Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team Secures 10th National Championship
Gig Harbor, WA - 8/5/23 - The Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team has once again made history by achieving their 10th National Championship title at the highly competitive 2023 American Canoe Associations Sprint Nationals Competition held at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida. The team's remarkable performance showcases their dedication, passion, and exceptional talent in the sport of sprint canoe and kayak racing.
In addition to securing the National Championship, the team brought home the following trophies:
U18 (Junior) Events - Black Anvil Trophy: points scored in Junior/U18 events.
U16 (Juvenile) Events - Thomas Horton Trophy: points scored in Juvenile/U16 events.
U14 (Bantam) Events - Columbia-Murphy Trophy: points scored in Bantam/U14 events.
C4 Events – Coach Bill Bragg Trophy: sum of all points scored in every classification in C4 events.
National Champions - Yonkers Trophy: sum of all points scored in every classification (including Para) during the National Championships
Stella DeSantis also won a special award named after Deborah Smith Page Burgee for winning the Junior Women C1 500 Meter
Led by Head Coach Alyson Mrozinski, the Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team displayed outstanding determination and teamwork throughout the competition, culminating in an impressive win. Coach Alyson expressed, "I am incredibly proud of my team due to their commitment to one another under the extreme pressures this championship held. This year I have been blown away with the quality of character and determination of these athletes. They have earned it!"
Founding Coach Alan Anderson, who has been an integral part of the team's journey since its inception 20 years ago, shared his sentiments, "To witness the growth of this team over the past two decades has been immensely rewarding. Our 10th National Championship is a testament to the resilience of our athletes and the enduring spirit of our program."
Assistant and Development Coach Sadie Hanks, who played a key role in introducing over 90 young athletes to the sport of sprint canoe and kayak racing during the recent summer camps in Gig Harbor, added, "Our focus on nurturing and developing young talent is the heart of our program. Seeing these aspiring athletes embrace the sport and work hard to improve is truly inspiring."
The Nationals Competition unfolded over an exhilarating four-day period, with temperatures soaring above 90 degrees. Against this backdrop of challenging conditions, elite athletes from across the nation converged at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida. The event showcased the pinnacle of sprint canoe and kayak racing, with competitors pushing their limits in a testament to endurance and skill. With each stroke, participants navigated the scorching weather, demonstrating their unwavering dedication and determination to secure victory on the shimmering waters. "Amidst the heat of competition, our athletes embody a dedication to well-rounded health and balanced strength” explained Assistant Coach Dimitri Melynk “Beyond the challenging temperatures, we prioritize overall well-being, understanding that a blend of physical and mental resilience drives our success on and off the racecourse."
The Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team is celebrating its 20th-anniversary year, a milestone that has been made possible through support received from the City of Gig Harbor, the Gig Harbor Rotary Club, and the Names Foundation, to name just a few. Their generous investment and encouragement over the past two decades have been instrumental in fostering the team's growth and achievements. "Being part of this historic win is a momentous joy for me, having been part of the team's inception two decades ago” explained Assistant Coach Scott Puckett, “Witnessing our growth and triumphs is a source of immense pride. The journey comes full circle, and I'm excited to continue supporting the team's pursuit of excellence."
The Nationals Competition brought together athletes ranging from ages 12 to over 60, creating a diverse and vibrant atmosphere. Participants showcased their individual skills while also uniting in two-person and four-person team boats. This combination of individual and team efforts added an exciting dynamic to the races, highlighting the power of both personal determination and coordinated teamwork on the water.
Tod Cole, Head Masters Coach shared, "I'm immensely proud of our team's accomplishments and the spirit that drives us forward. As we expand our Masters division, I'm thrilled to lead these dedicated athletes on the journey to the 2024 Nationals. Together, we're setting our sights high and embracing every stroke as we prepare to make our mark on the water."
Immediately following the team’s return from Sarasota, a selected group of athletes who qualified by their race times will begin training to compete in the Olympic Hopes Regatta in Poznan, Poland September 7-10. This competition is the next step for athletes on a journey to the Olympics. GHCKRT is proud to send Ben Ciaccio - Canoe, Connor Kitching - Kayak, Abby Clark - Kayak, Connor Peterson - Canoe, Stella DeSantis - Canoe, and Gannon Erickson - Kayak to the Olympic Hopes Regatta.
About Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team: The Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team, founded 20 years ago, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization committed to promoting excellence in the sport of sprint canoe and kayak racing. With a strong focus on athlete development and teamwork, the team has consistently achieved remarkable success at the national level.
For media inquiries and further information, please contact: Cara Cantonwine, Team Administrator email@example.com