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Discussion: Sr. WOC Team announced (US)

in: Orienteering; General

May 7, 2017 11:55 AM # 
peggyd:
The Review Panel has selected the following team for the 2017 WOC. Sometime today a document with some explanation of our decisions will be posted on the OUSA website (we're fitting in our posting around the Billygoat.)

Men: Morten Jorgenson, Giacomo Barbone, Eric Bone, Greg Ahlswedw. Alternate Will Enger.
Women: Alison Campbell, Julia Doubson, Tyra Christopherson, Evalin Brautigam, Cristina Luis. No alternate.
Race starts:
Sprint: Morten, Giacomo, Greg; Julia, Tyra, Alison
Sprint Relay: Morten, Giacomo, Julia, Tyra
Long: Eric, Greg; Evalin
Middle: Morten, Alison
Relay: Morten, Eric, Greg; Alison, Evalin, Cristina

--Peggy Dickison, RP chair, on behalf of the entire panel (Tori Campbell, Kristin Hall, Will Hawkins, Glen Tryson)
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May 7, 2017 12:05 PM # 
JimBaker:
Congratulations to the team.
May 7, 2017 12:31 PM # 
eddie:
About what I expected to happen. Really sorry for Will (and Michael). Commitment and demonstrated, honest personal effort don't count anymore. Fewer people are willing to put it on the line, and even when they do they are still subject to the whims of a panel of judges and a set of mail-in candidates.

I hope the RP's justification document has the same level of detail as last year. That was really nice, and took some guts on the part of the RP. It was released concurrently with the announcement last year.
May 7, 2017 1:14 PM # 
Gswede:
Thanks to the selection committee! Time to get to work!

Eddie, I'm going to comment on your log because I prefer to maintain a positive atmosphere for the team.
May 8, 2017 3:41 PM # 
JanetT:
Full announcement now posted on the OUSA website. Thanks for your patience!
May 8, 2017 4:40 PM # 
Acampbell:
Thank you to the selection committee for all your hard work!

Janet can I be a pain though... I'm not longer running for EUOC as out of university now. I run for BASOC now and feel without them I wouldn't be at the point I am now so would really like them to be connected to me as a way of thanking them for their support if possible. Thanks
May 8, 2017 5:08 PM # 
Tundra/Desert:
JørgensEn?
May 8, 2017 5:43 PM # 
JanetT:
Ah yes...my mistakes. Fixed both.
May 8, 2017 6:32 PM # 
carlch:
Congratulations and good luck. And kudos to the junior girls for the great results at the TT.
May 8, 2017 9:07 PM # 
peggyd:
My apologies to all the Team members for announcing here before Linda had a chance to send out an email. It was not the best way for those involved to find out. I was anxious to get it out before heading to the Billygoat, because otherwise it would have been many hours later before I had a chance to post.
Lesson learned!
May 9, 2017 5:18 AM # 
eddie:
Here is a direct link to this year's justification document from the RP, posted this morning. You might want to have a look, and consider last year's doc as well (posted above). For reference, here is the scoring list from this year's Team Trials.

A couple of items should probably be corrected in the justification document. First, Under "ESC guidance:"

-Select the winner of the sprint and the top two on the scoring list for men and women. In 2017, there were two men tied for first and both were selected.

This should read ..."there were two men tied for first in the sprint"...
One of those two was also in the top two in the scoring list, but that might not be the case if this happens again in the future (assuming we even have selection races in the future).

Second, its not made clear that Julia Doubson qualified automatically for the team by winning the sprint. It shows her place in the table at the top, but only mentions that she petitioned for two starts. Call this a technicality if you wish, but not recognizing this for what it is is a disservice to Julia, demeaning to the others who were also trying to win that sprint, and appears to be an excuse for the RP to claim another subjective selection over its own stated "automatic" selection criteria.

Third, for two of the women's petitions there is a sentence at the end of each paragraph which states:

"[runner] selection does not displace anyone who competed in TT."

Yet for Greg Ahlswede's petition it does not mention that Will Enger and possibly Michael Laraia did indeed compete in TT and will, in fact, be displaced. Greg did not compete at the Team Trials, choosing to go to a race in Sweden instead. So I'm wondering, what's the purpose of this sentence in the women's petition justifications? Are you saying its OK to accept these petitions because no one will be harmed by doing so? Are you saying that if there had been other runners in the TT that these two petitions would not have been accepted? If its a mere statement of fact, shouldn't the same be said of the one or two athletes that Greg's petition has displaced?

I'm not even sure where to begin with the matter of Greg being awarded two additional WOC starts. I thought this justification document might shed some light on this, but the text in Greg's justification paragraph is all over the map. Comparison with Giacomo at a single WC event in March. According to this doc, Giacomo was only selected for sprints. Why are Greg's forest race results being compared to Giacomo here? And then Will and Eric at NAOC. Did Will realize that no matter how well he ran at the TT this year he was already doomed because Greg beat him at NAOC...last year. And Eric was second in both forest races at the TT this year, but rather than compare Greg's forest results to Eric's you compare with his NAOC sprint result. There's no mention of Greg petitioning for sprint - only for forest relay. Did he petition for sprint? Greg already has the IOF regional spot for Long as a result of NAOC, but now it seems his NAOC results are also being used as stand-ins for the TT that he chose not to attend.

Notably absent from the justification document is any mention of what happened at the trials last year. Greg ran in the trials but did not qualify, finishing 7th overall on the scoring list. He then petitioned to be placed on the team anyway, claiming "sub-par performance during TT" (see last year's justification document). Fortunately the 2016 RP saw fit to deny that petition. Now a year later, Greg has simply decided not to attend the trials at all, petitioned, and been given two additional starts - ahead of athletes who did make the effort to attend! A tremendous amount of weight in the present petition is being placed on that one NAOC result. It seems that attending NAOC is very easy but for some reason attending the Team Trials is anathema. For any athlete aspiring to represent his or her country at a world champs, there are no more important races than the national team selection races.

I question the level of commitment of any athlete behaving this way. Were the trials skipped due to hardship? Choosing to go to Sweden for Tiomila instead is no hardship. Were the trials skipped because of the risk of "sub-par" performance? Every athlete running at the trials faces this risk - this is what makes the trials so hard. Why do certain athletes get a free pass to skip and others are asked to step aside to accommodate them?

This situation is unconscionable. Good, hard working, committed athletes are being brushed aside through no fault of their own, and that's wrong. The Board needs to rein in the ESCs and Teams and set this straight. The credibility of OUSA's elite teams and their selection processes is in the tank, and this year's selection is doing nothing to change that.
May 9, 2017 5:46 AM # 
Gswede:
Tiomila was not a replacement for Team Trials. I didn't go because I don't always have $1,000 to blow on international travel. If you'd like to help me out there, I'd love to go.
May 9, 2017 5:49 AM # 
eddie:
You had no trouble coming over for NAOC. You seem to have no trouble coming over to visit family for holidays. Its only the team trails that you find impossible to attend. Why is that?

By the way you can always ask the ESC for a travel grant for the TT. That has been done in the recent past (e.g. Giacomo).
May 9, 2017 5:59 AM # 
Gswede:
This is a little creepy, Eddie. But I guess I'll explain the justification. My family paid for the trip back home for the holidays and I needed NAOC as a goal after Team Trials the previous June. And yes, my finances were in the tank after NAOC. I spent much more money than I responsibly should have. But I was committed to performing well and representing the US at a premiere competition.

There's so little money left for the US team that a travel grant would be stretching thin resources even thinner.

If Will wants a spot in the sprint, I'd gladly give it to him. But it also seems like there's not enough money to bring anyone else.
May 9, 2017 6:15 AM # 
eddie:
Was the team's budget a consideration for team size by the RP this year? It wasn't mentioned in the justification document or in the selection criteria ahead of the Trials. Was Will told he can't go because there's no money? Will he travel as an alternate on his own nickel?

Keep in mind that every stateside WOC/JWOC team member has to shell out that same $1000 to go the other direction for WOC/JWOC. Is there more risk flying over for the TT than flying to WOC? Sure, but if you feel you're good enough to be on the team on paper, shouldn't you have the confidence you'll qualify at the trials? This travel cost issue has been around and around and around. On balance its the same for everyone.
May 9, 2017 7:10 AM # 
Acampbell:
Sorry but I'll pipe in here for cost.
At the moment I spent loads (more than I care to mention) to get back for the TT. I then found out that I could have petitioned as I was the only one there. This trip also cost me 4 holiday days that I now cannot take to train before WOC in Estonia or even possibly make the sprint race.
But it is now also going to cost me +£600 to just travel to WOC, compared to booking a flight to NYC at the same time which is £350 round trip.
It all depends where your going and when. And yes I could have asked for support from the team but as Greg said there is such little funding that I don't want to take it from the team. But to make that choice is hard.
May 9, 2017 7:37 AM # 
Gswede:
I'm not going to discuss this any further with someone who calls me out for being with my family during the holidays for the first time in five years.

I do have a few more comments, but I'm going to post them on your log, public but away from this thread. First, though, I actually have work to do.
May 9, 2017 12:24 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I have a question: Why does the US orienteering federation hold the selection races at the same time as one of the two most important spring-time European events?
May 9, 2017 12:32 PM # 
BorisGr:
Terje>> The national team doesn't have the luxury to choose from among multiple competing options for selection races. We are at the mercy of clubs that are willing to host team trials and the dates that are suitable for them.
May 9, 2017 2:49 PM # 
Rhombus:
Hi Eddie, long time reader, first time commenter. On behalf of all of Attackpoint I'd kindly ask you to fuck off. I think we're all very tired of listening to your bitter comments regarding the US National teams so why don't you give it a break.
May 9, 2017 2:52 PM # 
Peter H:
Like
May 9, 2017 2:58 PM # 
iansmith:
@Eddie: personal interrogation and attacks on GSwede are completely uncalled for. You can debate the process, priorities, and selection criteria of the team as much as you want, but kindly refrain from berating the athletes who are trying to prepare to represent the US on the international stage and don't need personal ad hominem antagonism in addition to all the other stresses of training and preparation.

Also, as an OUSA board member, team member, and (at least nominal) competitor, I have no issue with how the RP, ESC, and athletes handled the selection.
May 9, 2017 4:42 PM # 
BigWillyStyle:
I don't care to have my name invoked in this, but as it has been here's what I would say. Firstly it's my belief that based on the results at the Team Trials the selection panel's decisions were perfectly logical and correct; I would have come to the same conclusions.

Beyond that, Greg is a peer, teammate, and good friend of mine, and as such I can attest, even more so than most, to his dedication and commitment to training and improving - which in my opinion surpasses that of all other American orienteers. Based on that along with his results, to me it's basically inarguable that he deserves all the WOC spots he was awarded, and I support him and the rest of the team fully and furthermore feel that orienteering in our country is best represented with him on the starting line - including the sprint.

All of which is to say that personally I consider this a non-issue, and most certainly I do not want or need anyone to feel "sorry" for me.
May 9, 2017 4:50 PM # 
BorisGr:
Well said, Will.
May 9, 2017 7:50 PM # 
carlch:
Thanks Will, I was curious where you stood. Certainly the Review panel is in a tough position and I don't envy their work. With that said though, I don't think Eddie should be bullied into hiding. He does have some valid points and I honestly think that he is trying to champion for those that are fully committed to the Team Trials.

Please don't misunderstand me, I think the Review panel made the right choices and Greg's commitment/dedication is without question in my mind and he deserves all
three WOC races. I anxiously await the relay to see what Morten and Greg can do as well as the junior girls in the Sprint.
May 9, 2017 10:43 PM # 
BigWillyStyle:
I agree that it's entirely legitimate to have concerns about the process (as Ian said), and that petitions should always be evaluated with all possible critical rigor. I'd even say that it takes a certain courage to publicly voice/fight for an unpopular, honestly held opinion. But the personal attacks are the part that's clearly not okay. And that goes both ways - it's disappointing to see the bullying vitriol Eddie is sometimes subject to, this thread providing some prime examples.
May 9, 2017 11:41 PM # 
Vector:
I just want to say congrats to the team and best wishes at WOC. And of course GO USA!
May 12, 2017 9:11 PM # 
yurets:
I also feel bad about the outcome of Will Enger losing without facing his overseas competitor. I know first-hand that long terrain in MN would immediately tell who is who, and Will was not afraid to come there.

He also went to compete in American Heartland, Texas, in Spring, to run on that brutal terrain with huge thorns and poisonous snakes waiting for you everywhere. I remember running on Lake Texoma once, I know how it feels, afterwards.

Then I read in his blog that he drove on the way home across Oklahoma and took to heart the suffering of ordinary people there. Even, as heartless as I am, I was touched.
I think as a true American patriot Will deserves to compete at WOC.
May 14, 2017 6:03 AM # 
Nikolay:
Slow claps... Bravo! That deserves to be framed

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