Evalin Brautigam Navigates World Orienteering Championships 4,000 Miles From Home

Evalin Brautigam Navigates World Orienteering Championships 4,000 Miles From Home

In her own words: “This summer for the most part I am staying home and working. For two weeks at the end of June and July, I went to Tartu, Estonia for the World Orienteering Championships (WOC). The races began June 30 and it was my first time going to the elite world championships. I ran the sprint, the long distance and the relay. The races were tough and I didn't have the best results, but it was a great learning experience for my first competition at this level. Now that I'm back home, I will be focusing on my summer mileage for cross country. “

About Estonia: The Republic of Estonia is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered on the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands and islets in the Baltic Sea, covering 45,339 km of land and water and is influenced by a humid, continental climate. The territory dates to 6500 BC.

About Orienteering: Orienteering is a competitive international sport that combines racin g with navigation. It is a timed race in which individual participants use a specially created, highly detailed map to select routes and navigate through diverse and often unfamiliar terrain and visit control points in sequence. Courses also can be enjoyed as a walk in the woods, with difficulty levels from beginner to expert offered at most events.

Orienteering is included in the programs of world sporting events including the World Games and World Police and Fire Games. Twenty years ago, failed efforts were made to include orienteering in the Olympic Games, but it was instituted in the World Games in 2001. Tove Alexandersson of Sweden is the top-ranked female in the world and Olav Lundanes of Norway the top-ranked male. No US men or women are ranked among the Top 100. The only World Orienteering Championship to be held in North America took place at Harriman State Park, just north of New York City in 1993. Two orienteering clubs exist in Connecticut: New England Orienteering Club (NEOC) and Western Connecticut Orientering Club (WCOC).

“Orienteering is a great mix between using your mind and physical activity,” says Evalin. “My greatest strength is navigation. You have to be able to navigate easily, so that’s a good skill. The racing is the most challenging because it involves a lot of physical activity so that can be difficult. Running track definitely helps me.”

About Evalin: A lifelong orienteering enthusiast, Evalin learned the sport from her parents, Pavlina and Joe, who began competing as teenagers. Evalin first competed at the Junior WOC in Rauland, Norway in the summer prior to her freshman year at Eastern.

Evalin is entering her fourth season with the women’s cross country team as one of five senior returnees. A Sport & Leisure Management major pursuing a career in coaching, Evalin ran four years of cross country, indoor and outdoor track at Bethel High School, serving as a senior captain. At Eastern, she has never missed a race through the Little East Conference Championships, competing in all possible 17 meets. In 2016, she ran to a 49th-place finish in a field of 85 at the LEC meet at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.