May 21, 2002 -- Glenwood Springs, CO
The final Wildwater race of the Colorado High School Whitewater Cup played host to the 2002 Western Junior Wildwater Team Trials
Friday, May 17 on the Cemetery Run of the Roaring Fork River. Thirty-one athletes competed in the largest junior Wildwater gathering
in U.S. Wildwater history.
Among the competitors were U.S. Junior Team veterans David oore, Carl Cloyed and Eleanor Perry who competed
at the 2000 Junior World Championships in Vipitino, Italy and Patrick Mason and Tyler Dyer who competed at the
2001 Junior Pre-World Championships in Bala, Wales.
Former U.S. Team member and Junior Team Leader for the 2000 World Championships, Scott Overdorf,helped organize the race
and former U.S. Team member Nelson Oldham set the standard for juniors by turning in a sizzling run as first boat off
the start. Though Colorado is in the midst of a severe drought and river levels
across the state are desperately low, the Roaring Fork proved to be a good testing ground for the determined juniors.
The junior men's kayak class was the largest class with fifteen competitors. Newcomer Nick Borst set a fast pace and
finished with a time of 12:43 that put him in first place temporarily, but U.S.
junior team veteran and Dawson School teammate, Pat Mason, was nine seconds faster. However, the last kayak to start was
U.S. junior team veteran Tyler Dyer from Huntsville, Alabama, and he raced down the course seven seconds faster than Mason,
winning the race with a time of 12:27.
There were eight athletes in the K1 junior woman's class with five of the
girls in contention for the three available U.S. junior team spots. After times were tallied, U.S. junior team veteran Eleanor
Perry won the race with a blistering time of 12:54, followed by Colorado Rocky Mountain School teammates Mia Gaw and
U.S. junior team veteran David Moore set the standard in C1 winning
with a time of 13:49, but is ineligible to compete in Bala because he will be turning 19 later this year. Dawson School teammate
Aaron McDonald finished second and will be heading to Bala, Wales to represent the U.S. in C1. Dawson school teammates Dan
Smith and Tom Gray turned in a solid performance in C2 with a time of 13:22 and are also on their way to Bala to compete
in the 2002 Junior Wildwater Championships.
The finish area was festive as Wildwater boats filled the park at the finish
area and a Nantahala Racing Club banner hung in the parking lot,brought to Colorado by Rhino member, Tyler Dyer. The athletes
were treated to a barbeque and as times were posted, they milled around telling stories of their races.
A special thanks goes to Peter Benedict and the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) for hosting the event and to both
Peter and Nate Lord (head coaches of CRMS and Dawson School Canoe
& Kayak Teams, respectively) for their dedicated support of Wildwater and development of junior paddling programs.
Scott Overdorf is a former USAWildwater Team Chairman living and organizing
races in Longmont, Colorado. Reach him at email@example.com.