The 2013 U.S. Slalom National Championships were held at the National Outdoor Center in Bryson City, North Carolina on September 28-29, 2013, where a friendly rivalry was rekindled when two-time Olympian Casey Eichfeld battled with 2008 Olympian Benn Fraker in both men’s C-1 and C-2. Eichfeld won the single canoe class while Fraker won the doubles canoe final with veteran paddler Scott McCleskey.
Eichfeld finished first in C-1 with a final run time of 98.72, which was +1.79 seconds ahead of Fraker. Fraker and McCleskey won the C-2 final with a time of 109.55, +17.26 seconds ahead of Eichfeld and Devin McEwan.
“I had a great time this weekend,” Eichfeld said via Facebook. “I came away as National Champion in C-1 and second in C-2 with Devin! It was exciting getting to paddle with some good and upcoming paddlers. Thank you to all of the volunteers and officials for all your hard work. Now on to training in Deep Creek for World’s next year.”
In Women’s K-1, Dana Mann, Ashley Nee, and Evelyn Van Horn finished 1st-2nd-3rd, respectively – mirroring the podium at the 2013 U.S. Slalom Team Trials that kicked off the season in May. Mann, who recently placed 5th at the 2013 World Championships, turned in a final run time in 106.17, which was +4.12 seconds ahead of Nee.
With Fabien Lefevre not competing, the men’s K-1 class turned into a battle between Rick Powell, and Michal Smolen with Powell claiming victory. Powell, a 2008 Olympian, turned in a penalty-free time of 92.55, which was +1.38 seconds ahead of Smolen.
Colleen Hickey, a 2013 U.S. National Team Member, won the women’s C-1 final handily. Her final run time of 127.12 was +35.82 seconds ahead of Chelsea Easley.
The event is the last major competition of the 2013 slalom season. The paddlers will now set their sights on the 2014 calendar, highlighted by the 2014 World Championships in Western Maryland.
The National Championships also served as a qualifier for the 2014 Under-23/Junior World Championships. The following athletes qualified:
U23 K1M – Michal Smolen, Simon Ranagan (Bethesda, Md.)
U23 C1M – Zach Lokken, Elliot Bertrand (New York, NY)
U23 C2M – Elliot Bertrand/Michael Rudnitski (Herndon, Va.)
U23 K1W – Anna Ifarraguerri (McLean, Va.), Samantha Cole-Johnson (Boulder, Colo.)
Jr K1M – Tyler Uthus, Tyler Smith
Jr C1M – Gabe Machado (Louisville, Colo.), Tyler Smith
Jr C2M – Gabe Machado/Will Coggan (Boulder, Colo.)
Jr K1W – Evelyn Van Horn, Chelsey Easley
Jr C1W – Chelsey Easley