US Freestyle Team Named at NOC; EJ Earns 25th Straight U.S. Team Spot, Dane Qualifies in 4 Events

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Don’t let the scores in the finals of the U.S. Freestyle Team Trials sway your thoughts as to the caliber of today’s top freestyle kayakers. With two inches of rain falling in three hours, on top of a scheduled water release and another surprise Cascade release, the hole was a little flushy by day’s end.

Still, the rain and extra releases didn’t dampen in the least the spirit of competition or paddling prowess of the nation’s top freestyle kayakers as they descended upon the Nantahala Outdoor Center’s newly built feature on the Nantahala River for the U.S. Freestyle Team Trials, held April 26-28 outside Bryson City, N.C., during the NOC’s annual Freestyle Shootout.

In the end, for the men’s kayak, Dane Jackson edged out pop EJ for top podium spot with a score of 453 to EJ’s 403, followed by Bruan Kirk in third with 375 points and Jason Craig in fourth at 323. For the women, Haley Mills took the top spot with 140 points, followed by Adriene Levknecht with 120 and Elaine Campbell with a score of 110.

With conditions wet and watery, the event named 22 paddlers to the 2013 USA Canoe/Kayak Freestyle Team, each receiving a Kokatat GORE-TEX® full-zip jacket and paddling trunks as well as the honor of vying for top honors when the World Championships come to NOC this fall.

Among the event’s highlights were honors once again to the Jackson clan. Eric Jackson’s qualification marks the 25th consecutive national team that EJ has been named to, including both U.S. slalom and freestyle teams dating back to 1988. Son Dane was perhaps even more impressive, qualifying for the team in a whopping four different categories, including winning the Men’s K-1 division ahead of pop EJ, while also qualifying in C-1, Squirt Men, and OC-1.

“With the high flows we had, the hole definitely separated the men from the boys,” says Risa Shimoda, chair of USA Freestyle Kayaking, who also qualified for the team for the eighth time. “The final scores were lower than the earlier scores because the water kept rising. It was hard to stay in, and hard to regain once you got washed out. But it was still a great a event, and we have a very strong team lined up to compete at the Worlds.”

Following the trials, team members will compete in various competitions around the country and world before returning to Bryson City and the Nantahala Outdoor Center in September for the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) Canoe Freestyle World Championships.

For more information on the US Freestyle Canoe/Kayak team visit www.usafreestylekayak.com .

Full Results Here

USA Freestyle Kayak 2013 Team
Class First Last

K1Men Jason Craig
Brian Kirk
Eric Jackson
Clay Wright
Mike Patterson
Bye Dane Jackson

K1 W Haley Mills
Adriane Levknecht
Elaine Campbell

K1 Jr Bennett Smith
Hunter Katich
Alec Vorhees

K1W Jr Rowan Stuart
Kadie Kellogg
Bye Lauren Ryan

C1 Seth Chappelle
Jordan Poffenberger
Tad Dennis
Bye Dane Jackson

OC1 Jordan Poffenberger
Dane Jackson

Squirt M
Clay Wright
Jeremy Laucks
Chris Singletary
Bye Dane Jackson

Squirt W
Risa Shimoda
Tracy Hines
Elaine Campbell

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