2017 OUSA Competitive Award Winners Announced

The Annual OUSA Orienteering Awards are given to American orienteers in several categories for outstanding competitive performance over the course of the past year. The Awards Committee members are Susan Grandjean, Boris Granovskiy, Linda Kohn, Patrick Nuss, and Ken Walker Sr.

This is the eighth year for these awards, and the third year that Orienteering USA members had the opportunity to vote for the candidates. The committee thanks all those who submitted nominations and who took the time to vote for your top OUSA athletes.  We had a record number of votes cast this year! The vote totals were used as the main component in final award selection.

The Orienteer, Junior and Comet of the Year award winners each receive a $500 travel grant to help them continue to improve their skills. Additionally, for the first time, this year's Honorable Mentions in the Comet and Junior of the Year categories will receive $100 travel grants.

The Awards Committee would like to thank three anonymous donors for their generous contributions to the travel grants.

Past Competitive Award winners are listed here, with links to the respective announcements.

Here are the 2017 winners and honorable mentions (HM). Congratulations to all the winners!
(view announcement with photographs in the e-newsletter)

Orienteer of the Year

Awarded to the best U.S. orienteer in 2017, based on results at national and international events.

Greg Ahlswede (DVOA and Escondite Nature Sport, Spain)

After spending several weeks in Estonia to prepare for the 2017 World Championships, Greg delivered with a 47th place in the WOC long distance, which is the top U.S. men’s finish in this discipline in many years.

He also won the Hudson Highlander, finished 2nd at the U.S. Classic Champs, is ranked 1st in the U.S. in M21, and is the top-ranked U.S. male orienteer in the world.

Honorable Mention: Pavlina Brautigam (WCOC)

Pavlina became World Champion in her age group, F55+, in the sprint distance at the World Masters Orienteering Championships in New Zealand. She also finished in 4th place in the long distance at the same Championships.

Back home, she earned the bronze medal in F-21+ at the US Classic Championships.

[photo credit: Thomas Stolberger]

Junior Orienteer of the Year

Awarded to the best U.S. orienteer in 2017 under the age of 21, based on results at national and international events.

Anton Salmenkylä (CSU and Helsingin Suunnistajat, Finland)

Anton overcame a broken foot early in the season to lead the US team at JWOC and produce the best-ever US JWOC middle distance result, finishing 29th.

He was also the best US male in the sprint (58th) and long distance (75th) at JWOC.

[photo: Dave Yee]


Honorable Mention: Julia Doubson (BAOC)

Julia qualified for the U.S. WOC Team as a junior by winning the sprint race at the Senior Team Trials and beating all the junior and senior women in attendance.

Julia also had the best U.S. female performance at JWOC, finishing 55th in the sprint.

She is currently ranked 1st in the U.S. in F20.

[photo: Dave Yee]

Comet of the Year

Awarded to the U.S. orienteer who has made the most progress in orienteering results during the 2017 season.

Anthony Riley (DVOA)

AJ really improved in 2017 with solid performances at Team Trials, JWOC, and the fall National Ranking Events.

He went from being ranked 7th in M20 in 2016 to 2nd in 2017, and qualified for his first JWOC Team.

[photo: Dave Yee]



Honorable Mention: Siri Christopherson (COC)

After being named an alternate to the 2016 JWOC team, Siri took the 2017 JWOC trials by storm, finishing 2nd in the middle and long distance races and 4th in the sprint, easily qualifying for the team.

The highlight of Siri’s JWOC performance was 86th place in the long distance.

[photo: Dave Yee]


Honorable Mention:  Aidan Minto (ICO)

Aidan won the US Interscholastic Championships, competed well for his age (15!) at JWOC, and did well at the US Classic Champs, earning a silver medal in M20.

He was ranked 3rd in M20 at the end of the year, after having a ranking equivalent to 9th in 2016.

[photo: Dave Yee]

Team of the Year

Awarded for the best team competitive performance during the 2017 season.

U.S. Men's JWOC Relay Team

Composed of Anton Salmenkyla (#19, in red singlet and blue pants), Thomas Laraia, and David Runde, the team finished as the 18th nation, just 18 minutes behind winning Norway. This ties for the best ever U.S. men’s relay finish at JWOC.

[photo: Dave Yee]


Honorable Mention: North American Team at the Venla Relay

Americans Julia Doubson, Isabel Bryant, Amanda Johansson, and Canadian Emma Waddington competed as a team at the prestigious annual Venla relay in Finland. The team raced extremely well and finished 132nd out over 1200 teams.

Competition Awards eligibility

To be awarded any of the individual awards a nominee has to be a USA citizen, and must be a member of Orienteering USA in good standing during the current calendar year. Additionally, for the Junior Orienteer of the Year award, the nominee has to be no older than 20 at the end of the calendar year. To be selected for the Orienteering Team of the Year award, all team members have to be Orienteering USA members and represent the U.S. or an OUSA chartered club in competition.

Competitors in any forms of orienteering are eligible, including Foot O, Ski O, Mountain Bike O, Trail O, and Rogaining.

The award winners were selected by a committee appointed by Orienteering USA from a list of candidates nominated by members of the U.S. and international orienteering communities, with voting by OUSA members again guiding the selection this year.

Previous Competitive Award winners

posted 3 April 2018