2002 US Championships

Prince William Forest, VA
Nov. 2-3, 2002

by Evan Custer

The 2002 US Individual Classic Distance Orienteering Championships were held at Prince William Forest, about 30 miles south of Washington, D.C., on November 2nd and 3rd. The event was hosted by Quantico Orienteering Club (QOC) and was very well run, with generally good courses through marvelous wooded terrain in northern Virginia. About 21 BAOC'ers attended.

Prince William Forest was first used for the 1994 North American Championships. However, the park service then changed policy and said that only one-day local events could be held. But last year a new supervising ranger decided that orienteering was a fine activity for the park, and now actually encourages orienteering events to be held there.

The park is predominantly forested with typical ridge and gully terrain with a moderate path network and very little rock detail. There is virtually no fight. The forest was an absolute dream to run through with very minimal deadfall and no slash and not very steep. There was a fair amount of contour detail, mainly with multiple small reentrants and spurs. The course setters took good advantage of this by designing legs that would make you choose which reentrant to go down after you crossed a ridge. As a result, many people had a lot of trouble, and parallel errors were abundant. On the whole, I thought Peggy Dickinson and Kris Harrison did a very good job with the course design. My only criticism was that on day 2 there were two yellow-level water controls on the advanced courses. I think it would not have been that much more difficult to have chosen a relatively close by area that was more technically challenging to have these water controls.

The map was originally made in the early '90s and was supposed to have been completely redone for the champs. However, this fell through, and so local club members made some map corrections. On the whole, I thought the map was fairly good, although some people said they had a lot of problems with it. I do know that there was a big cut in a hill from a previous railroad grade that was only shown with a tiny dip in a contour line. This caused me and many others to wonder where they were when they came across this big "unmapped" feature.

In M21, James Scarborough had a lot of problems on Day 1, making about 20 minutes worth of errors, but did better in Day 2, coming in 8th overall, but 3rd for the US championships and received the bronze medal. Brian May from MNOC came in first overall and won the gold medal. Eric Bone from Cascade got the silver medal.

In the hotly contested M45 class, Bruce Wolfe got off to a bad start with a 10-minute error on the first control on Day 1, and another 3- minute error on the third control. However, he had an excellent run on Sunday, and managed to earn the silver medal.

Hannu Haarma also had problems in Day 1 in M55. He made a 10-minute error on control 8 going down the wrong spur, but also did better on Day 2, making about a 6-minute error, again on control 8. However, shortly after that control, he tripped over a stump and fell hard on the ground, cracking two ribs. He still managed to finish in second place for the day and overall, and get the silver medal. Hannu's nemesis, Peter Gagarin, had near perfect runs both days, and won the gold finishing over 25 minutes ahead of Hannu. Dennis Wildfogel had a good day on Sunday, coming in third in M55, but it was not enough to compensate for a series of bad controls the preceding day.

In M60, I was fortunate in that two of my main competitors did not enter. Tony Federer didn't come, and Don Davis was the vetter. Even though I made a couple of errors on Saturday and another 3 on Sunday, for a total of about 14-15 minutes, others had similar problems and I managed to avoid the really big error, and so squeaked by with the gold medal.

Rachel Care earned the silver medal in F-14. Gary Kraght won M-Brown and Doug Stein, recovering from a bad cold, won M-Green.

Here are the results for BAOC members. Complete results are at http://qoc.us.orienteering.org/0211023r.htm.

                                      Day One      Day Two     Total
  Class     Pl   Name                Time   Pl    Time   Pl    Time


  F-14       2   Rachel Care         51:57   2    70:30   3    122:27


  F-16           Lauren Wolfe        80:18   6     MSP
  F-Orange       Jan Wolfe          138:32   5     MSP


  F50+       6   Leslie Minarik      92:04   3    99:48   8    191:52
  F60+       8   Joan Roos          118:46   8    96:41   2    215:27
  M-Brown    1   Gary Kraght         73:26   4    68:27   3    141:53


  F-20           Hillary Wolfe        OVT        135:09   4
  F45+      10   Louise Madrid      149:40  11   117:34   9    267:14
  M55+       2   Hannu Haarma        62:39   3    56:27   2    119:06
  M55+       7   George Minarik      78:57  12    66:23   7    145:20
  M55+      14   Dennis Wildfogel    98:09  21    62:16   3    160:25
  M60+       1   Evan Custer         75:26   2    74:17   1    149:43
  M-Green    1   Doug Stein          51:30   1    57:10   1    108:40


  M40+       6   Jeff Lewis         100:05   6    78:27   4    178:32
  M40+       9   Tapio Karras       108:18  12    87:24  10    195:42
  M40+      10   Ian Tidswell       105:57  10    93:29  12    199:26
  M45+       2   Bruce Wolfe         83:45   6    69:16   1    153:01
  M45+      13   Dan Greene         109:12  15    94:58  13    204:10


  M-21+      8   James Scarborough   96:22  15    78:06   6    174:28
  M-21+     10   Wyatt Riley         89:41   8    86:45  14    176:26
  M-21+     16   Syd Reader          93:48  14    93:22  19    187:10


MSP = Mispunch
OVT = Overtime