2013 Year in Review: Paddlesports
(Giselle Nguyen of the U.S. Women’s Kayak Polo Team at the 2013 World Games)
Last year marked the first of three straight years in which the U.S. hosts World Championship events in various canoe/kayak disciplines. In 2013, the worlds best freestyle paddlers descended upon the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) in Western North Carolina for the Freestyle World Championships. In 2014, Oklahoma City and Western Maryland will host the Marathon and Slalom World Championships, respectively. In 2015, the Junior Wildwater World Championships will be held at NOC.
At the 2013 ICF Freestyle World Championships in Bryson City, N.C., Sept. 2-8, Team USA won 12 medals, including four by Dane Jackson (Rock Island, Tenn.). Jackson won Gold in men’s kayak, a pair of Silver medals in OC-1 and Squirt, and a Bronze in canoe.
Jordan Poffenberger (Fairfax, Va.) won Gold medals in both men’s canoe and OC-1. Clay Wright claimed Gold in men’s squirt and Tad Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.) earned Silver in men’s canoe. Women’s kayakers Adriene Levknecht and Rowan Stuart won Bronze in senior K-1 and Gold in junior K-1, respectively. Men’s kayakers Hunter Katich and Alex Voorhees finished first and third in junior K-1.
Dane Jackson won a pair of National Championship titles in men’s kayak and OC-1 at the 2013 Nationals in August in Hartford, Tenn. Dane’s sister, Emily Jackson (Rock Island, Tenn.) finished first in women’s kayak, just one month after giving birth. Two years after injuring his spine on a shallow waterfall, Jason Craig placed second to Dane in men’s kayak.
At the 2013 Marathon World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sept. 12-22, Maggie Hogan (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Kaitlyn McElroy (Oklahoma City, Okla.) combined to place 12th in women’s kayak doubles. Ian Ross (Washington, D.C.) finished 13th in men’s Under-23 C-1, and 12th in Senior C-2 with Amniel “Pepe” Naranjo (South Florida Canoe Kayak Club).
Naranjo placed 12th in Senior C-1, while Borys Markin (Rockaway Olympic) placed 27th in men’s kayak. Alexandra McLain (Lanier Canoe Kayak Club) finished 23rd in women’s kayak, while Jesse Lishchuk (Philadelphia, Pa.) finished 36th in men’s junior kayak.
Next year, the Oklahoma City Boathouse District will host the 2014 ICF Marathon World Championships on Sept. 26-28. At the official test event on Oct. 2, Maggie Hogan won the Silver medal in women’s kayak.
At the Team Trials on May 18 in Sugar Land, Texas, Borys Markin, Logan Mynar (Texas Canoe & Kayak Racing Association), and Jessie Lishchuk won the Senior, Under-23 and Junior men’s kayak events, respectively.
Nantahala Outdoor Center will be able to claim two World Championship event in three years in 2015 when it hosts the 2015 ICF Wildwater Junior World Championships. To prepare, the U.S. sent a large contingent to the 2013 Junior World Championships in Austria in July.
Cully Brown led the way for Team USA, finishing 31st and 33rd in men’s K-1 Sprint and Classic events, respectively. Canoeist Will Coggan placed 17th in both C-1 Sprint and Classic events before teaming up with Brown to finish 12th in men’s C-2 Sprint. Selena Popp and Brooke Terkovich placed 8th and 24th in women’s C-1 and K-1 Sprints, respectively.
At the 2013 Senior World Championships in Slovenia in June, Marin Millar and Emmanual Beauchard finished 29th and 30th in women’s and men’s K-1 heats, respectively.
At the 2013 National Championships, Beauchard and Millar won their respective events while John Pinyerd finished first in men’s C-1.
The U.S. Women’s Polo Team qualified for the 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia, by finishing tops among teams in the Americas at the 2012 World Championships. In Coloumbia, they finished 0-6 against the best teams in the world. Giselle Nguyen, Katherine Homann and Molly Cummings tied for first in scoring for Team USA with one goal apiece.
Team member Kimberly Parker: "The World Games in Cali was one of the biggest challenges that I have faced in the years I have been a member of the US Women’s National Kayak Polo Team, but it also served as one of the biggest growth opportunities as well. The team was faced with a chance to play the top five women’s kayak polo teams in the world all within a short, two-day period. This competition helped to build the team’s resolve and showed the world how far our small discipline has come in the United States. The entire experience was once in a lifetime and the opportunity I had to represent my country in this event is an honor I will never forget."
Team member Marijo Bosiljevac: "The experience of the World Games was truly amazing. Losing is never fun, but I have great pride that we earned the right to compete by our play at the 2012 World Championships and that I was able to represent the USA at such a unique event. The team showed great effort in the face of adversity and I'm pleased we gained the respect of several European teams who extended offers to arrange training for us leading into the 2014 Championships. Overall, the experience is one I won't forget."
The U.S. Men’s Polo Team secured the Bronze medal at the 2013 Pan American Championships in Londrina, Brazil.
U.S. Women’s Polo Team member April Romeo was elected to a four-year term as World Sport Director on the USA Canoe/Kayak board of directors. Romeo, also a lawyer, captained the 2012 U.S. National Team that qualified for the 2013 World Games.
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.