RECAP: 2013 Slalom U23/Junior World Championships

July 16, 2013, 7:43 p.m. (ET)

lokken

(Lokken at a 2012 World Cup in Cardiff, UK)

Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.) placed 9th in the Under-23 men’s canoe final on Sunday, as the Junior Slalom World Championships came to a close. The 19-year-old finished with a time of 116.84, including 3 gate touch penalties. His time was +11.47 seconds behind the first place finisher – Patrik Gajarsky of host country Slovakia.

 

WHAT: 2013 ICF Under-23/Junior Slalom World Championships

WHERE: Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia

WHEN: July 17-21

WHO: the best young paddlers from across the globe

Click HERE for complete results and live streaming video of Lokken’s final run at 3:30am Eastern.

 

Lokken then teamed up with Tyler Hinton (Denver, Colo.) and Charlie Kieft (Lafayette, Colo.) to place 10th of 14 in the U-23 men’s canoe team event. They finished in 148.94, including 12 seconds of penalty time. Their time was +24.23 seconds behind the first place finishing team from Slovenia.

In the Junior men’s canoe team event, the trio of Elliot Bertrand (New York, NY), Gabe Machado (Louisville, Colo.) and Bryant Lord (Longmont, Colo.) placed 17th with a time of 412.50, including four missed gates.

 

DAY 4:

Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.), Ethan Van Horn (Bellefonte, Pa.) and Casey Beall (Laytonsville, Md.) joined forces to place 13th in the Under-23 men’s kayak team event on Saturday. Together, they finished in 171.05, including 22 seconds of penalty time. Their time was +56.11 seconds behind the first place finishing team from Germany.

In the Junior men’s kayak team event, Cole Moore (Cabin John, Md.), Michael Rudnitski (Herndon, Va.) and Spencer Huff (Lyons, Colo.) combined to finish 15th with a time of 153.52, including 24 seconds of penalty time. Their time was +37.28 seconds behind the first place finishing team from France. 

Tomorrow’s action includes the U-23 men’s canoe final featuring Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.). Lokken will then team up with Tyler Hinton (Denver, Colo.) and Charlie Kieft (Lafayette, Colo.) for the U-23 men’s canoe team event. The U.S. junior C-1 paddlers will also compete in the team event for that class.

 

DAY 3:

Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.) lives to paddle another day, finishing 7th in the Under-23 men’s canoe semifinal to advance to Sunday’s final. The 19-year-old turned in a penalty-free semifinal time of 109.26, which was +1.69 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher – Luka Bozic of Slovenia. The U.S. Senior Team member entered the semifinal ranked 18th after heats. 

“It was clear when I saw Zach at Trials this past May that he had made a big step forward in his paddling,” said USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi. “Making the Final at U-23 Worlds in his first year competing in this category is another positive step. I know Zach is looking forward to Sunday’s Final.” 

Lokken is the lone U.S. paddler to reach a Final. Team events begin Saturday with the U.S. participating in the U-23 and Junior men’s kayak races. 

In U-23 men’s kayak, Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) placed 18th in the semifinal with a time of 104.13, including 2 seconds of penalty time. The 19-year-old finished +6.16 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher, and +2.42 seconds outside of the Top 10 and a berth in the final. The U.S. Senior Team member entered the semifinal ranked 1st after heats. He finished 5th in U-23 men’s kayak at last years World Championships in Wausau, Wis.

Cole Moore (Cabin John, Md.) finished 20th in the Jr. men’s kayak semifinal with a time of 112.11, including one gate touch penalty. His time was +12.39 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher. 

The Junior men’s double canoe duo of Will Coggan (Boulder, Colo.) and Gabe Machado (Louisville, Colo.) placed 14th in the semifinal with a time of 163.54, including 14 seconds of penalty time. Click HERE to see a Sportscene.tv interview with Coggan and Machado in Slovakia.

 

DAY 2:

Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.) led the way for Team USA on Thursday with a rank of 18th after heats for Under-23 men’s canoe. The 19-year-old advanced to Friday’s semifinal with a 2nd run time of 109.09, which was +5.27 seconds behind the first place finisher through heats. 

One 2-second gate touch penalty was enough to keep Tyler Hinton (Denver, Colo.) from reaching the semifinal. Hinton finished 31st with a 1st run time of 114.48, which was +0.49 seconds behind the 30th place finisher - the last spot to advance. Charlie Kieft (Lafayette, Colo.) finished 44th with a penalty-free 2nd run time of 120.01.

Anna Ifarraguerri (McLean, Va.) and Samantha Cole-Johnson (Boulder, Colo.) finished 40th and 50th, respectively, in U-23 women’s kayak after heats.

Evelyn Van Horn (Bellefonte, Pa.) narrowly missed out on qualification for the Junior women’s kayak semifinal. The 16-year-old finished 31st after heats, +1.34 seconds outside of the Top 30 and a spot in the semis. Her 1st run time of 131.77 included 4 penalty seconds. Teagan Johnson missed a gate en route to a 61st place finish.

In Junior men’s canoe, 2 gate touch penalties were too much for Elliot Bertrand (New York, NY) to overcome. He finished 35th with a 2nd run time of 121.18, which was +2.42 seconds outside of the Top 30 and a spot in the semifinal. Gabe Machado (Louisville, Colo.) and Bryant Lord (Longmont, Colo.) placed 39th and 59th, respectively.

Joining Lokken in Friday’s semifinals will be U-23 men’s kayaker Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.), Junior men’s kayak Cole Moore (Cabin John, Md.), and the Junior C-2 duo of Machado and Will Coggan (Boulder, Colo.) – who all advanced with their performances in Wednesday’s heats.

 

DAY 1:

The 19-year-old Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) is a youngster in the Under-23 men’s kayak class, but he’s getting wiser by the year. At last year’s U-23 World Championships in Wausau, Wis., he finished 5th as one of the younger paddlers in the age group. This year, he ranks 1st after Wednesday’s heats and advances to Friday’s semifinal with a medal in mind.

Smolen’s penalty-free 1st run time of 98.10 was 0.22 seconds behind the second place finisher through heats – Giovanni De Gennaro of Italy, a 2011 World Championship bronze medalist in the kayak team event. Americans Ethan Van Horn and Casey Beall placed 65th and 68th, respectively.

In Junior men’s kayak, Cole Moore advanced to Friday’s semifinal with a 35th ranking thanks to his penalty-free 1st run time of 110.27, which was +11.53 seconds behind the first place finisher through heats. Michael Rudnitski and Spencer Huff finished 42nd and 58th, respectively.

Rudnitski’s 2nd run time of 111.27 was 0.20 seconds away from a Top 40 finish and a spot in the semifinal. Rudnitsky and also missed the Junior men’s double canoe semifinal, along with partner Elliot Bertrand, by +3.90 seconds – a gap that could have been overcome were it not for two gate touch penalties.

The Junior C-2 pairing of Will Coggan and Gabe Machado did advance to Friday’s semifinal with a 12th place ranking after heats. Their penalty-free 1st run time of 128.87 was +17.88 seconds behind the first place finisher through heats.

Thursday’s action includes heats for the following classes and U.S. paddlers:

U-23 Women’s Kayak: Anna Ifarraguerri, Samantha Cole-Johnson

U-23 Men’s Single Canoe (C1): Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.), Tyler Hinton (Denver, Colo.), Charlie Kieft

Jr. Women’s Kayak: Evelyn Van Horn (Bellefonte, Pa.), Teagan Johnson

Jr. Men’s Single Canoe (C-1): Elliot Bertrand, Gabe Machado, Bryant Lord

Evelyn Van Horn, Junior Women’s Kayak: “I'm really excited to be competing in my second Junior Worlds. I'm just ready to get on the water and race my best out there. There's more competition this year, but I'm hoping to improve on last year's finish and use this as another experience in my career. It's my first time overseas so it's an incredible thrill to just be here.”

 

PREVIEW:

Team USA will look to improve upon last year’s performance at the 2012 U23/Junior World Championships, where it collected one medal and three more Top 10 finishes.

Beijing Olympian Rick Powell, Micki Reeves and 2012 Olympian Caroline Queen move on after placing 3rd, 6th and 9th, respectively at the 2012 U-23 Championships in Wausau, Wis. Headlining the U.S. paddlers returning is 19-year-old Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.), who finished 5th among U-23 men’s kayaks at last year’s event.

The following athletes qualified for the 2013 U.S. Under-23 Team based on their performances at the 2013 U.S. National Team Trials in McHenry, Md., May 17-19:

Men’s Single Canoe (C1):  Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.), Tyler Hinton (Denver, Colo.), *Charlie Kieft

Men’s Kayak: Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.), *Casey Beall, *Ethan Van Horn

Women’s Kayak: Anna Ifarraguerri, Samantha Cole-Johnson

*Did not meet performance standard to make U.S. team, but will be able to race at the U-23 World Championships.

Both Smolen and Lokken recorded Top 20 finishes at the senior-level at 2013 World Cup No. 1. Ifarraguerri and Hinton placed 4th and 5th among all ages in their respective classes at the 2013 Team Trials.

Michal Smolen, U23 Men’s Kayak: "I've spent the last two weeks training for the Junior/U-23 World Championships in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia. Now that I've had enough time to learn the course and figure out what my race plan will be, I feel ready to go. Last year at the Junior/U-23 World Championships in Wausau, USA, I ended up in 5th place, so I'm hoping to improve on that result. Improvement, however, is not my ultimate goal in this competition. Once the race starts, I will be focusing on performing my very best in each and every run. I'm trying not to foresee the end result or even win the race. Instead, I want to figure out how to perform my best during such a big competition. Hopefully, this new approach will prove to be the most beneficial."

The following athletes qualified for the 2013 U.S. Junior Team based on their performances at the 2013 U.S. Junior Team Trials in Dickerson, Md., June 1-2:

Men’s Kayak: Michael Rudnitsky, Cole Moore, Spencer Huff
 
Men’s Single Canoe (C-1): Elliot Bertrand, Gabe Machado, Bryant Lord
 
Women’s Kayak: Evelyn Van Horn (Bellefonte, Pa.), Teagan Johnson
 
Men’s Double Canoe (C-2): Michael Rudnitsky/Elliot Bertrand, Will Coggan/Gabe Machado

Michael Rudnitsky and Cole Moore battled for the top spot among men’s kayaks with Rudnitsky finishing first – this after his competitive performance at the Senior/U23 Team Trials. Elliot Bertrand led the way in men’s single canoe and then teamed up with Rudnitsky to finish 1st in doubles canoe.

In women’s kayak, Evelyn Van Horn finished 2nd at Junior Team Trials behind Eliza Malakoff but 3rd overall weekend at the Senior/U23 Team Trials in May.

Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO: "It's great to see the big turnout for the Junior/U-23 World Championships from the ICF member nations. Having U-23 category competing alongside the Juniors is an exciting opportunity for the athletes and the sport. Coming off of the inaugural Junior/U-23 World Championships in Wausau, Wisconsin last summer, we are honored to take part again in year two."

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, USA Canoe/Kayak is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation. It governs the Olympic disciplines of Flatwater Sprint, Whitewater Slalom, the Paralympic discipline of Paracanoe and sanctions Freestyle, Marathon, Outrigger, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddle Board, Kayak Polo, Dragon Boat and Canoe Sailing in the United States. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at www.usack.org, on Twitter at @usacanoekayak and Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/USACanoeKayak.

 

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