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USA Makes a Mark at Junior World Championships

Juniors vie for high positions at the "Thrilla at the Zilla"

by Tyler Dyer
USAWildwater Junior K-1

July 11, 2003 -- Mayrhofen, AUT

Once again the US Junior Wildwater Team made their way to Europe to compete against the top junior athletes of the world. This year the eight-person team found themselves on the cold Ziller River in Mayrhofen tucked away in the heart of the beautiful snowcapped Zillertal Valley in Austria. The Ziller River offered the team with 4.5 kilometers of continuous class II-III whitewater consisting of mainly three- to four-foot waves./p>

Under the direction of Coach Chris Wiegand, the US Junior Team trained for a full week and a half and took a small side trip to Venice, Italy. Beating the lows of celebrating Independence Day in Austria the team still managed to race well on July 5th and 6th.

In the classic race, C-1 Tom Gray took 14th place only 27.22 seconds behind winner Norman Weber of Germany (12:11.24)

In the K-1 Women's category, Lisa Adams, Erin Wilder, and Perrin Pring took 26th, 27th and 28th place respectively. Petra Slovakova won in the women's category with a time of 11:51.08.

By far the most competitive class for the US in the classic race was the K-1 Men. Athletes Geoff Calhoun, Clay Wilder, Tyler Dyer, and Nic Borst were within a 3.31 second margin taking 40th, 41st, 42nd, and 43rd, respectively, with Geoff's time of 12:13.19 and only 0.12 of a second between Clay Wilder and Tyler Dyer.

2002 Junior World Champion Johnny Scholfield of Great Britain placed 3rd this year 5.19 seconds behind this year's winner Adam Fuchsik of the Czech Republic with Adam's time being at 11:06.38.

The sprint race was .2 of a mile on a continuous class III rapid at the very top of the classic course. The continuous rapid made it difficult to pick up speed and make up for lost time from the first run. Tom Gray in C-1 placed 10th beating the classic race Bronze Medallist Benedikt Hammelrath of Germany, proving that Americans can beat some of the best.

In the women's class Erin Wilder pulled out in front Lisa Adams placing 25th and 26th. After the sprint race, Lisa Adams proved to the world and the ICF that women can paddle Wildwater C-1.

In the men's class Tyler Dyer surprisingly pulled out of the bottom ranks and placed 37th, and Geoff Calhoun and Clay Wilder not far behind in 40th and 41st place.

The US Junior Wildwater Team now awaits for next years Pre-Worlds race in Vipiteno, Italy. All but one (Tyler Dyer) has the opportunity to make the Wildwater Junior Team next year, and the team this year shows proud hopes for the next International Race.

Tyler Dyer is a U.S. Junior Team Member training in Alabama. Reach him at