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Western Kids Dominate at Eastern Junior Selections

Colorado faction proves it pays to travel

by Chris Hipgrave
USAWildwater K-1
Treasurer, US Wildwater Committee

April 23, 2003 -- Bryson City, NC

Initially the East Coast Wildwater Junior Team Trials looked like it would have to be cancelled. The power-generating facility located on the upper Nantahala was seriously broken and repair estimates did not sound promising. Thanks to some fast talking and even-headed negotiations between Duke Power and the Nantahala Racing Club's new Executive Director, Howard Chambers, an agreement was brokered that gave Junior Wildwater athletes a limited release of water down the spillway, thus bypassing the broken powerhouse. The race was back on all be it at a slightly reduced water level.

The Wildwater course was short and punchy in an attempt to closely resemble the Ziller course, raced on the previous year as part of the Senior World Cup circuit. The start was at Ferebee Park and finished about eleven minutes downstream below a rapid commonly known as the Ledges. The course included three of the larger rapids on the Nantahala known as Quarry Rapid, Root Canal and Whirlpool. Juniors would race the same course twice in one day and the race percentages would be added to calculate the winners and the first members of the 2003 USA Junior Wildwater Team.

After the finish of Race One it was clear that the Colorado crew led by coach Chris Weigand was here to dominate. A very fit group of athletes, the Colorado Juniors placed well in all categories and looked poised to take most the team spots. During Race Two, things definitely got tossed around. Perrin Pring (Jr-K1W) who had won her first race, blew her skirt close to the finish but still pushed a rapidly sinking boat to the finish in a great display of courage and determination. And in the junior men's, Geoff Calhoun traded places with Dawson School's Nic Borst in a very tight race.

Congratulations to the following members of the 2003 Junior Wildwater Team as well as race directors Michael Beavers and Chris Hipgrave and all the volunteers and spectators that came out to support the athletes.

Junior athletes that did not make the team now have the opportunity to travel to Kernville, California in June and try again at the West Coast Junior Team Trials.

2003 USA Junior Wildwater Team (East-Qualified)


Nic Borst
Geoff Calhoun
Erin Wilder
Perrin Pring
Tom Gray

Chris Hipgrave is Tresurer of the U.S. Wildwater Committee and a K-1 Wildwater racer living near Bryson City, NC. Reach him at