EMPO Times Fall 2000


Major Championships Near Home

This year the "Main Events" are in the Northeast. First the North American Orienteering Championships will be held in Harriman State Park, in the Hudson Highlands just below West Point.

Simply put, this is always a fine event, and we can expect a major effort by our Canadian neighbors to break the long running string of the host country always winning the Continental Title. Having just returned from the Canadian Championships at Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, I can tell you that the Way-Up North Orienteers (WUNO, not UNO) are more than ready to knock us off. We pretty much had our clocks cleaned in quite a lot of categories. But you know where we still excel? In the younger and mid-life-crisis categories. And for the Continental title, all categories count, not just the Elites. So think about making this your one big trip in the Fall, and contribute your efforts towards putting the US back on top. Plus, the lower Hudson Valley is beautiful at the end of October (a bit past peak foliage colors, but very colorful and OPEN woods for running). As the Schedule shows, there are some mid-week events after the North Americans, of which one is also quite close by, in Connecticut. If you can manage a day off from work and/or school, this should be another high class event.

But after all that, the big enchilada comes along with the US Championships at the start of November (my favorite month; of course, besides great O-ing it happens to include my birthday, along with two national holidays, and one more for NY State workers). The North Americans will draw a lot of Canadians down, but the US Champs will draw even more folks from the Mid-West and West Coast. It's a little further down to the Delaware Valley than it is to the Hudson Valley, but it's still easily doable after work Friday evening (if not very early Saturday morning). I'm particularly partial to this setup because my greatest orienteering success was finishing "in the money" in 3rd at the US Champs held by DVOA in 1993. I've finished 2nd in both the US Short-O and US Long-O since then, but never done better than 4th in the true US Champs again. So come on down, and help EMPO put some more numbers up on the leader board.

One point I should make, is that to be eligible to be US Champ (or NA Champ from the US) you will have to be a USOF member. You can still compete even if you aren't a member, but you can't be the Champ. Joining also saves you some money on the entry fees, along with providing you Orienteering North America, a nice magazine full of orienteering info. See the application form.

Speaking of EMPO, our own schedule has a number of fine venues lined up for this season. We are trying to continue our move to "everything on a color map" by updating the map of Five Rivers Environmental Center for the first meet in September. We never managed to work out the "Middle School Championships" aspect of it, but bring all your School kids, Scouts, Grandparents, toddlers, et al, anyway. No one can get lost at Five Rivers, no matter how hard they try. But fortunately the map update has added some new territory and some new features, which should allow for a fuller range of courses than we have tried on the last few outings there.

Probably the Club's best map is Grafton Lakes. A few years back part of the map was ruined for us when the land was logged, but all the critical area around the lakes themselves is still great for running, and wonderfully well mapped. If you've been there you know just how good this can be; and if you haven't, you owe to yourself and your near-and-dear to get out there. Columbus Day in Grafton should be spectacularly beautiful, so if you don't have it as a Holiday, plan now and TAKE THE DAY OFF! Our Columbus Day treat two years ago brought a lot of neighboring club members (CNYO & NEOC), so come join the fun.

Finally, we have the Club Champs in November in Niskayuna. It's usually fast going there, though we have had a couple of US Champions fail to even finish, proving once again that "on any given Sunday?" Look forward to seeing you here, and all season long.

-- Phil Hawkes-Teeter

EMPO Relay Teams Move On Up

With the US Relay Championships being held by an adjacent Club, members of the EMPO Relay Team figured the Club could get two full squads to the race this year. The US Relays these days always feature a format which requires some broader participation than simply the best four runners from a Club, with points being granted for older, younger, and female team members. After much calculation and juggling, EMPO managed to come up with the two teams, one "4 Point" (mostly prime age males) and one "8 Point" (more, uh, "politically correct" or "diverse", or perhaps mostly just more old). The lineups weren't completely settled until the morning of the race, and since we actually had nine members there, while each team required four, one had to hook up with another mixed team. But it all worked out, and the two EMPO teams did pretty well. Our "Elite" Team had the Club's highest finish ever, coming in a strong 6th (US) in a total field of 22; while the our "Diverse" Team managed a respectable 17th in a field of 33. Two recent additions to the EMPO Elites, Laszlo Kolyvek and Grant Staats, turned in fine performances, while the Tryson and Hawkes-Teeter regulars were able to hold their own.

All in all, it was a fun experience for everyone. One important sidelight was that the UNO club (Up North Orienteers, centered in Southern New Hampshire) managed to get together eleven teams (that's forty-four people!) by recruiting, paying entry fees, and generally pushing the experience of getting to an 'A' Meet. Depending upon where the Relay Champs are held in the next year or two, if they aren't too far away, EMPO will consider doing something similar. Once you get to a National level event, you'll be hooked, and love every minute of it!

And they're off! Greg Tryson of EMPO's "Diverse" Team is near the front of the field, keeping just ahead of the big white dog. (And which team was the dog on again?) Laszlo Kolyvek of the EMPO "Elite" Team is hidden in this shot, but he's quite visible on the cover of the June/July issue of Orienteering North America.
US Relay Action -- the Leg 3 to 4 exchanges for EMPO's Diverse and Elite Teams: Janet tags Phil, and Glen slaps Grant.
Grant Staats finishes the anchor leg for the EMPO Elites
The EMPO Elite Relay Team, prior to the start of the race. From left: Laszlo Kolyvek, Marty Hawkes-Teeter, Grant Staats, Glen Tryson. The first digits of their bib numbers show which leg they ran.
The EMPO Diverse Team: Phil Hawkes-Teeter, Janet Tryson, Susan Hawkes-Teeter, Greg Tryson (with Agnes Hunyady in the background).

-- Phil Hawkes-Teeter