It was a skipped control rather than punching an incorrect one. Damian did the same thing but on a different control. This seems to be a pretty common problem. not sure how best to train to prevent this...
Me neither, it was exactly what I did on the long for JWOC.
The only thing that comes to mind is to be as rested as possible so that you can focus as much as possible.
Definitely focus. Perhaps extra training at competition speed on micro sprint maps with lots of overlapping circles and connection lines, and controls on the straight lines.
It's that fine line between not wanting to lose time by constantly looking back at the map and not looking back quite often enough to confirm that you're not taking off completely wrong. Under competitive pressure where every second counts, you don't want to waste time looking at the map when you already know enough to bolt toward the next control. But not confirming often enough proves fatal in these cases.
I'm guessing that the more you can simulate these high pressure conditions in similar situations, the less frequently you'll make this kind of mistake ...
I think that Elina is dead right. Potstejnsky said that you need to practice the basic rules so that they become automatic and you don't need to think about them. Each mistake happens because you break one of the basic rules. Checking your control station number and code description is one of the basic routines that should be automatic. If you practice it enough during the training then it will be automatic during the race and if it is automatic then you can't make this mistake. The same can be said about the other rules. Something to think about and start working on once you are back from Ottawa. The goal is not to make any mistakes (not running fast). All the other comments from Mike and yourself are correct too.