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Two Area Kayakers Getting Ready for Junior World Championships in Wisconsin

by on July 08, 2012 6:00 AM

Mach One Slalom Team members Evelyn Van Horn and Sarah Mosier have earned positions on the 2012 United States Slalom Team, which will compete in the Junior World Championships next weekend in Wausau, Wis.

Van Horn, 14, of Bellefonte, and Mosier, 15, of State College, are the first Mach One members to make the Junior Team since it was organized in 1999.

A closer look at the competitors, who will participate in the event Saturday and next Sunday:

Evelyn Van Horn

Van Horn started paddling with her family in 2008 at the age of 11. She started paddling in the Day One learning course and four years later with training, she rose to the Senior Team Trials and a spot on the U.S. Junior Team, which would be gunning for the World Junior Championships.

“As I trained harder, I continued to improve my skills and tried more difficult races,” Van Horn commented.

In 2010, she won the women’s kayak award in the Penn Cup Series. Building on earlier successes, she competed in the 2011 Junior Team Trials as a cadet and finished fourth. Earlier this year, she competed in the US Open Slalom at the Nantahala, N.C., Outdoor Center and finished fourth.

Van Horn has also participated in two North American Junior Olympic Festivals. In the 2010 at the Nantahala Center, she earned a gold and silver medal both in doubles canoe with her brother, Ethan. She was a cadet paddler two years ago, but the doubles entry was in the Junior-16 age category.

In 2011 at the Junior Olympic Festival in Lyons, Colo., she earned three silver medals and two bronze in slalom and wildwater events. In the process, she earned 18 points and finished ninth among all the girls entering and fourth among the US girls.

In 2010, Van Horn raced well in wildwater events to become a member of the 2010 U.S. Cadet Wildwater team. In 2011, she repeated the achievement of a position on the U.S. Cadet Wildwater and added placement on the Cadet Slalom Team as well.

In Mid-Atlantic Slalom competition, Van Horn raced toward placing on both the 2011 and 2012 teams. To reach this level, she had to outscore all but one other girl in her age group in three of four slalom events.

“It has been an exciting spring for me because I had the chance to race in the U.S. Olympic Trials held at the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte,” Van Horn said. “It is a beautiful place and I had a great experience on this very difficult course.

"Every bit of practice you can get on a hard course can help you learn something even if it’s a bad run. Back home, I practiced as much as possible to prepare for the Junior Team Trials as May approached. I did some other small races in between.”

Van Horn’s greatest triumphs came at the U.S. Junior Team Trials this spring in Wasau, Wis., where she had four excellent runs and earned a spot on the U. S. Junior Women’s kayak team.

Sarah Mosier

At the age of 12, Mosier launched what has turned out as a successful career to date.

Mosier followed Van Horn in winning the Penn Cup women’s cup award in 2011. In that quest she raced well at the Dog Days Slalom in Bellefonte, the Riversport Slalom on the Youghiogheny near Pittsburgh, and the Bellefonte Slalom.

In the summer of 2011, she participated in the Junior Olympics West at Lyons, Colo., which included a week-long training camp. At the initial Fun Slalom, she earned a silver medal in kayak and then turned in a third-place finish in the Downriver Race.

In the Championship Slalom, she won bronze medals in the cadet age women’s kayak and in women’s doubles canoe with Van Horn. Her final standing of 17 points was just one below Van Horn and gave her positions on the Slalom Cadet Teams in both women’s kayak and doubles canoe.

In the earlier Mid-Atlantic Regional Team Competition in 2011, she won a position. This resulted from her racing well at the Kish Slalom in Lewis-town and the two Feeder Slaloms in Bethesda, Md., in May and June.

At the Junior Team Trials in Wausau, she paddled in both the kayak and singles canoe competition. She finished seventh in kayak and earned fourth in the canoe class, as those scores into the third team position.

This past month, Sarah thus became the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Junior Slalom Team.

Ethan Van Horn

Ethan Van Horn, also of Bellefonte, has been chosen to be one of the official Fore Runners at the forthcoming Junior World Championships.

While he just missed being named to the U.S. Junior team, this position is both a challenge and an opportunity to show the strength and skill of his paddling.

At the Worlds, he will be running the course before anyone else has been on it. He will be watched by all the paddlers coming in from 30 countries and the best junior paddlers in the world.

Van Horn was 14 when he started paddling in 2008 by taking the Basic Paddling Course at Mach One, taught by coach Dave Kurtz. He soon tried slalom racing.

“Competition was more exciting than I thought it would be and I participated in Penn Cup races and NESS races early on,” he said.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.
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