Benn Fraker wins Junior Pre-World C-1 Championship
By Luke Dieker, USA Canoe/Kayak
Compiled from the reports of coach Davey Hearn
July 11, 2005 Solkan, Slovenia
Benn Fraker (Peachtree City, Ga.) won the C-1 (single canoe) event with a pair of fast runs. He shrugged off a phantom gate penalty on the first run Sunday while reveling in producing the fastest raw time of the round. In the final, Czech Jiri Vanek put up a 194.64 to take the lead. A strong challenge came from Spaniard Ander Elosegui, who laid down a total score of 194.57 after trailing Fraker by 4.93 seconds in the opening round. Fraker responded with a flawless run to mid-course, where he brushed gates 9 and 10 in the tight offset combination. He then blazed to the finish without error, posting a 192.19 total while the announcer declared him the winner.
John Gerstenberger (Durango, Colo.) paddled two strong runs to finish fourth in the K-1 (single kayak) class.
Nick Lomas (Alpharetta, Ga.) also finished 13th in the C-1 class.
In the women’s kayaks, Paris Robinson (Atlanta, Ga.) was 15th, Ashley Nee (Darnestown, Md.) was 37th, and Molly Stock (Potomac, Md.) was 41st.
In the men’s kayaks, Rick Powell (Parkesburg, Pa.) was 25th, Jure Poberaj (Cabin John, Md.) was 28th, and Garen Stephens (Waldorf, Md.) was 38th.
Penalties caused the lower rankings although the skills of all of our team members were commensurate with top 15 results at least. The racing conditions were difficult with higher water than expected. All athletes of all countries tended to take some penalties on the tight course. There were very few athletes with two clean runs Sunday.
Because Junior World Championships are only held every other year, the Junior Pre-World Championships is the biggest international event of 2005 for junior (18 years old or younger) athletes. The Pre-Worlds are held the year before the Junior World Championships on the same course as the World Championships. Benn Fraker looks forward to returning to Solkan, Slovenia in 2006 to defend this year’s title in next year’s Junior World Championships.
Check out the USA Canoe/Kayak website, www.usack.org, for full race results.