CHARLOTTE, NC — The road to the 2016 Rio Olympics is officially underway. Last weekend the US National Whitewater Center (USNWC) in Charlotte hosted the 2015 US Slalom Team Trails where athletes competed for their spot on Team USA. Top finishers are eligible to compete at the 2015 Pan American Olympic Qualification race and World Championships. Scott McCleskey, 2014 Team USA member in C2, was at the race course to interview some of the country’s top athletes and catch the highlights. Here’s what he found:

Sage Donnelly, fourteen-year-old paddling phenom and C&K’s 2014 Female Paddler of the Year, cemented her place as one of paddling’s most impressive rising stars.

The men’s K-1 race was dominated by American transplants Michal Smolen and Fabien Lefevre. This video follows them throughout the weekend.


K1 Men’s
1. Michal Smolen
2. Fabien Lefevre
3. Richard Powell
4. Aaron Mann

C1 Men’s
1. Casey Eichfeld
2. Fabien Lefevre
3. Zach “Bug” Lokken
4. Tyler Hinton

K1 Women’s
1. Ashley Nee
2. Anna Ifarraguerri
3. Sage Donnelly

C1 Women’s
1. Colleen Hickey
2. Sage Donnelly
3. Tracy Hines

C2 Men’s
1. Casey Eichfeld and Devin McEwan
2. Tad Dennis and Tyler Smith
3. Michal Smolen and Zach Lokken

Visit for the full results.

More from C&K

The New Americans: Michal Smolen and Fabien Lefevre

Photos from the 2014 Slalom Worlds