November 24, 2002 -- Seattle, WA
The results of 37 races have been compiled into this year's national
wildwater rankings. Participation was down from last year; a total
of 446 racers were ranked, 131 of them in wildwater boats. The
majority of racers were from the mid-Atlantic region, but a few
high finishers were from the Southeast, Northwest, and Colorado.
Partially, the low number of racers reflects difficulty obtaining
race results. Hopefully, we will be able to add more results for
the final rankings, but the current list is reasonably complete
and accurate, especially towards the top of each class.
Winner of the Men's K-1 class for the forth year running was Andrew
McEwan, beating out Chris Hipgrave by less than 2%.
Chris defeated Andrew at the sprint at Team Trials and won Nationals
with a strong classic race, but Andrew's win in the Team Trials
classic and strong Mid Atlantic Series results boosted him into
first. Simon Beardmore, third in Men's K-1, jumped from
a 10th place ranking last year after taking a semester off of
school to train. Despite Simon's great improvement, the most surprising
finisher was Dave Hammond, ranked 55th in 2001. Dave came
in 4th overall, with an impressive Mid Atlantic Series and strong
Team Trials finishes. Chris Norbury rounded out the top
5, with Middy Tilghman in a close 6th. Ted Newton
slipped to 10th this year, after only registering one race.
Lane Errickson won the Women's K-1 rankings by a narrow
margin over Jennie Goldberg with an overall win at the
NOC Glacier Breaker. Jennie raced more than any other woman, aided
by the growing Northwest Cup series, but her ranking was hurt
by poor sprint performances at Team Trials and Nationals. Other
racers of note were the four junior women, Candice Caldwell,
Beth Karp, Ahna Velez, and Lucy Logan, three
of whom ranked in the top 20 women overall. Candice was an impressive
4th, but any of these young women could improve greatly in the
next few years and make a good run for the top.
Last year's C-1 winner, Michael Beavers, showed his speed
at the NOC Glacier Breaker this spring, and trained hard through
Team Trials, only to suffer shoulder injuries days before Trials
and Nationals. While racing only once, Michael managed to finish
second behind Tom Wier. This was Tom's second year atop
the rankings, having finished first in 2000 but behind Michael
in 2001. In third was Bob Bofinger, National Champion for
2002. The top ranked OC-1, Steve Frazier, beat out Chris
Osment by less than three percent for forth overall. Chris,
in his last racing season, finished fifth with his consistent
paddling at Team Trials. Jim Smoot and Ed Gordon,
both in their first wildwater racing seasons, paddled well, Jim
finishing 14th and Ed finishing 26st.
Only two young C-1 paddlers raced this year: Tom Grey from
Colorado and Jeff Poe from the Southeast. Tom, as a Junior,
was 18th overall and Jeff, a cadet, was 24th.
Only two C-2 teams raced in wildwater boats during the year. Jim
Smoot and Michael Harris raced at Team Trials, while Chris
Wiegand (also 18th in C-1) and Ian Wolfe raced once,
late in the season, in Colorado. Wiegand and Wolfe finished first,
while Harris and Smoot were fairly far back. Hopefully C-2 participation
will increase next year as the World Cup comes to the US.
Wier is a C-1 racer and athlete representative for the USAWildwater
Subcommittee who trains and lives in Seattle, Washington. Reach
him at email@example.com.
This year's rankings were compiled and calculated by Tom and Middy
Tilghman, with many thanks from Michael Beavers, who would have
had to do so without their generous help!--Ed.