Final Recap from Slalom Olympic Team Trials
To download FINAL results/breakdown click here.
Day 3 (Saturday) Update:
Overall Finish - Men’s K1*
(1) Scott Parsons
(2) James Wade
(3) Brett Heyl
* Michal Smolen -- 2nd Place overall; ineligible for 2012 Olympics
Overall Finish - Women’s K1
(1) Ashley Nee
(2) Caroline Queen
(3) Emily Jackson
Overall Finish - Men’s C1
(1) Benn Fraker
(2) Casey Eichfeld
(3) Zach Lokken
Overall Finish - Men’s C2
(1) Eric Hurd/Jeff Larimer
(2) Devin McEwan/Casey Eichfeld
(3) Scott McCleskey/Dave Hepp
Overall Finish - Women’s C1
(1) Colleen Hickey***
(2) Micki Reeves
(3) Hailey Thompson
*** It was originally , inaccurately reported that Hickey placed 2nd, not 1st.
Nominated to the U.S. U23 Slalom National Team:
Men’s K1: Michal Smolen, Ricky Powell, Isaac Levinson
Women’s K1: Ashley Nee, Caroline Queen, Emily Jackson
Men’s C1: Benn Fraker, Casey Eichfeld, Tyler Hinton
Women’s C1: Collen Hickey, Micki Reeves
Three U.S. boats maintain their lead in the points system for Olympic qualification as racing concluded Saturday at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) in Charlotte, N.C., April 12-14.
Next up is World Cup No. 1 in Cardiff, UK, June 8-12, the fourth and final Olympic selection event.
For complete results from each day, click HERE.
After initially qualifying the slot for Team USA at the 2011 World Championships, two-time Olympian Scott Parsons (Bethesda, Md.) won GOLD in Men’s K1 by turning in the fastest time on Day 3 and being the most consistent paddler in the ultra competitive class. His penalty-free second run time of 93.96 clinched the Trials win and the 30 Olympic qualification points that come with it.
Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) would have finished second overall, but citizenship issues render him ineligible for the World Cup No. 1 and 2012 Olympics. Smolen can compete at subsequent World Cups and at the 2012 Junior & U23 Slalom World Championships in Wausau, Wis., July 10-15.
Scott Parsons, Men’s Kayak: "It was a long pressure-filled three days of racing and I am happy to have come out of it with some good performances and am now looking forward to preparing for the final stage in our Olympic selection process."
Parsons on his Trials-clinching second run: “Everything from Gate 9 went just as I planned. The top was a bit off but I was really proud of how I recovered and finished strong.”
Saturday’s racing attracted a large crowd of spectators, as well as an international audience watching live on UniversalSports.com.
Each day consisted of two runs for each event. Out of a possible six runs, an athlete’s best four runs are used for ranking purposes.
Darnestown, Md.-natives Caroline Queen and Ashley Nee battled all weekend and will head into World Cup No. 1 tied with 30 Olympic qualification points. Queen owns the tiebreaker for initially earning the slot for Team USA at the 2011 World Championships, so Nee must finish in the top 20 and above Queen to book her ticket for London.
Queen recorded the fastest time each of the first two days of Trials, but struggled mightily on Saturday. Nee, on the other hand, earned the GOLD medal by turning in the two fastest times of Day 3 by a wide margin. Finishing third overall was
Emily Jackson (Rock Island, Tenn.), who comes from the Jackson family of freestyle kayakers and is relatively new to slalom racing.
Ashley Nee, Women’s Kayak: “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life right now. My dad told me to do that and that’s what I did.”
Nee on the competition with Queen: "Four years ago, there were a lot of other competitors in the mix. There isn’t really now. We have some good people behind us, but it’s really us trying to push each other. Our goal now is a really good showing at the Olympics. We’re [Nos.] one and two usually and we want to keep it that way. Whoever goes, hopefully they’ll be better for this crazy selection process that’s just a battle upon battle. We’re training each other.”
After initially qualifying the slot for Team USA at the 2012 Pan American Championships, 2008 Olympian Benn Fraker (Peachtree City, Ga.) locked down the GOLD medal in Men’s C1 by recording Saturday’s fastest run in 95.94, nearly 7.5 seconds faster than the next fastest time turned in by 2008 Olympian Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.). Eichfeld or Zach “Bug” Lokken (Durango, Colo.), 18, must to finish in the top 20 and higher than Fraker at World Cup No. 1 in order to earn the Olympic slot.
In the non-Olympic Women’s C1, Colleen Hickey won GOLD despite a late surge from Hailey Thompson (Stevens Point, Wis.), who turned in the fastest time for Day 3.
After initially qualifying the slot for Team USA at the 2012 Pan American Championships, Eric “Butter” Hurd (Woodstock, Ga.) and Jeff Larimer (Marietta, Ga.) clinched GOLD in the competitive C2 class by turning in the first and third fastest times of the day. Their penalty-free first run of 106.96 was nearly more than three seconds quicker than Casey Eichfeld and Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.). Unless Eichfeld and McEwan or Scott McCleskey (Sylva, N.C.) and Dave Hepp (Charlotte, N.C.) finish in the top 20 and higher than Hurd and Larimer at the World Cup No. 1, the Olympic slot belongs to Hurd and Larimer.
William Irving, USA Canoe/Kayak National Teams Director: “Devin [McEwan] and Casey [Eichfeld] showed some maturity in their paddling and had a much better last day, which helped them pull into second place. But [Eric] Hurd and [Jeff] Larimer are clearly our top C2 in the country right now.”
Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO: "Our 2012 Olympic Trials showed the strength of our selection process and now ensures USA Canoe/Kayak our best opportunity to win medals at the Olympic Games this summer. [National Teams Director] William [Irving] and our coaches did a terrific job preparing the athletes for these Trials.”
Top Men’s K1 Runs of Day 3
(1) Scott Parsons 93.96 run 2
(2) James Wade 94.32 run 2
(3) Michal Smolen 94.63 run 2
(4) Eric Hurd 95.23
(5) Scott Mann 96.41
(6) Michal Smolen 96.62 run 1
(7) James Wade 97.13 run 1
(8) Aaron Mann 97.17
(9) Isaac Levinson 97.89
(10) Scott Parsons 98.62 run 1
Top Women’s K1 Runs of Day 3
(1) Ashley Nee 111.29 run 1
(2) Ashley Nee 126.60 run 2
(3) Emily Jackson 134.88 run 2
(4) Emily Jackson 135.26 run 1
(5) Michelle Clements-Kvanli 139.14
(6) Aleta McCleskey 166.14 run 2
(7) Brynn Benson 209.96 run 1
(8) Caroline Queen 211.44
(9) Aleta McCleskey 217.39 run 1
(10) Brynn Benson 225.35 run 2
Top Men’s C1 Runs of Day 3
(1) Benn Fraker 95.94
(2) Casey Eichfeld 103.42 run 1
(3) Zach Lokken 106.80 run 2
(4) Zach Lokken 106.84 run 1
(5) Casey Eichfeld 106.85 run 2
(6) Tad Dennis 153.97 run 1
(7) Tyler Hinton 155.04
(8) Tad Dennis 159.54 run 2
(9) Jordan Poffenberger 182.11 run 1
(10) Jordan Poffenberger 197.85 run 2
Top Men’s C2 Runs of Day 3
(1) Eric Hurd/Jeff Larimer 106.96 run 1
(2) Devin McEwan/Casey Eichfeld 110.07 run 2
(3) Hurd/Larimer 110.35 run 2
(4) McEwan/Eichfeld 123.83 run 1
(5) Scott McCleskey/Dave Hepp 168.21
(6) McCleskey/Hepp 214.63
Top Women’s C1 Runs of Day 3
(1) Hailey Thompson 154.09 run 2
(2) Colleen Hickey 175.85 run 1
(3) Hailey Thompson 221.70 run 1
(4) Colleen Hickey 227.09 run 2
(5) Catie Vuksich 268.91 run 1
(6) Lisa Adams 271.16 run 1
(7) Micki Reeves 275.73 run 2
Day 2 (Friday) Update:
The athletes were presented with a very different course Friday, resulting in faster times on Day 2 of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) in Charlotte, N.C., April 12-14.
For complete results from both days, click HERE.
The final day of Trials - Saturday - will be streamed live at UniversalSports.com beginning 2:45pm Eastern. Commenting on the action will be USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi and USNWC course designer Scott Shipley.
The new course seemed to suit Eric Hurd (Woodstock, Ga.) who is competing in both Men’s K1 and C2. After recording the 14th fastest time in K1 Thursday, Hurd exploded Friday to finish in 91.79. The time was 2.5 seconds faster than second place finisher Scott Parsons (Bethesda, Md.), who turned in the second and third fastest times of the day.
Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) roared back Friday to post the fastest time of the day in Men’s C1. Eichfeld finished in 97.54, nearly 3.5 seconds faster than Benn Fraker (Peachtree City, Ga.). With Eichfeld back in contention to potentially win trials, the competition with Fraker should be very interesting.
Scott McCleskey (Sylva, N.C.) and Dave Hepp (Charlotte, N.C.) turned back the clock Friday to finish with the fastest time in Men’s C2. At 33 and 38 years old, respectively, the duo utilized their home course advantage to finish in 110.74, 0.6 seconds faster than Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer (Marietta, Ga.).
The Canadian Olympic Trials concluded Friday with 20-year-old Michael Tayler (Ottawa, Ontario) being named a 2012 Olympian in Men’s K1.
A course can be changed by altering the placement of the gates relative to the water flow. Clear skies and no wind made for perfect racing conditions on Friday.
Two runs for each event will take place each day from 2:45 - 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Out of a possible six runs, an athlete’s best four runs are used for ranking purposes.
Caroline Queen, Women’s Kayak: “I felt really good on both runs. While I got a bit unlucky on the second one with respect to penalties, I can’t be disappointed with how I was paddling.”
Scott Parsons, Men’s Kayak: "Today was another great day of strong performances. I’m happy with my result despite a couple of mistakes. Time to get ready for the third and final day. It is going to be fun!"
William Irving, USA Canoe/Kayak National Teams Director: “[Hurd’s] run today was absolutely incredible. For him to put down a 91-something is absolutely phenomenal. He put himself back in the mix in the K1s, on top of doing well in the C2. He’s leaving himself open to two options for making the Olympics by having great results in both events.”
Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO: "The second day of Olympic Trials was marked by the consistency we expect from our top athletes. Our top contenders are ready for an exciting final day of racing [Saturday]."
Top Men's K1 Runs of the Day
(1) Eric Hurd 91.79
(2) Scott Parsons 94.29 run 1
(3) Scott Parsons 94.63 run 2
(4) Scott Mann 94.64
(5) James Wade 95.25
(6) Michal Smolen 95.31 run 2
(7) Brett Heyl 95.33 run 1
(8) Brett Heyl 95.37 run 2
(9) Richard Powell 95.611
(10) Michal Smolen 95.613 run 1
Top Women's K1 Runs of the Day
(1) Caroline Queen 108.92 run 1
(2) Ashley Nee 110.76
(3) Emily Jackson 122.57 run 2
(4) Emily Jackson 129.83 run 1
(5) Aleta McCleskey 152.23 run 2
(6) Aleta McCleskey 155.30 run 1
(7) Caroline Queen 160.50 run 2
(8) Michelle Clements-Kvanli 177.98 run 2
(9) Michelle Clements-Kvanli 184.16 run 1
(10) Anna Ifarraguerri 191.35
Top Men's C1 Runs of the Day
(1) Casey Eichfeld 97.54 run 1
(2) Benn Fraker 101.02
(3) Tad Dennis 102.18 run 1
(4) Casey Eichfeld 104.08 run 2
(5) Zach Lokken 106.09 run 1
(6) Tyler Hinton 107.88
(7) Zach Lokken 115.17 run 2
(8) Tad Dennis 118.48 run 2
(9) Jordan Poffenberger 134.15 run 2
(10) Jordan Poffenberger 145.92 run 1
Top Men's C2 Runs of the Day
(1) Scott McCleskey/Dave Hepp 110.74 run 2
(2) Eric Hurd/Jeff Larimer 111.35 run 1
(3) Devin McEwan/Casey Eichfeld 112.17 run 1
(4) McCleskey/Hepp 113.93 run 1
(5) Hurd/Larimer 115.02 run 2
(6) McEwan/Eichfeld 159.58 run 2
Top Women's C1 Runs of the Day
(1) Micki Reeves 174.38 run 2
(2) Colleen Hickey 175.09
(3) Hailey Thompson 193.42
(4) Micki Reeves 213.48 run 1
(5) Catie Vuksich 270.35
Day 1 Update:
The same four boats that qualified the Olympic start positions for Team USA turned in the top time in each event on Day 1 of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, April 12.
The final day of Trials - Saturday - will be streamed live at UniversalSports.com. Commenting on the action will be USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi and USNWC course designer Scott Shipley.
Two runs for each event will take place each day from 3 - 7 p.m. Eastern. Out of a possible six runs, an athlete's best four runs are used for ranking purposes.
Beijing Olympian Benn Fraker (Peachtree City, Ga.) came out on fire to record the fastest two runs in Men's C1, including a first run time of 105.91. Eric Hurd (Woodstock, Ga.) and Jeff Larimer (Marietta, Ga.)followed up on a great Pan American Championship performance by turning in the top two times in Men's C2, including a second run time of 116.13.
Caroline Queen (Darnestown, Md.) continues her airtight competition with Ashley Nee (Darnestown, Md.). Queen finished with the top overall time in Women's K1 - a second run time of 124.28, 1.20 seconds faster than Nee's top time.
Two-time Olympian Scott Parsons (Bethesda, Md.) currently leads the pack in the ultra competitive Men's K1 class after turning in a second run time of 100.24. Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.), 2004 Olympian Brett Heyl (Norwich, Vt.), and James Wade (Boise, Idaho) each turned in times within 2.5 seconds of Parson's pace-setting run.
Micki Reeves (Grand Junction, Colo.) finished Day 1 with the top time in the non-Olympic Women's C1 class, crossing the line in 153.63.
Caroline Queen, Women's Kayak: "My first run wasn't my best but I was happy to finish off the day with a run I could be proud of. Looking forward to tomorrow!"
William Irving, USA Canoe/Kayak National Teams Director: "Benn [Fraker] continues to show that he's still the top C1 male, but Casey [Eichfeld] definitely has the potential for a better run and the course tomorrow will be able to show his abilities even more."
Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO: "The first day of Olympic Trials exceeded our expectations. We saw outstanding racing, spectator turnout, and media coverage. We look forward to bigger things to come over the next two days."
Top Men's K1 Runs
(1) Scott Parsons 100.24 run 2
(2) Michal Smolen 101.28
(3) Scott Parsons 101.98 run 1
(4) Brett Heyl 102.04
(5) James Wade 102.41
(6) Scott Mann 104.65 run 2
(7) Richard Powell 104.74
(8) Aaron Mann 104.99 run 2
(9) Scott Mann 105.65 run 1
(10) Aaron Mann 106.63 run 1
Top Women's K1 Runs
(1) Caroline Queen 124.28 run 2
(2) Ashley Nee 125.48 run 1
(3) Ashley Nee 125.82 run 2
(4) Michelle Clements-Kvanli 136.91 run 1
(5) Caroline Queen 138.05 run 1
(6) Michelle Clements-Kvanli 142.66 run 2
(7) Emily Jackson 146.57
(8) Brynn Benson 162.71 run 2
(9) Brynn Benson 168.35 run 1
(10) Aleta McCleskey 172.18
Top Men's C1 Runs
(1) Benn Fraker 105.91 run 1
(2) Benn Fraker 106.19 run 2
(3) Casey Eichfeld 109.32 run 1
(4) Casey Eichfeld 112.93 run 2
(5) Tad Dennis 113.21 run 2
(6) Tyler Hinton 113.86 run 2
(7) Zach Lokken 113.99 run 2
(8) Tad Dennis 118.00 run 1
(9) Tyler Hinton 121.93 run 1
(10) Zach Lokken 124.34 run 1
Top Men's C2 Runs
(1) Eric Hurd/Jeff Larimer 116.13 run 2
(2) Hurd/Larimer 117.60 run 1
(3) Scott McCleskey/Dave Hepp 119.22
(4) Devin McEwan/Casey Eichfeld 119.54 run 1
(5) McEwan/Eichfeld 120.12
Top Women's C1 Runs
(1) Micki Reeves 153.63 run 2
(2) Colleen Hickey 165.13 run 1
(3) Colleen Hickey 184.96 run 2
(4) Micki Reeves 189.82 run 1
(5) Lisa Adams 198.74 run 1
David Sternberg, CEO of Universal Sports: "We are delighted to expand our partnership with USA Canoe/Kayak to be the exclusive online streaming partner for the 2012 Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom. Adding this high-profile event to our robust lineup of Olympic, endurance and adventure sports programming further demonstrates the value of Universal Sports to our viewers and business partners."
What: 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom
When: Thursday-Saturday, April 12-14, 3-7 p.m. Eastern each day
Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) in Charlotte, N.C.
Who: U.S. Slalom Athletes, London 2012 Hopefuls
The U.S. canoe athletes earned their slots by placing first at the 2012 . in March in Brazil, which was the last chance to earn Olympic slotsBenn Fraker (Peachtree City, Ga.) earned the men's C-1 slot, while Eric Hurd (Woodstock, Ga.) and Jeff Larimer (Marietta, Ga.) earned the C-2 slot.
The above-mentioned athletes have the early advantage in the team selection points system. The Team Trials take on added significance should the U.S. fail to place in the Top 20 in a given event at World Cup No. 1.
Scott Parsons, Men's Kayak: "I am very excited about the upcoming Olympic trials in Charlotte. I have prepared well and am hoping for a strong performance that allows me to move on to the next round in Cardiff. The men's kayak class is very strong so I am expecting some very close racing. It should be a lot of fun."
Caroline Queen, Women's Kayak: "The months between the 2011 Worlds and now have flown by. It's unbelievable to me that I've been in Charlotte for about a month now, preparing for the Olympic Trials on the challenging USNWC competition channel. I'm working hard and taking each workout at a time, making sure to enjoy this experience and do my best as a more mature athlete than the last time around."
Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.), Men's Canoe: "Olympic Trials are closing in, and you can see that when you look at the course full of athletes that aren't here often. It feels like 2008 wasn't that long ago, but here we are, getting ready to race it out again. We all have that dream of going to the Olympics, being a part of such a prestigious sporting event, and you will see everyone racing with that goal in the front of their minds."
Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO: "This is a very deep and talented field contending to the Olympic Team. Our program's success in London is supported by an intensely competitive selection process that we can count on to deliver an outstanding Olympic Team."
William Irving, USA Canoe/Kayak National Teams Director: "With all boats qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games, the athletes will have three hard fought days to show how hard they have been working this offseason to prepare themselves to be a top 3 U.S. boat. It's going to be a high-energy atmosphere at USNWC and we are expecting some great support by our home fans in Charlotte who will be cheering on our future Olympians."
Jeff Wise, USNWC Executive Director: "Having the U.S. Olympic Trials return to our facility is exciting because it continues to build the Olympic spirit and movement in the Charlotte region. Over the weekend, we'll play host to the many elite athletes from both the United States and Canada. Alongside those athletes, you'll see friends and families playing outside and enjoying a great event."
Is Third Time the Charm? Two-time Olympian Scott Parsons (Bethesda, Md.) qualified the Olympic slot for Team USA in men's slalom K-1 with a 15th place finish at the 2011 Slalom World Championships. A potential third Olympics offer a chance to finally achieve his dream of winning an Olympic medal. He placed 6th at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Parsons will face tough competition from his teammates for the one men's slalom K-1 slot. He finished as high as 8th place on the 2011 Slalom World Cup circuit. He must beat out 2004 Olympian Brett Heyl (Norwich, Vt.) and Scott Mann (Bethesda, Md.).
A True Student-Athlete: Caroline Queen (Darnestown, Md.) is a sophomore at Davidson College in North Carolina, a short drive from the U.S. National Whitewater Center and site of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Slalom Team Trials. The 20-year-old is taking the spring 2012 semester off from school to focus on training for the Trials and, hopefully, her first Olympic Games. She plans to enroll in medical school after completing her undergraduate studies. She cross-trains as a member of the Davidson club field hockey team. Queen qualified the Olympic slot for Team USA in women's slalom K-1 with 37th place finish at 2011 Slalom World Championships. The 2011 U.S. National Champion faces stiff competition from Ashley Nee (Darnestown, Md.).
Four Years Wiser: Benn Fraker (Peachtree City, Ga.) was a carefree 19-year-old slalom canoe athlete at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. "I was a boy then, and I aim to return in London a man," Fraker said. His paddling as matured. He takes fewer risks and trusts his ability more. Fraker qualified the Olympic slot for Team USA in men's slalom C-1 with a Gold medal at the 2012 Slalom Pan American Championships. The 2011 U.S. National Champion has been pushed by the emergence of teammate Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.), who finished second to Fraker at the Pan American Championships.
Like Fathers, Like Sons: The men's Slalom C-2 tandem of Eric Hurd (Woodstock, Ga.) and Jeff Larimer (Marietta, Ga.) are both following in the wake of their paddling fathers, Mike Hurd and Mike Larimer. The elder Hurd and Larimer trained with each other on the Chattahoochee River just north of Atlanta. Mike Hurd was also a high school All-American basketball player. Mike Larimer narrowly missed out on competing at the 1992 Olympic Games, but he was able to coach Team USA at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. Surprisingly, their sons have only recently joined forces in doubles canoe. But the duo quickly established themselves as the best C-2 boat in North and South America with a Gold medal at the 2012 Pan American Championships.
About USA Canoe/Kayak
USA Canoe/Kayak is a non-profit membership organization based in Oklahoma City, OK, promoting canoe and kayak racing in the United States. A member of the United States Olympic Committee, USA Canoe/Kayak is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and the official U.S. federation of the International Canoe Federation. Other paddling sports sanctioned by USACanoe/Kayak include Marathon, Freestyle, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddleboard, Canoe Polo, Canoe Sailing, Outrigger, and Dragon Boat. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at www.usack.org, on Twitter at @usacanoekayakand Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/USACanoeKayak.
About the U.S. National Whitewater Center
The U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit outdoor recreation and adventure sports facility. Alongside mountain biking and running trails, a climbing center, zip-lines, flatwater kayaking, high ropes courses and a canopy tour, the facility's most unique feature is a multiple-channel, customized whitewater river for rafting and paddling enthusiasts of all abilities. The USNWC is just minutes away from Downtown Charlotte and is situated on over 400 acres of woodlands along the scenic Catawba River. The USNWC is proud to be a U.S. Olympic Training Site that provides outdoor recreation to families, outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, casual observers and Olympic-caliber athletes.