic format nor offer medals? Just to be in the same woods when the elites go 'round?
I get having a separate junior champs, because we essentially already have one with IS/IC, and it wouldn't suffer as much without a huge attendance from adults.
I see three options for Nationals/Master Nationals:
1) Two events. Champs for elites at one. Champs for masters at the other. Potential issue: minimal attendance from masters at Nationals.
2) Two events. Champs for elites at one. Champs for masters at both. Potential issues: diluting competition between masters events.
3) One event. Champs for both. Potential issue: having to finally choose between SML and Classic and incurring the wrath from fans of the one not chosen. (You could sorta go both ways here and design an event that's SML for the elites and sprint champs + classic champs for the masters).
Is there a longer term plan here once we get to the split WOC happening in a few years? How would this adjust for that, if at all?
By the way, how do university students feel about going to a Junior Nationals, as opposed to an Intercollegiate? Many may be in the 21- categories. Student status, rather than age, seems to be the criterion?
Could we have a single elite/master championship, SML, but with an Overall medal based on the sum of the S, M, and L results (similar total time to two day classic) in addition to champions for each race?
I can also endorse Pink Socks' "3) One event" concept, with the format (2 day vs SML) being decided by the host club, what they think will be the best draw, and/or the best use of their terrain. Maybe some people don't care, but I think we've seen too many SML's conducted on terrain poorly suited to their format. SML's should be about more than just differences in winning time.
Unless you are endorsing the the status quo, you gotta give up something, otherwise you are just rearranging the deck chairs.
SML, but with an Overall medal based on the sum of the S, M, and L results (similar total time to two day classic) in addition to champions for each race?
I like the idea, and I had one similar back in the day when SML came around and we were discussing what to do with Classic.
This is kinda similar to what they do in gymnastics. They have medals for each of the disciples (floor, beam, vault, etc), and there's also an "all around" medal for best total score on all disciplines.
The devil would be in the scoring details. I'd advise against just adding up the total times, because that would severely amplify the performance in the Long to the detriment of the Sprint (some Long legs are longer than an entire Sprint).
Further thinking on the "one event" concept would be to have the elites run SML every year, but then alternate SML and CC for the masters. That seems like it could appease both sides. If WOC is going to alternate between urban and forest, then USMOC could alternate between SML and CC.
Don’t assume that most veteran orienteers prefer the two day classic format over SML. As an old person (who has been around too long) I think it is time to dump the two day classic champs. I happen to like the sprint and middle races more than the longer distances and know many oldsters who agree with me.
By the way, where is the clamoring for a separate masters champs? Have not heard this at all from any master runner. My guess is most would prefer to have their champs as part the greater national championship weekend.
What about scoring an overall result similar to what they do in speed skating. Make the results dividends of 15 - using expected winning times with 15 minutes for sprint, 30 minutes for middle and 75 (90?) minutes for long.
Simple to calculate: Sprint time is used as is, Middle time divided by two and Long time divided by 5 (or six)...
...expected winning times for long adjusted for different age groups of course. Sprint and Middle could be the same though.
Careful with scoring that is proportional to distance. The time differences created within each set of results are important, and the Middlle frequently has disproportional time differences.
I'm not sure that any scoring system can be perfect, which is anyway partly a matter of viewpoint. If the system is reasonable and well known ahead of time, the game is on.
Bubo, that's what I would do except I would multiply instead of divide. People want to keep track of how they are doing over the course of the weekend and want to know how much they need to beat so and so by. They need to be able to do this easily, in their hotel room or car, without some complicated formula and no worries about rounding. So, as you said, simply multiply the sprint differences by 5, the middle by 2, and the long is even.
If anyone argues that for such and such a course's winning times didn't work out so nicely, tell them to go argue with a tree. Anything but straight up head to head competition introduces some degree of subjectivity. Accept it, enjoy the weekend, move on.
On a more general note, I personally don't care about age categories, medals, champs, fame, endorsement contracts, etc. My interest is the biggest field of competitors possible; it's more fun both competitively and socially. If free ice cream were determined to accomplish that, then that's what I would support. Given the current state of our sport, I would approach it from that perspective -- what is going to get the most people in one place regardless of how it affects the elites, or the oldsters. If we don't get more people in the sport, the elites won't have much to brag about. And us oldsters had better worry more about the sport we leave behind than to what suits our personal desires.
Having stepped back from elite racing now, being a masters competitor and also being strongly involved in a large junior program I think having variety is a good thing.
For example, the feedback I get from a lot of juniors and their parents is how do SML races differ? For many kids categories (and indeed some masters) categories there is little difference between the M and L formats. So we are often giving the same medals to the same people three days in a row. But when I say variety I don't necessarily mean only in the distance of the races.
When we compare our sport to XC skiing they have a lot more variety than we do. Not so much in distance but in the format. Mass start, chase start, king's court, interval start. For kids that is really important and I would argue from a marketing perspective it is as well. (e.g., a 6.5km "long" course for a masters category is hard to promote to ultra runners).
I think one option for our (non NAOC elite category) champs races would would be to split the sprint champs off from the typical SML weekend and have a Sprint Nationals with Time Trial Sprint, Knockout Sprint, Sprint Relay.
Then re-purpose the M and L races into something similar to the old 2-day classic. But instead of worrying about a points system try this:
Saturday: Time Trial (interval start) aka Middle'ish (short classic)
Elite and Masters winning times of 30 and 30-45, respectively.
Sunday: Pursuit aka chase (maybe not for all classes) aka Long'ish ("long classic")
Elite and Masters winning times of 90 and 45-75, respectively.
Elites: 2-day winning time of 2 hours. Masters range from 1.5 to 2 hours.
Market it as the TT race day and Pursuit race day. Winner medals for the TT can be awarded but the overall title is the first across the line (and silver and bronze for second and third across the finish line) on Sunday. ie., back to the old Troll Cup format but with more variety in the distance between the two days for the elites.
Interesting format suggestion Hammer. The Troll Cup was a lot of fun, and having different lengths and format the two days could make it even more interesting.
Making Long and Middle different formats, rather than just different lengths, would help make them more interesting. Route choice for Long, technical navigation for Middle. Even an American Yellow course can have "technical navigation" in the form of more junctions of linear features for the Middle (or different kinds of linear features), and route choice of linear features for the Long. If all Longs are just long Middles, then indeed it can seem pointless. The idea above that Middle and Long should be on very different terrain makes a lot of sense. (And Sprint too.)
Mmmm, ice cream. Campbells are in!
Yeah, i liked the ice cream suggestion. Rum raisin, peppermint stick, coconut milk, black cherry, ginger, even just a creamy vanilla. Nice way to finish a race.
1) A single Orienteering USA National champtionship weekend for all ages (Junior, Elite, Masters).
2) SML (though difference in distance between M and L might be less for younger/older ages than for elites if that is appropriate).
3) Overall Champion by combining 3 days together.
Basically, combine both the current US SML champs and the US Classic champs into one - having both of those is a bit crazy.
In total contrast to what is said above, for simplicity, I would just add total time. Sure, it makes Sprint less important. The forest (ML) events will end up defining who is the overall champion and I don't see a problem with this. Effectively retains the two-day total time aspect of the Classic Champs.
Separately, a combined school-based championship, IS and IC, is fine too.
Some masters (not me) really hate sprints and would be left out of--or unhappy about--a three-event combined time weekend. Since sprints are really a different type of race I like the idea of a series for those interested, but it doesn't matter to me if it's part of a championship weekend or something separate. Sprint relays and other sprint-related race opportunities would provide a good test to designate a sprint US Champion.
JimBaker, OUSA Rules specify different "formats" or styles for Middle and Long (and what to emphasize in each) as well as Sprint. Each has its own personality and a good course setter will find the right balance.
Having a Long on Saturday and Middle-Chase on Sunday would be interesting and might fit better into many people's travel plans. Two-event combined times, or just let the chase (where fastest start first...) determine the weekend winner aka US Champion. However, chase starts lack the flexibility to adjust start times for families and people with special requests.
Yes, long and middle already are supposed to be different formats beyond just the length distinction. Some events/course setters seem to get this distinction more than others. When done right and in appropriate terrain they are very interesting already. Especially a good middle.
Sprints are my favorite (even though I'm not very fast) and I would love more of them. Especially the urban/campus type that we seem to get more rarely.
I was not a fan of the SML format when it first developed, but now I have grown to like it much better than the 2-day Classic. I feel like it has more variety and interest and like having different skill sets put to the test each day. Personally I would want my championships to be on SML and would prefer at least all of the adult championships to be the same event.
I guess the question may be, what about the Classic format do people not want to let go of? Is it just the multi-day time thing, or "tradition", or is there something else about it? What would make SML more appealing to the holdouts? I feel like 90% or more of local meets I attend are still running Classic type courses, so it's not like there's a shortage or they will go away just because they don't have a championship attached.
Maybe that's the problem... most local events are Classic format, neither really Long nor Middle. The local event courses might have a few longish legs and a little route choice, but rarely compellingly intriguing route choice, often not making much difference in time, and rarely determinant in results (unlike Long, which should be that). They might have technical challenge, but not always the constant crazy technical of the best Middles. So, when people come to an SML championship, it's something they've rarely done. Running in a championship format that you've not much prepared for feels strange rather than compelling. Could local event schedules offer sprints, middles and longs? It would give more variety, and be a way to use more terrain, than a mostly-classic schedule.
I think classic works well for local events because:
Unlike S & M, it's longer than the drive to the event
Unlike L, you'll be able to get all competitors off the course in time to get dinner
Long typically is only slightly longer than classic. The issue isn't the length, it's the characteristic. By all means set courses the length that work for attendees, but why not have that course either have Middle (highly technical) or Long (route choice centric) characteristics, instead of always blander, characteristic-free classic form?
By the way, Sprint was very popular in Calgary when I was there. If your city has suitable terrain, then quite a bit of Sprint can be possible quite close to people. A fifteen minute race a fifteen minute drive away, rather than a forty-five minute race a forty-five minute drive away. Maybe even summer evening races.
Two-day classic has the advantage that you still have awards even when a course gets thrown out. We ought to be better than that, but there have been a lot of times over the years when that came into play.
I'm one who does like two-day classic, largely I guess because I never really got into the hype about the advantages of Long and Middle, it always seemed like a manufactured distinction. Used to be that regular courses had sections with long route choice legs, and sections with shorter technical legs. But this notion came up that we ought to have some kind of specialists, and so these Long and Short (later called Middle) courses were invented. To me, it's all still just orienteering.
Sprint, however, I feel differently about. I've had it with urban sprints, with their compulsive maps, fiddly little near-invisible uncrossable places, and "gotcha" dead ends. Forest sprints are often bland and uninteresting. So I made the decision a while back to not bother with sprints any more, I'll just sign up for the middle and long courses, and if the sprint is on Friday, so much the better because it's easy to skip and makes travel arrangements simpler. That means that if there's a combined competition on the three courses, I won't be eligible, but that's no big deal because I generaly don't care about awards anyway. (It's not worth considering my preferences when deciding on formats.)
(But although I don't like sprints, I really really like corn maze orienteering, which I don't consider to be a contradiction at all.)
Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts on the proposal. I'm on the Board but not the SWG that made the proposal; we'll likely be voting on this in the near future, and any feedback you have is useful. We have a heterogeneous community even on attackpoint, so we won't arrive at a perfect solution.
One of several past discussions on the SML vs Classic debate:
Note that feet speculates
that AP is an SML biased crowd. I imagine there would be considerable resistance to eliminating the classic champs entirely, and I think the Junior/Elite/Masters champs is a nice solution to that conundrum.
A glance at the Planning Calendar
reveals the following for 2017 National meets:
- 13 national events (+2 sprint tournaments [and 2 Canuck sprint tourneys])
- 6 "US Champs" events (SML, Classic, ISIC, Night, Relay, Ultralong)
- 6 2x Classic events, 5 SML, 2x Other (M+UL, Relay + M) [Note: counted SCC as 2xclassic and SSL as SML]
Without wading too deeply into the SML Elite vs Classic Masters debate, I think there is merit to stating that there are at most 3 super high priority events each year in the Junior, Elite, and Masters championship events. Historically, it's been rare to have a Night, Ultralong, or Relay national meet that isn't a championship. And the removal of the "US Championship" moniker for those 3 unusual formats doesn't preclude a club from holding those kinds of events.
Perhaps most importantly, I think the proposal does a nice job stratifying the national meet structure into championship tier, national meet tier, and regional meet tier. While I agree that terrain is a primary concern, event quality has been dramatically underappreciated in the US O-community and should be a hallmark of the highest caliber events. The 2012 NAOC is a great example of what our event organization can be like - and what we will need to gain sponsorship, publicity, and growth.
Three questions that immediately come to mind concerning the proposal and the event trends in the US:
1. How will we accommodate and encourage the rise of the sprint format? Vancouver sprint camp has been running for eleven years, and there are sprint tournaments on the rise in Seattle, Boston, and now Calgary. I think this is a really interesting format, especially as Sprint WOC becomes a thing. The format lends itself to television, e.g.
2. How can we better organize goat events? The long, mass-start format is a really popular one, and there isn't a central place to find all of the events besides attackpoint. This leads naturally to:
3. For the purposes of growth and publicity, it's important to have a product. Local meets are great fun and relatively easy to organize, but they're not really sexy events. It's unlikely a neophyte is going to be attracted to National meets, and while some meets have spectator races, there are numerous reasons to eschew them. A series of mass start races of any format (urban, goat, ultralong, hour long, score-O etc) seems to fit the bill of being high visibility, beginner-friendly, accessible, cool, and distinctive.
Also: what is needed to get a big North American relay? Would a k-person relay (k in [3,10?]) every two years be sustainable? NAkola?
By the way, Sprint was very popular in Calgary when I was there. If your city has suitable terrain, then quite a bit of Sprint can be possible quite close to people. A fifteen minute race a fifteen minute drive away, rather than a forty-five minute race a forty-five minute drive away. Maybe even summer evening races.
DVOA is actually running a summer evening sprint series this year. Unfortunately for me, I work far enough away from the main club terrain that it'll be unlikely I can attend. (Not able to physically get there before starts close.) I think this is a great idea for the clubs with a more centrally located population.
When I participated in Sprints in Calgary and Vancouver, they were quite out in the open, and the trend toward traps and gaps hadn't taken hold in Sprints. And yet they very much had a "think fast" character to them. Readable Sprint maps RIP? Corn mazes are fun, and even though they share the fast thinking, seem to have avoided the extreme visual acuity demands in the maps that I've seen.
It's possible that fora have biases compared to the population at large. Maybe AttackPoint SML, perhaps ClubNet 2 day Classic, who knows. One could poll (and be biased to those who respond to polls). It may be that we posters have cancelled each other out above (though I think that some good ideas came up). I suspect that the working group went through many of the same discussions, and came up with the proposal as a result. I could live with it, go to the Nationals and ignore the Masters (as opposed to going to the SML and ignoring the 2 day Classic). But just as much an appeal of the sport is widely varied formats in novel terrain, so I hope that the discussions of, say, enabling a North American Jukola or 25 manna, or a mountain marathon, or other interesting varieties continue. (Would Goat-like skips be useful for a relay?)
In simple terms, I hope the final product is mostly addition (more rankable events, and more variety therein), with very little subtraction (of lesser US Champs, flexibility).
Specifically for IS/IC, besides a name change ("School Nationals"?), I would prefer to leave it pretty much intact, but allow -- not require -- relays for team competition, while still having individual competition performances count in team scoring.
BTW, for the longest time I thought that Classic was supposed to be a mixture of middle (map reading) and long (route choice) legs, rather than just a shorter long. Perhaps that is what it really should be...
The press release writes itself:
"Course designer for NAkola in Naches - Nikolay Nachev" :)
I commend the working group for taking on this issue. It is one where I believe there is room for improvement, but obviously there are no easy solutions.
However I think the greater issue is growth, a major campaign issue for the new board. With that in mind, I ask that you review these options, thinking of the future, and not the present, what will work best for the next generation of orienteers, and what presents the best image to prospective orienteers. The tough part is keeping the "my preference" comments in perspective, regardless of how respectable, or likable, or loud the sources, and trying to work for the greater good in the future. Best wishes on that.
Then I hope you get back to working on the growth issue.
I find the argument that anyone is somehow diminished by having too many championships or too many age groups absolutely ridiculous.
Seriously? I just saved the Federation 6 figures a year (and I have the e-mails to prove it (has anything changed, BTW?)), tho it took way too long. I want a Championship just for me! Finish the Randy Markov course, and win a trip to the podium, baby! Drape me with medals like an Xmas tree, baby! Remember, in today's world, Everyone is a Champion! Just participate and win a wheelbarrow full of medals, baby!
More seriously, the quoted statement is basic inflation. As both an economist, and a child of the 70s, not necessarily in that order, it hits the radar. I wish I could say something smarter, but I can't.
So, I'll say this. Inflation isn't necessarily bad, or bad by definition (and I think in today's world, as someone who leans left, we need quite a bout of it right now, but it just ain't gonna happen, I'm afraid, trade accordingly :)).
But, in sports, inflation is just BAD, and more importantly, lame. Name another sport that people take seriously that has several championships. Maybe the NFL should have 3 Super Bowls in 5 age classes (would that this be true, cuz it means more parties :)).
This is so Captain Obvious I wonder why I'm posting. (Actually, I do know why I'm posting; its cuz I like to read my own words and look self-important, just like everyone else who posts). You need ONE championship on ONE day per YEAR. No one (at least in the prospective class), wants to travel for two days to waste most of that time in chain motels and chain restaurants by the chain interstate.
Too many formats, too many classes, too much cruft and confusion. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Neither the incumbent class, nor the prospective class, gets it. But its rather simple, really. Or, at least it should be.
At most 3 classes (junior, adult, master (don't use off-putting words like "elite"; how did the phrase "the smartest athletes in the world" work out? -- those same self-proclaimed geniuses that supported pissing 6 figures a year away; I think humility has value, at least in marketing)). No one cares who wins M35 or F75. No offense to those who have won those things (and I count myself in that group). Life isn't about everyone getting a medal. Get over it, and accept the reality that life can be about accepting, enabling, and celebrating those who are truly worthy of being named "Champion" in their time, and celebrating the next wave in their time. I get that the incumbent class will resist this notion, but I simply don't care so much what they think. I think I care more about the prospective class.
I'd write more, but who could endure it? I actually will write more someday when my thoughts are more coherent and less stream of consciousness. But for now, HTH. Upcoming -- the distinction between national and local races seems stupid. The prospective class simply does not care, To the extent that they make it thru the bad marketing and SEO, they simply want a race calendar in their face. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
So, if there is one takeaway from this self-absorbed, pretentious cruft, it is this -- there is the "incumbent class" and the "prospective class". Until the former begins to think like the latter, they will, at best, continue to endure posts like this. More to come, of course :)
The real question is not whether we have too many national championships, the real question is how do we increase attendance (starts) and the number of events throughout the country?
Why do some clubs hold national event and some clubs do not?
Why do some orienteers attend national event and others do not?
What is the “customer” looking for and how much is he/she willing to pay for it?
If there were more events are there enough “customers” to support them?
Maybe we need an organization/company (call it what you want) that will go around the country that will map areas and/or put on events for a percentage of the gate.
It is sad to say this, but in my area the only reason to hold a national event is to generate funds (crowd sourcing) to pay for mapping projects. Since we have a large stable of maps (be it they are all in need of updating) there is no need to go through the hassle and expanse to bring in a mapper and everything else required (electronic punching and timing etc.) to put on a nation event. The last national event we held had an attendance of ~100 and most of them were out of towners.
Another thing is why travel to go orienteering when for a $50 annual club membership I can orienteer once a month at a local event. Yes, I will have the opportunity to orienteer in a different type of terrain, and test myself against a broader set of competitors, but it cost a lot of time and money to travel to a national event. And the only thing I can expect to get out of it is some ranking points and maybe a metal if I do well (not like chess where we play for money).
I personally do not like sprints because I am not very fast (competitive)! I also never liked doing a half-marathon two days in a row, so I always signed up for M-open on the green course. Just pick the length course you like!!! I would do away with all the designated age categories for each course except maybe national championship events. If you like long courses sign up for a red or blue. If you like shorter courses sign up for a brown or green. After pre-registration closes the event team can determine the categories on each course based on attendance. This way no one gets an award for just showing up and completing two courses.
One more thing, courses should be designed to a distance and climb standard not an expected winning time! This would make it a lot easier for everyone to design courses.
It is sad to say this, but in my area the only reason to hold a national event is to generate funds (crowd sourcing) to pay for mapping projects.
Nothing wrong with that. From the other perspective, those who travel to the meet will do so in part to experience whatever interesting terrain it is that you have there.
everything else required (electronic punching and timing etc.)
Electronic punching is not required for a national meet. It may be expected, but the rules allow pin punching and timing with a clock and a sheet of paper.
courses should be designed to a distance and climb standard not an expected winning time!
The problem with that is that the speed of different kinds of terrain is so variable. On the one hand, you have some maps in Wyoming or Florida or the New Jersey pine barrens where you can run incredibly fast. On the other hand, there's some sand dune terrain or some of the boulder-strewn maps in New Hampshire where you have to be very careful and methodical. Courses with the same length and climb in those varied terrains might be a short race in one case, and a death slog in the other.
Paying for maps is a major motivation for organizing national events most places that I've lived. For all but the biggest clubs, or clubs with major funding from the government or gambling, it's about the only way to pay for a large, professionally made ISOM map. ymmv
Urge to restructure is a telltale sign of imminent collapse of the system, hijacked by a few rabid “enthusiasts”, with ever-growing appetites. In Orienteering this trend is particularly evident. Already noted here is a result of it, a colossal amount of money dumped for many years on marketing and management, while neglecting the essential issue of lack of maps and qualified mappers. Even richest clubs, those with highest human capital and ability to generate money via setting reasonably high entry and membership fees, such as DVOA and QOC, use maps that resemble in quality something abandoned long ago, in 1970s, in the poorest places of Eastern Europe. In this country at least, if an activity is close-to-free, of poor quality, then all the decent desirable people, those WASPs, etc. , will be repelled, thinking that orienteering is activity for losers and ne'er do wells.
no one is stopping you from running your own events
I like the proposal. I think I'll utilize the level 2 or 3 NRE in 2018.
I like course setting Classic because you have flexibility and can mix up short legs with long legs and test different skills and different course setters give you different types of courses. Middle seems especially restrictive.
I'm glad we can always count on yurets to be a bright little ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark world.
Absolutely loving Randy's post from yesterday.
One championship. Someone mentioned it ages ago upthread but I think it's worth repeating - you can build a good following for other events if you do your event right. In the UK we have the JK which someone mentioned above - currently it's SML-relay for 20s/21 and S, classic, classic relay for everyone else. It's the biggest event in the UK (bigger than the actual National Champs) and draws people from across Europe. It's awesome. Then we have a series of other events that are yearly standards and attract different crowds - Cambridge Sprint O' (real sprint, drunk sprint for students), Ian Watkins trophy (Long O'), JOK Chasing sprint (one day, two middles, second a chase), yearly Urban O' series, all of which different groups of people travel to. But they travel every year from everywhere. To some extent, this exists already on the East Coast here - Billygoat, Highlander, West Point. There's the Arizona B Meet every year. Sure there's other examples too, I just don't know them.
JJ - have you done sprints in the towns of southern Italy? I'd like to wager you'd find them much closer to the Corn Maze O' you prefer!
I have not sprinted in Italy. I will point out that an advantage of CMO is that the maps are very easy to read, and the internet is not full of discussions of how to map some pathological feature in the corn.
What makes sprints great is the challenge of having to make a lot of decisions in a short time. CMO is the epitome of the format.
JJ - yup - the Italian maps are not always easy to read.
@Becks: JK is SML+relay for all age categories this year, and apparently there are plans to make this arrangement permanent.
SML inches forward with one more event. SML for the win...;-). Just kidding.
@iansmith: even yurets, in his most dour moments, is still generating posts that bring us something in the range of 400-700 nm twinkles of happiness. By that measure, and depending on his loquacity at any point in time, he may be offering more brightness to all of us than even this guy. Who are we to judge?
I hesitate to even dip my foot into this pool.
I am one of the oldsters who still likes the 2-day Classic Champs. I also like the SML. I like relays. I like ultralongs. If it's orienteering, generally I like it. (Not a big fan of night o, it's just okay.)
But my main reason for liking the CC is, as someone mentioned way up above, the reward for consistency, and the psychological pressure of either having to hold on to your lead or to try to come from behind to win. I think I'd be happy to give up the CC if we had an overall award of some sort for the SML. Could combine all three events or just two.
A quick question that I don't seem to recall being discussed (if it has, my apologies). Why are not the SML Champs by default the Team Trials?
The Team Trials are the only races with any consequence besides bragging rights. It seems to me that the winners of the TTs are exactly those individuals who should be declared US Champions in the SML disciplines. Conversely, it seems odd to me that there is perhaps one person who won the TTs M and goes to WOC, while there is a second who won the US Champs M, who goes, uh, ...., home with a medal. Further, the Team Trials is the only event where peaking has any true significance because it is ideally scheduled with WOC in mind; thus, it is the only event where defining a time window is of any true consequence.
So my proposal is as follows:
US SML Champs: held in a specific time window every spring and serves as the Team Trials.
US Classic Champs: Floats to whenever it fits the hosting clubs schedule and terrain.
That was proposed at some point. I don't remember why it didn't happen.
I believe it hasn't worked out because either (a) clubs interested in SML Champs did not want to host them during the relevant time period or (b) clubs willing to organize TT were not willing to expand them to full Championships.
@BorisGr: Those were the difficulties I anticipated.
In my mind this doesn't bode well for the original proposal. Again, in my opinion, the TTs are the only event of any true meaning and consequence. The rest are just for old-folks running for bragging rights. Don't get me wrong, I love running those events and I'm certainly happy for whatever I or others accomplish; I train hard for such things. However, OUSA is working hard to perform some sort of Champs optimization, but conceding from the get go that due to (a) and (b) above with, arguably, the most important event (TTs), to various degrees it doesn't work.
BTW, as an athlete, I am completely sympathetic to the idea of having the events in fixed time periods. Personally, it is what I would prefer. However, I not at all convinced this is realistic for US orienteering at the present time.
Well, one could make the Team Trials the SML Nationals with just the open male and open female categories. Sadly for me, that would leave Classic as the only champs format for oldies, and I like the variety that SML promotes and Classic too often lacks. Unless the Masters were SML total time, or alternated SML total time and two day Classic. (Maybe the Masters Nationals should just vary format every year... One year Night Ultra Long, one year five sprints, etc. Orienteering is about adapting to the unknown, to a significant degree.)
@Iamstillhungry - the team trials has occasionally coincided with the US Champs - for instance, the 2015 US Champs in Kentucky, 2013 US Champs near Albany, and the 2012 US Champs in Georgia. However, in the years that it has been a separate national event - 2011, 2014, 2016 - the team trials attendance has been well below the US champs. In 2016, the long offerings (green, red, blue) had about 70 starts.
I think that the US team (ESC) will dictate where and when the best suited team trials event will be, but it's a different set of constraints than the US championships - which empirically are the more prestigious and demanded event. As an example, the team trials terrain is usually chosen to be approximate the terrain of the country hosting the World Championships, whereas the US Champs have no such constraint. I don't think it's necessary to try to cater to the team trials in the structure of US competition,
and indeed the team trials doesn't have to be a national sanctioned event
- oops, per G.1.7.2
, it is required to be sanctioned.
(Though anecdotally, why was MNOC initially not sanctioned? Dunno.)
Team trials does have to be sanctioned actually, but only has to offer the red and blue courses required for the TT competitors.
We definitely have a philosophical difference of opinion. I maintain that the Team Trials is the only SML event that matters and, hence, by default should be consider the US SML Champs. Having another SML "Champs" is redundant and a misnomer, while redundancy was what is trying to be reduced.
Let me come at it issue from a different direction. A young (relative to me) orienteer is training seriously, running 70+ miles a week, getting to the terrain as much as possible, playing Catching Features every night, etc., but they are short on $. Which event should they go to, the Team Trials or a different US SML "Champs"?
YMMV I guess.
Marketing the USA SML Champs as being on WOC relevant terrain would probably attract outside travel and attendance
I am with those who think that the Champs does not need to be the same event as Team Trials, unless they just happen to coincide, out of terrain-type and timing considerations.
Team Trials is a small-scale bare-bone style event, maybe just two classes --Blue and Red, main focus --brutal yet fair course set on up to date map on terrain type similar in nature to upcoming WOC. May deny entry to those whose FB page has fewer than 100 likes. Event can take place in the middle of nowhere, say in Mille Lacs.
SML is a big event, designed for all categories of orienteers. Most of the time it is done in Fall, with all the fall colours around. Need to be in a place with plenty of sightseeing and restaurants around.
Why not just have one big weekend, on WOC relevant terrain, SML with total time award, for all categories, at the right time of year to be a trials. Maybe even arrange to have it be the Canadian Championships and North Americans (alternating host country).
A problem with requiring the TeamTrials and the Champs to always be the same event is that, assuming there's a desire to have the TeamTrials be on terrain relevant to the upcoming WOC, some terrain might never be Champs-eligible. For example, that might mean that the US Champs could never be in Texas, because what are the chances that WOC would ever be in Texas-like terrain? (Maybe that's okay with Texans, though, and maybe that's even a motivation for this suggestion. :-) ) Beyond that, it would mean that the IOF would have a big hand in determining where the Champs would be, because it would have to be in relevant terrrain. Some year they hold the WOC in sand dunes, and suddenly the only club in the US that has sand dunes is on the hook to host the Champs.
Having those two events coincide when it works out sounds like a fine idea, and it sounds like maybe that happens 50% of the time. The other years, having the TeamTrials be a two-course event should make it easier to organize, although the host club may need to add courses to draw more people in for budgetary reasons.
I would argue that the idea that the TTs should be in WOC relevant terrain is an ostrich sized red herring. But now I'm getting a bit off topic and I've been contrary enough for one day -- so adios.
edit... apparently I wasn't done.
I would also argue that the US O Team does itself a huge disservice by holding its own little elite events, thus separating itself from the general populous who it complains don't understand them and don't provide enough support.
If WOC will be in sand terrain, then see if Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Yukon will host the event. Team trials for North American countries have sometimes been in the other country, and it's worked out fine afaik. Similarly, have it be one big event each year that awards the North American, Canadian and American championship medals as well as select teams. Better competition, and an event big enough to pay for three good new maps all by itself. Rather than have one club host it, have several do so, like the Scottish Six Day, where each club organizes one function like finish. It seems like the greatest hope of having five hundred person competitions in North America more than occasionally.
An argument for letting the championships rotate through all clubs and thus all seasons is that it's seen as the only way for a club to host a big event to help pay off a big map. However, branded events like Navigator Cup, Flying Pig, Gold Rush, Laramie Daze and Troll Cup, as well as ad hoc events like COW, and the occasional WMOC or APOC, show that this needn't be so. Therefore, if one time of the year is best for a main competition, in part because it's nice for it to be the trials as well, then why not. Then let branded and ad hoc events fill the rest of the schedule.
Events like Sprint Camp and SART demonstrate that athletes esp elite athletes will fly, attend, and work the event into their schedule because it happens at a reliable time each year. It even gives athletes a timeframe within which to raise money if-needs-be for attendance.
No, more than +1. Nailed it.
Iamstillhungry, good points all around, though with the 2018 WOC being the last "sml" style one for a while (2019 is the first Forest WOC, 2020 the first Sprint WOC) the team might be interested in a different kind of trials. (They could, of course, just use the ML part of an SML champs for the forest WOC trials, but it might be nice to have more than one sprint for the Sprint WOC... or not! It might not make much difference, after all.)
First leg simulation race?! Could loop it so everyone runs the same. For both forest and sprint. It would be good fun and relays are a separate skill.
Many good thoughts in the proposal and in the above. The most persuasive comment is to not dilute the Champion designation. I second becks: national events in a variety of formats keep the competition lively, but determining U.S. Champion [foot] Orienteer should be settled in one event.
This should apply to old timers like myself as well. Calling the two-day national event the “Master Nationals” and awarding an extra set of championship medals smacks of being treated like an entitled millennial, which we are not. Awards, medals, great! Just don't call it the championship. As Jim Baker said, “Could we just rebrand the main two day classic as the Intrepid Antelope Classic or Harald Wibye Two Day or something?”
I'm in complete agreement with bmay “a single Orienteering USA national championship weekend for all”, even liking the simple way of adding SML minutes to determine an overall champion.
@pkturner - why insult an entire generation in order to make your point? Millenials were kids when this occurred it would be more accurate to say that it was that generation of parents that insisted on handing out all those damn medals...
I got participation trophies as a kid. So I suppose that means I'm an entitled millenial. Naturally, that sense of entitlement has led me to train 10-15 hours/week.
I support the national meet proposal. As a US team member, I prefer the idea of a single championship. It makes it easier for me to set a single goal race. The current format forces me to choose between championships. It's an unfortunate way to dilute the field. For example, I won the Classic Champs last year, but I'm sure if Eric Bone could have attended, he would have provided some tough competition.
I also really prefer the idea of combining team trials and the Champs, but there are a lot of clear limitations to that (timing and terrain, primarily). If they can coincide, perfect. If not, we'll figure something else out.
I have a proposal for the championship based on some of the things said above.
To begin with, hungry has pointed out that these championships are really just for our amusement and don't matter much to the orienteering world outside the USA. That means we can really have any format we wish.
2. Mr. Weyman suggested, quite diplomatically I think, that the format could be decided by the host club to best utilize the maps.
3. Another fact, is that the SML format is becoming a thing of the past, as IOC has decided to separate S and ML into two separate world champs event. They will be having a world champs of ML with S the next year.
4. Another sentiment from above is that team trials be combined with the champs.
5. The thread above and past history seems to indicate there are people that dislike the "classic" champs and there are those who don't like the SML champs.
so, what is a solution to all this?
First, USA M21/F21 champions are decided at team trials, a separate national champs for them. They get their weekend with the spotlight on our best. Isn't it a bit silly to have the winners of team trials representing us at worlds and then someone else is US F/M 21 champion? team trials = us champs for elites
Secondly, there will be NO SML champs and NO classic champs. This eliminates the hatred of either. Both will be abolished at the national champs level. In place of them will be an event fashioned after the new world champs middle and long weekend which we will call the US Champs.
However, instead of holding specifically a M and a L, the 2 day national championship event will be based on total time run. For example, the green course winning time would be roughly 100-110 minutes combined time for the two days. This could be two days of 50-55 minutes each OR it could be one shorter day of say 30-35 minutes and then a longer second day, say 65-70 minutes. The length and style of the courses would be up to the host club. Winner would be simple combined time.
sprint nationals.....with all the sprint weekends that are popping up, one could be sanctioned as the sprint national champs.
For juniors, I would suggest running a separate champs for the kids in the summer during their summer break. This would fit in well with the attempt of OUSA to focus on youth development. Youth would then have 2 events to look forward to each year, the school competitions in spring and the national champs in summer. these two events would be designed for juniors. A summer national junior champs could be run in conjunction with a summer orienteering training camp in the region the junior champs was going to be held.
bgr has some interesting ideas.
The only thing he does not address are the special format championships (night, ultralong, relay). Since these are enjoyed by some people, do not directly diminish the value of an overall orienteering championship title (be it SML, classic, or BGR's idea), and bring in revenue to OUSA through higher championship sanctioning fees, then OUSA should continue to permit clubs to host these special events, designating them as championships of their specialty disciplines.
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