July 23, 2007 -- Marietta, GA
I'm extremely proud of the 2007 USA Wildwater Junior Team that competed in Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC this past week. We had the
largest, best coached and best organized USA Junior Team in the history of our sport. And everyone learned a great deal from the
training and racing. I am also happy to report that I was able to work it so that every team member had the opportunity to race
one form or another in every event!
I am also extremely proud of our coaching and mangement staff. Much of the reason for our success is due to them. Maurizio
Tognacci is one of the best coaches in the World and I was honored to have him as our head coach. Tom O'Sullivan and Denny Adams
were wonderful assistant mangers. Lisa Adams and Blake Sparks were very helpful as assistant coaches and Blake was also a great
help to me in the Team Leaders meetings.
Several months ago we developed the strategy that our best chance for a medal at the Junior Worlds would be on the Sprint course
at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. The extreme boils and unpredictable surges take some getting used to. In addition,
this years Junior Worlds had the brand new event of Sprint Team Racing. So we focused much of our training efforts on team racing and
mastering the USNWC course in Charlotte. As a result, nearly all of the USA competitors made it down the course on the race days
while many competitors flipped and swam!
We were also smart to recruit (thanks to Denny Adams) and to train our C-2 team of Hartle and Beach to race in the C-1 Team run
(so that we would have enough boats).
And as a result we won two medals in the Team Sprint Races at Charlotte and one in the Classic Team Race in Columbia:
- O'Sullivan, Kunz and Pierotti won an honest to goodness World's Championship Bronze medal in the hotly contested K-1W class
(with six teams competing) at the USNWC course in Charlotte
- Adams, Beach and Hartle won an international bronze medal in C-1 Team at the USNWC course and were also awarded an
international bronze medal in the C-1 Classic Team Race on the Saluda River in Columbia.
But the team did much more than win 3 medals. Our top woman, Tierney O'Sullivan also raced well enough in the Classic distance
race in Columbia to qualify for "Performance Funding" when she finished 12.9% off of the World Champion in spite of racing with
a sprained ankle. And our top K-1 athlete, Chan Jones finished 9.9% off of the winner when he placed 17th in the Sprint Race in Charlotte.
Laura Adam and Micki Reeves showed tremendous improvement over the two weeks of training and really showed me something the last
two days. Craig Adams earned the "Brave Heart Award" for his true guts to hang in there in the team run and Cody Beach and Logan
Hartle are truly fearless.
Obviously we had a couple of minor challenges too. As with any group of Juniors, it was sometimes challenging to keep them
focused on racing. For example, several of our racers wanted to buy the new "Harry Potter" book at midnight the night it was
released and stay up all night and read it. A couple of them went to tears when the coaches said "no." And when they did get the
book the next day, they drifted off to fantasy land and true to our warnings, the "Harry Potter" readers typically did not race
up to their potential.
But overall, our team raced extremely well. I was very appreciative of the respect that they showed the coaches and the way they
really pulled together during the two weeks they trained and raced together.
Please join me congratulating the 2007 Junior World Championship Team for their outstanding results. I am hopeful that this is
just the beginning of their Wildwater racing career.
USA Junior Wildwater Team - 2007 Worlds Results
|Tierney O'Sullivan - Roswell, GA|
|Laura Adams - Grand Junction, CO|
|Sarah Kunz - Durango, CO|
|Anna Pierotti - Durango, CO|
|Micki Reeves - Grand Junction, CO|
|Sarah Dodge - Boulder, CO|
|Craig Adams - Grand Junction, CO|
C-2 (individual) C-1 (team run)
|Logan Hartle - Grand Junction, CO|
|Cody Beach - Grand Junction, CO|
|Chandler Jones - Franklin NC|
|Lucas Palko-Schraa Durango, CO|
|Peter Lutter - - Bethesda, MD|
|Alex Dodge - Boulder, CO|
|Michael Turvey - Boulder, CO|
|Nathan Hamm - Pittsburgh, PA|
For complete results visit: www.jwwc2007.com/therace.html.
USA Team Photos:
http://photos.irishwildcat.com/p316091134. (Thanks to John Slankas of IrishWildcat Photography for sharing these
photos with us. Please do not use these photos for any commercial purposes)