It should be a fun event on new maps on the Quantico Marine Corps Base, with courses by Riley Culberg and Tom Strat.
M21 has a pretty strong field assembled, though a couple of notable names are missing (Jordan, Giacomo, Michael Laraia, Riley and Kevin Culberg). Here are my thoughts on the favorites:
Greg Ahslwede - defending champion, clearly best U.S. male orienteer this season. His achilles heel has been Jordan, who has beaten him three times this fall. But Jordan won't be there, so the title is Greg's to lose.
Eric Bone - the evergreen veteran from the West coast is looking to win only his second Classic Champs title (though he has won 5 of the 8 contested Long championships). He is likely to be Greg's chief challenger.
Will Enger - another West coaster making a trip to the runnable woods of the East. Will is the current U.S. Middle and Long distance champion and was in excellent form this summer. Has he sustained this form through bike commuting? Or is there secret training he hasn't been logging? We'll find out this weekend.
Sergei Zhyk - king of the two-day classic format, Sergei has won the Classic Champs four times, most recently in 2015. Earlier this spring, it appeared that southern life in Charlotte has made him top-heavy and muscle-bound, but he is aiming for a comeback and won the Bubba Goat last weekend. Never count him out.
Wyatt Riley - the wily veteran medaled the last time the Classic Champs were in these parts in 2007 and only seems to be getting better with age.
Ken Walker Jr. - will home court advantage propel Kenny, Mr.AttackPoint, to the podium?
Boris Granovskiy - on the comeback trail post back surgery, but is there enough fitness to get through two days?
Ian Smith - often in the mix, but slowed down by a steady diet of late-night Canadian burritos.
Even darker horses:
Will Hubsch - speedy former JWOC runner, now turned to cycling. Looked strong at the Highlander.
Pete Nelson - ran WOC for the US way back in 1999(?). Can he contend?
The F21 field is significantly smaller and is missing most of the recent U.S. WOC team members, who are either living abroad, raising tiny humans, or otherwise occupied.
The likely favorites are:
Alex Jospe - retired from the National team, but still strong. Time for a first U.S. Classic title?
Pavlina Brautigam - 5-time winner, most recently in 2006. Ran impressively well at the Boulder Dash - could take the title if others implode - but is this terrain technical enough for her?
Tori Borish - Speedy West Coaster and reigning U.S. Sprint Champion. Can she challenge for the win in a forest discipline?
Evalin Brautigam - the only 2017 U.S. WOC team member in the F21 field.