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St. Mary's College

Date: (Sun.) Oct. 24, 2021
Location: Moraga, CA
Event Director:
Course Setter: Matej Sebo
Type: A; National Ranking Event (NRE) with qualification and final Sprints (2 ranking courses!), and a course for beginners. NOTE: Online registration is REQUIRED for the Sprints.

Be sure to read the notes recently added at the top of the main event webpage and the description of the start procedure. Start times for the Qualifier are here (

Course Setter’s Notes

By Matej Å ebo

St. Mary’s College is a small campus located just outside of Moraga, and has a few unique qualities that make it excellent Sprint orienteering terrain. The center of the campus is almost completely flat, with the terrain sloping sharply upwards around it. Most of the courses are set in this flat central area, although this year’s courses will incorporate part of the surrounding terrain.

The campus has many overhangs and narrow passageways with sharp changes in direction. Attention to detail is often important to determine which areas are passable, and the shapes of the buildings make it possible to set longer route choices with multiple possible options. Reading vegetation boundaries and picking the correct routes through them will also be important in parts of this year’s courses.

The Map

The courses will be set on a map originally drafted by Bob Cooley in October 2018, which has since been revised and expanded. Part of the current map was used for the 2018 Sprint SF event at this venue.

The map has since been converted to the ISSprOM 2019 standard (see here [2MB PDF] for the full specification), which differs from ISSOM 2017 in a few subtle ways. Most notably, for this particular map:

There is a blog post here ( with a visualization of some of the differences.

According to the ISSprOM 2019 recommendations, the map will be printed at 1:3,000 for the Beginner (Recreational) course and the Expert courses (i.e., for the classes that normally run White through Green), and 1:4,000 for the Elite courses. It has a contour interval of 2.5 meters.

The Courses

Preliminary course statistics (subject to slight variation) are as follows:

    Course                   Distance   Climb  Controls  Classes
    Beginner (Recreational)   1.6 km    20 m      19     None  
    Expert Quali              1.8 km    25 m      17     “White” thru ”Green”  
    Elite Quali               2.5 km    40 m      22     “Red” & “Blue” 
    Expert Final              1.8 km    25 m      20     “White” thru ”Green”  
    Elite Final               2.8 km    25 m      26     “Red” & “Blue” 

The Beginner (Recreational) course will start next to the assembly area. It will be set to White/Yellow standards, ideal for newcomers to orienteering.

Both Quali courses and both Final courses are National Ranking Events, and thus each course has a 1-hour time limit (i.e., per OUSA rules).

The Quali and the Final will start from different locations, both remote. The Quali Start is 300–500 m away from the assembly area, with no climb. The Final Start is 1.0–1.5 km away from the assembly area, with 70–90 meters of climb (the Final courses will have a slight net downhill grade). The routes to the remote Starts will be marked with pin flags. Be sure to plan to have enough time to walk to the start locations, especially for the Final.

The Finish is the same for all the courses. It is located next to the assembly area, on Chapel Green (same location as in 2018).

These courses will all be set to Sprint standards. Most control locations will be at a Yellow/Orange level; technical difficulty is not the primary challenge competitors will experience. There will be many changes in direction, with an emphasis on quick map reading and route choice. Expected winning times are in the 12- to 15-minute range for the Quali and Final. Due to the short length of the courses, no refreshments will be offered at controls.

Any competitor spotted crossing impassable barriers as defined in ISSprOM 2019 (i.e., buildings, olive green, 100% green, as well as any walls, fences, or hedges that are mapped as “impassable”), will be immediately disqualified. Marshals may be stationed throughout the courses to ensure fair play. Here are some map symbols for features you are not allowed to cross:

“Impassable” Map Features

The Elite Quali course will be printed across two maps. Both maps will be provided to competitors at the Start, facing outwards within a single map case. Competitors will start the course using one map, and after completing the course up until a certain control (#10, for example), will flip over their “double-sided” map and use the other map through to the Finish. In this example, map 1 would depict the course from the Start Triangle to control #10, and map 2 would depict the course from control #10 to the Finish. Control #10 would be shown on both maps. This makes the Elite Quali map much easier to read.

I would also like to remind all runners to carefully read the map when approaching a control. Remember that not all of the controls you see will be on your course, so remember to check each control code before punching.

Regarding the controls, they will be configured to operate in beacon mode (except the START units), so they will work with the SPORTident Air+ finger sticks. (SI Air+ finger sticks are turned on by the CHECK unit, and are turned off by the FINISH unit. So always be sure to “punch” [wave] at the Finish [which, of course, you always do].)