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Team Jackson Kayak swept the top spots in the kayak division at US Freestyle Kayak Team Trials concluded yesterday on the Ottawa River in Canada. Making the event a family affair, Eric “EJ” Jackson, 42, won the men’s division, his daughter, Emily, 16, won the junior women’s division and son Dane, 13 won the junior men’s division. Fellow Team Jackson Kayak paddler Devon Barker, 34, of McCall, ID won the women’s division.
National Team Trials determines which athletes will represent the US at World Championships this spring. According to rules of the US Freestyle Kayak Association, in the kayak division the top five men, top three women, top three junior men and top two junior women from Team Trials are named to the National Team. As defending World Champion, Eric Jackson is awarded an automatic bye to the 2007 World Championships and was not required to compete in National Team Trials, though he elected to do so.
The complete list of US National Freestyle Team members, in order of finish, is as follows (* indicates paddlers in Jackson Kayak boats):
Kayak Men: * Eric “EJ” Jackson, Rock Island, TN; Andrew Holcombe, Asheville, NC; Rush Sturges, Forks of Salmon, CA; Dustin Urban, Buena Vista, CO; Marlow Long, Highlands, NC; and *Jay Kincaid, Reno, NV.
Kayak Women: *Devon Barker, McCall, ID; Tanya Shuman, Fayetteville, WV; Hannah Farrar, Carbondale, CO.
Kayak Junior Men: *Dane Jackson, Rock Island, TN; Evan Garcia (hometown, not available), Alex Mohn, Henderson, KY.
Kayak Junior Women: *Emily Jackson, Rock Island, TN; *Brynne Weeks, St. Louis, MO.
C-1: Joe Stumpfel, Baltimore, MD; *Dan Burke, Portland, OR; Seth Chappelle, Sharpsburg, MD
OC-1: Jeremy Lauks, York, PA; a second team member will be selected at a future trials designated event.
The competition was hosted by Wilderness Tours on the Garberator wave on the Ottawa River. According to Eric Jackson, the water level created a big green wave however the lack of a foam pile to back it up demanded precision in the landing zone. Judges for the competition were Jimi Blakeney, Nick Troutman and Shane Benedict.