The School League (Washington Interscholastic Orienteering League) offers students from elementary to high school age a chance to enjoy orienteering as a competitive sport, empowering them to make sense of new surroundings and get outdoors in an immersive way.

While learning to orienteer, students learn to read topographic maps, use a compass, make route choices, and problem solve when things don’t go as expected. As students improve, these skills are used while running, providing a challenge for both mind and body.

School League is open to all students; previous experience or belonging to a team is not required. Students complete courses individually for points, while adding to their team score if they have one. Courses are separated by age, difficulty, and gender, providing an appropriate challenge for all levels. The categories are:

  • Elementary Boys
  • Elementary Girls
  • Middle School Boys
  • Middle School Girls
  • Junior Varsity Boys – North
  • Junior Varsity Boys – South
  • Junior Varsity Girls
  • Varsity Boys
  • Varsity Girls

School League events ascend in challenge as the season goes on. Events in the first half of the season are held in beginner-friendly venues, some of which are trails-only, while events in the second half move to more forested and challenging venues. The season is capped off with a championship event and an awards ceremony to recognize top individuals and teams in both the series overall and championship event.


2016-17 Season Calendar:

Learning to Orienteer

The quickest way to begin orienteering is to just show up at an event, talk to a beginner instructor, and try it with a friend. However, if you’d like more preparation than that, here are some resources for getting started:

  • Visit the Newcomer’s page on our website, so you’ll know what to expect at an event
  • Find a permanent course on the Maps page, to try it out at a park near you
  • Read the orienteering map legend

Sample Maps

Orienteering maps are highly detailed, with colors and symbols that are unique to orienteering. The course is marked with magenta circles and lines, but you are not expected to travel on the line, rather, you get to choose your own route! Here are some sample courses of varying difficulty at the same venue:

For Coaches

As a Coach, orienteering may be as new to you as it is to your students. We recommend that all coaches read the Orienteering Coach’s Handbook by Bob Forgrave.

This handbook details what skills each school category needs to master, plus steps for building an excellent team.


To register for the School League, print and fill out the linked form below, and mail it with payment to the address listed within. Postmark by October 15th, 2016 to avoid the $10 late fee.

For those discovering School League mid-season, your registrations are welcome, but will still include the $10 late fee.

WIOL Registration & Waiver 2016-2017

Questions about registration? Contact Kathy Forgrave


Coaches and participants alike should read and understand the rules, which cover these topics:

  • Choosing the right competition course
  • Specific rules for each competition course
  • Start times
  • Embargoed areas
  • Running on the right course
  • Safety
  • Teams
  • Scoring
  • Awards
  • Disqualification

The rules are available as a PDF: WIOL Rules 2016 – 2017