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Preliminary 2002 U.S. National Wildwater Rankings Released

2002 sees greatest race participation from the Mid-Atlantic region

by Tom Wier
USA Wildwater C-1
Member, USAWildwater Committee

November 24, 2002 -- Seattle, WA

The results of 37 races have been compiled into this year's national wildwater rankings. Participation was down from last year; a total of 446 racers were ranked, 131 of them in wildwater boats. The majority of racers were from the mid-Atlantic region, but a few high finishers were from the Southeast, Northwest, and Colorado. Partially, the low number of racers reflects difficulty obtaining race results. Hopefully, we will be able to add more results for the final rankings, but the current list is reasonably complete and accurate, especially towards the top of each class.

Winner of the Men's K-1 class for the forth year running was Andrew McEwan, beating out Chris Hipgrave by less than 2%. Chris defeated Andrew at the sprint at Team Trials and won Nationals with a strong classic race, but Andrew's win in the Team Trials classic and strong Mid Atlantic Series results boosted him into first. Simon Beardmore, third in Men's K-1, jumped from a 10th place ranking last year after taking a semester off of school to train. Despite Simon's great improvement, the most surprising finisher was Dave Hammond, ranked 55th in 2001. Dave came in 4th overall, with an impressive Mid Atlantic Series and strong Team Trials finishes. Chris Norbury rounded out the top 5, with Middy Tilghman in a close 6th. Ted Newton slipped to 10th this year, after only registering one race.

Lane Errickson won the Women's K-1 rankings by a narrow margin over Jennie Goldberg with an overall win at the NOC Glacier Breaker. Jennie raced more than any other woman, aided by the growing Northwest Cup series, but her ranking was hurt by poor sprint performances at Team Trials and Nationals. Other racers of note were the four junior women, Candice Caldwell, Beth Karp, Ahna Velez, and Lucy Logan, three of whom ranked in the top 20 women overall. Candice was an impressive 4th, but any of these young women could improve greatly in the next few years and make a good run for the top.

Last year's C-1 winner, Michael Beavers, showed his speed at the NOC Glacier Breaker this spring, and trained hard through Team Trials, only to suffer shoulder injuries days before Trials and Nationals. While racing only once, Michael managed to finish second behind Tom Wier. This was Tom's second year atop the rankings, having finished first in 2000 but behind Michael in 2001. In third was Bob Bofinger, National Champion for 2002. The top ranked OC-1, Steve Frazier, beat out Chris Osment by less than three percent for forth overall. Chris, in his last racing season, finished fifth with his consistent paddling at Team Trials. Jim Smoot and Ed Gordon, both in their first wildwater racing seasons, paddled well, Jim finishing 14th and Ed finishing 26st.

Only two young C-1 paddlers raced this year: Tom Grey from Colorado and Jeff Poe from the Southeast. Tom, as a Junior, was 18th overall and Jeff, a cadet, was 24th.

Only two C-2 teams raced in wildwater boats during the year. Jim Smoot and Michael Harris raced at Team Trials, while Chris Wiegand (also 18th in C-1) and Ian Wolfe raced once, late in the season, in Colorado. Wiegand and Wolfe finished first, while Harris and Smoot were fairly far back. Hopefully C-2 participation will increase next year as the World Cup comes to the US.

Tom Wier is a C-1 racer and athlete representative for the USAWildwater Subcommittee who trains and lives in Seattle, Washington. Reach him at

This year's rankings were compiled and calculated by Tom and Middy Tilghman, with many thanks from Michael Beavers, who would have had to do so without their generous help!--Ed.