This year, the jr. olympics were scheduled to be in Golden, CO. but due to high water, it was moved to Lyons. CO. a few days before it was scheduled to start. Thanks Lyons, for taking us on at such short notice! The venue was awesome and the town was super supportive, we even had free camping along the river. The competitions started on a Thursday and went all the way through Tuesday with a different event featured every day.
This year, Canada had 3 teams, Australia had 1, Valley Mills from Maryland/D.C. Mach 1 from Pennsylvania, Red River Racing (TX), as well as several individuals from California, Colorado and New Zealand were in attendance.
The first event was sprint slalom which is a slalom race with 10 gates and I did K1, C1, C2 Women with Chelsea Easley , and C2 mixed with Andre Sanborn, both from Texas. It was the first time I had ever been in a C1 and I had a ball. Thanks Team Canada for letting me use your C1 and C2! There was tons of kids competing and they all did great:)
Freestyle was lots of fun. I did C1 and K1 and I was able to get the ride I had planned. There was lots of kids trying it for thier first time and they looked great! Several kids were able to Loop and Spacegodzilla so the competition was stiff! It was my first time in a C1 play boat and I managed a shuvit, and almost a spin but I flipped and combat rolled in practice!
Next up was the down river race. There was a variety of boats, from down river race boats to plastic play boats, and they were all separated into different classes. We put in at Apple Hill Road and took out at Blackbear Hole where freestyle had been held the day before. The race course was class 2 and ran through Meadow park where the Lyons Outdoor Games are held, and is very beautiful and green. I competed in my k1 slalom boat and had a great time. That evening, Oskar Blues supplied the group with a pulled pork dinner in their restaurant, and even though I couldn’t eat it, everyone else seemed to enjoy it.
Monday was the traditional slalom race, which had about 18 gates and was created by Brendan Curson and Cathy Hearn who had her adorable little baby with her! There were several down river gates right on the eddy lines so you had to really plan each stroke. We had to limit the runs to 3 boats per person because there were so many racers, so I competed in K1, C1 and C2 Women’s with Chelsea Easley from Texas. It was lots of fun!
Tuesday was boater cross time and the final day of Jr. Olympics, as well as Dane Jackson’s 18th birthday! Everybody wrote their names on a piece of paper which were put into hats according to age, and teams of 4 were picked for boater cross, each consisting of a Jr., Jr. 16, a cadet and a cub cadet. I lucked out and was put on a team with Dane Jackson, (Tennessee) Sam Fletcher, (Canada) and Hannah Penner, (Canada). The only rules were you had to keep your hands on the paddle, negotiate 2 up river gates, your boat couldn’t run until your 5 sit ups or push ups were finished and the teams bib had to be visible on each team. I was first to run for my team, and I did my 5 push ups and Dane ran with my boat to the put in at the other end of the park. I managed to get in my boat first and get down the river quickly where I stripped my bib off and gave it to Sam who put it on and did his push ups-Dane ran with the boat again and we stayed in first. Hannah was next and maintained our lead with Dane, once again, running the boat. Dane was finally up, and yes, he ran his own boat. We moved on to the next group, and eventually made it to finals where we won! Everyone agreed that this was a super fun event and it was great for meeting other teams and making new friends, and it will probably be the first event in Jr. Olympics from now on.
For the final awards ceremony, There was cake in the shape of the yellow Jackson smiley face for everyone to celebrate Dane’s birthday, and lots of awards were passed out including the naming of the Cadet National Team Members. I made the K1, C1, C2 Women’s, Freestyle and Down River Teams, and also received the Rivermeisterene award and the Spirit award along with 10 gold medals and 2 silver medals. The Spirit award was extra special because the first person to ever win it was my Jackson Kayak Teammate Jason Craig who is recovering for a horrible waterfall accident.
Overall, the Jr. Olympics was lots of fun! I loved seeing old friends, making new ones and learning new skills. Thanks again to the City of Lyons, Mike Hyde, Gina Gilbert, Nate Lord, Mark Poindexter and all the coaches and parents for making this event a blast! I can’t wait to compete next year!
Sage Donnelly 2010 Final and Begin 2011
It has been an incredible year for me! I accomplished most of my goals for 2010 including completing my loop and competing in the Junior Olympics where I won 5 gold medals and became the Cub Cadet National Slalom Champion and made the National Team for Freestyle, Slalom and C2. I also ran more class 4 rivers and worked hard to support Jackson Kayak, American Whitewater and Outdoor Nation as a good ambassador.
2010 Whitewater Accomplishments
Kern River Festival: 1st. – Jr. Women’s Slalom, 4th. – Women’s Brush Creek Race, 2nd. – Women’s Bush Ck Gaint Slalom Race, 1st. – Women’s Triple Crown
Cache Creek: 1st – Jr. Slalom
Reno River Festival: 2nd – Jr. Freestyle
Truckee River Race: 1st – Jr. Slalom
Auburn River Festival: 1st – Jr. Freestyle and 1st – Jr. Slalom
Yampa River Festival: 1st – Jr. Open Freestyle, 2nd – Jr Freestyle, 2nd – Jr. Women’s Slalom
Teva Mountain Games: 12th – Women’s Freestyle, only cadet competitor
Lyons River Festival: 2nd – Cadet Slalom, 2nd – Cadet Freestyle
FibArk River Festival: 1st – Cadet Freestyle and 1st – Cadet Slalom
American River Festival: 1st – Cadet Freestyle and 1st – Cadet Slalom
Mokelumne River Festival: 1st Cadet – Down River Race and 1st – Cadet Slalom
Age Group National Slalom Championship: 1st – Cub-Cadet
Junior Olympics: 5 – Gold Medals and 2 – 1st places (non-sanctioned events) in Women’s Cub Cadet Category: 1st – Slalom, 1st – Sprint Slalom, 1st – Boatercross, 1st – Down River Sprint, 1st – Down River Race, 1st – Mix C2 Slalom, 1st – Freestyle.
I was able to travel all over the nation this year and ran several new class 4 rivers including Pauley Creek, Brush Creek, Kaweaha, Kern, NF Feather, and NF American in California, as well as my first over night self support kayak trip on class 4 Deer Creek near Chico with many good friends. I then traveled to Colorado where I competed at rodeos every weekend and was able to loop in every competition.
I traveled to the east coast for my first time where I paddled the Tellico, Youghiogheny, Cheat, New River, Ocoee, Nantahala and Potomac rivers. One of the best parts of the year was meeting so many great people on and off the water and making new friends from all over the world.
Off River: I spoke to 150 middle school students about river careers on Career Day in Reno, NV and to 100 – 4th and 5th graders in Sacramento, CA about getting outside and enjoying the outdoors, but especially kayaking!
Goals for 2011
I hope to continue competing and defend my Jr. Olympic and National titles and learn more freestyle tricks including Cartwheels, Backloops and Space Godzillas. I also would like to run as many rivers as possible and be a good ambassador for AW, Outdoor Nation and Jackson Kayak, and to paddle with more kids in 2011!