Junior to compete in World Orienteering Championships

Christina Tuttle, Editor-In-Chief

She leaps over a log, splashes through a creek, and weaves through a grove of trees. Compass grasped in her palm, she sprints through the forest. A flash of orange catches her attention, and she scrambles over to the flag peeking out from behind a bush. After quickly scanning the electronic stick on her finger, she’s off to the next checkpoint.

Junior Siri Christopherson has been orienteering for years. Similar to a scavenger hunt, in this sport each competitor races to locate a series of checkpoints using only a map and compass.

Though Christopherson participated in the sport recreationally with her family while growing up, she didn’t begin competing until three years ago. Along with her sister Tyra, Christopherson joined the Cascade Orienteering Club. Since then, they both rose through the ranks to become members of the Junior National Orienteering Team.

At time trials this April, she set out to qualify for the Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) and represent the United States in Tampere, Finland this July. After coming in at second place in two out of the three races, Christopherson made the team.

“I was really expecting and hoping to make the JWOC team this year, and I ended up doing that in April. I’m really excited. I can’t wait to compete in Finland against the world’s best juniors,” Christopherson said.

Christopherson was drawn to the sport because it combined two distinct skills: running and navigation.

“The coolest part about orienteering is that it’s not just physical and it’s not just mental,” Christopherson said. “You combine both aspects of that, and both aspects influence how fast your race is going to be.”

As Christopherson explains, this multidimensional aspect of orienteering is just one reason why she enjoys the sport.

“You get to experience the area close up. You’re not just driving by, and you’re not just on trails walking past the scenery. You’re actually getting into the woods and thrashing through the brush. You get to see all aspects of the natural world,” Christopherson said. “It’s neat to see all of that on foot instead of looking at it from afar.”