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Top College, World Orienteers at A-meet next April

The Club's planned A-meet moved a few steps closer to reality during the Fall. A team of three field-checkers spent several weeks combing the entire Palos North forest preserve, checking and accurately mapping every feature larger than one meter in size: ditches, pits, depressions, knolls, boulders, rootstocks.... In addition, three levels of green vegetation were studied and mapped: slow run, difficult and fight. These replaced the two levels of green on the old 1982 map of the area. Now the A-meet "brain trust" of Rich Gaylord, Carl Larsson and Joe Sehnal are working to digitize the field notes, and decide how best to produce the competition maps and 14 courses over the two days. Creating a quality orienteering map requires lots of expensive trained Club manpower.

Paying for all this work is one of the main reasons the Club puts on A-meets with $18/day registration fees. Other reasons for the A-meet are:

  1. to introduce Club members to elite orienteers of all ages from outside the area
  2. to build enthusiam for the sport with a two-day orienteering "festival"
  3. to give Club members an opportunity to compete and win awards within their own age and gender class.


Already awarded status as a World Ranking Event, the Club's A-Meet next April 27-28 has also been designated the 2002 U.S. Intercollegiate Championships. Students at local and national colleges will be eligible to attend and compete for Intercollegiate awards against some of the best young orienteering talent in the U.S.

College orienteering teams from outside Illinois are expected from West Point, Texas, Washington State and other colleges with strong orienteering programs. All Club members are asked to help publicize the meet by informing college students they may know about the special college-level competition.

There will be two skill levels of competition at the Intercollegiates: Varsity (top college orienteers) and Junior Varsity. The Varsity male competitors will orienteer on the Red course, and the Varsity women on Green. Both male and female Junior Varsity competitors will compete on the Orange course both days. The JV competition is perfect for new orienteers who would like to try the sport and compete with similar college students from all over the country. And since most college students are under 21, they can register for only $10/day!

Club members are invited to host visiting college-age competitors during their stay in the Chicago area over the meet weekend. If interested in finding out more about the college-level competition or hosting, please call meet director, Clark Maxfield (773-477-0987).

Courses and Map

Meanwhile, Carl Larsson was designing the courses for the two-day meet on the newly revised Palos North map. "This is a beautiful area that has long been used for orienteering" said Carl, "recent improvements have only made the area better" referring to the removal of the extensive fencing which had blocked a large portion of the map's plateau area. In addition, Mapping Director Richard Gaylord has added a large new parcel of white woods north of Maple Lake that has never been previously mapped. This new area is filled with ridges, reentrants, small streams and point features—a wealth of technical detail to sort out. A-meet orienteers will have their first shot at competing in this area at the April meet.

Courses to be offered will include the normal Red, Green, Orange, Yellow and White. In addition, two other courses will be offered each day: a Blue course (25% longer than Red) will offer a championship-level competition for men between the ages of 21 and 34 (the M-21+ class). This course is open to all orienteers of any age and gender who are looking for an extreme challenge.

Another special course offered only during the two days of the A-meet will be a Brown course. This course is 25% shorter than Green, but just as technically difficult; it is the shortest "advanced" course. It is perfect for orienteers who wish to test their map reading and navigational skills on a challenging short course, but don't necessarily want to take a long time to do it. Brown is the designated championship-level course for women from age 50 and men 65 and older. In addition, younger orienteers may enter in the Brown - Open class. For a complete description of all courses to be offered, refer to the USOF Standard Entry Form.

All maps will be premarked and sealed in waterproof bags along with appropriate clue sheets. Each registered competitor will have specific assigned start times on both days: on Saturday it will be after 11 a.m., and on Sunday after 9 a.m. So it will not be necessary to arrive any earlier than your assigned start time. And at the designated time, you will advance through the special three-stage start area, and at the sound of the timer clock, flip over your premarked map and begin orienteering.

Sign-up Now!

As with local orienteering meets, all Club members and the general public are welcome to attend and compete both days of the meet. Club members are encouraged to register now to support the Club. A special "early-bird" discount is available at this time. Rates are $10 per day for juniors age 20 or below, and $18 per day for adults. A new Club long-sleeved "Hanes Beefy-T" heavy cotton tee shirts will be available with a special Chicago Orienteering design for $15.

Although a regular local orienteering meet will be held simultaneously on both days ($8 per day), only White, Yellow and Orange courses will be available for those not pre-registered.

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