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Western US Junior Wildwater Team Selection

by Denny Adams, Events and Programs Chair

April 26, 2012 -- Glenwood Springs, CO

Eleven junior racers qualified for this year's Jr. National Wildwater Team at this past weekend's Western US Jr. Wildwater Team Trials held in Glenwood Canyon in Colorado. They join with Selena Popp (K-1W Jr) and Jack Andraka (K-1 Jr) who were chosen earlier at last month's Eastern US Jr. Wildwater Team Trials held at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

It is important to appreciate that this year's Jr team program efforts is dedicated toward stepping up our kids training and conditioning to be able to compete with their European counterparts at next year's Junior Worlds. The major junior wildwater races this summer will include the US Championships next month in Wyoming (which will include training opportunities and will have extra funding provided for the junior level competitions). We will also be encouraging participation in the Jr. Olympics for Whitewater, in regional level races such as FIBArk, and especially in doing lots of domestic river paddling on challenging rivers. At a regional level we are working on putting together several trips to places like Westwater and Cataract Canyon for those interested in taking their paddling skills onto bigger water.

Several, if not most, of our athletes are equally committed to slalom and freestyle and will be competing in major events in those disciplines. An example of this was our racers going directly from our 2.5 mile classic race, one in which several kids did multiple runs, on down to a freestyle clinic and competition in Glenwood Springs put on by Peter Benedict of CRMS. Peter had his kids racing in our event too. In particular, we need to recognize and support the multi-discipline efforts of Cully Brown and Spencer Huff who, along with racing in our trials, were preparing for the US Jr. Slalom Team Trials that are coming up shortly. They did this training on a very challenging whitewater course put up on the Shoshone run by dads Russ Huff and Brent Brown right after their Wildwater Sprint runs. Both racers are working extra hard in hopes of being able to race in the Jr. Slalom Worlds which are being held in the US for the first time in decades. The next International Championship level wildwater event our juniors will race in will be held next summer, not this summer, and will be with a team selected at next year's Jr. Team Trials.

Being in a non-World Jr. Championship year, our team trials racers were encouraged this weekend to compete in more than one boat class. Three of our C-2 competitors also raced in C-1 while one challenged the K-1 field which had only three other competitors participating on the second day. Taking things in the other direction, K-1 W Naomi Everhart teamed up with Henry Hyde to get in a C-2 run on the Sprint course. It is important to note that each of these dual event qualifiers met the required "percentage of top K-1 standards" and did so without displacing other qualified, single event competitors, in either of the events that they qualified for.

Without further introduction the qualifiers for the US National Junior Team from the Western US are:

K-1Cully Brown, Durango, Colorado; Nico Touozzi, Carbondale, Colorado; Spencer Huff, Lyons, Colorado; Tim Shermerhorn, Boulder, Colorado
K-1WNaomi Everhart, Boulder, Colorado
C-1Nick Rinard, Boulder, Colorado; Ethan Putnam, Boulder, Colorado
C-2Gabe Machado/Will Goggans; Zach Gallop/Dave McConnell

Second Event Qualifiers - Gabe Machado, Boulder, Colorado, C-1, Will Goggans, Boulder, Colorado, C-1; Zach Gallop, Boulder, Colorado, C-1; David McConnell, Boulder, Colorado, K-1

Click here for the complete results