INSIDE the 2016 Green Race – The Contenders
The Contenders, By Shane Benedict
Like every year whitewater legend Shane Benedict is covering the Annual Green Race for us at Kayak Session mag.
Some years there are many people vying for the top spot at the Green Race but this year the choices are obvious. Barring catastrophic equipment failure or several unfortunate turn of events there are only a few guys and only one woman who really have a shot at the men’s Green Race title. I actually hope that a dark horse that no one has counted on comes out of the woodwork just to add spice to the event but I just don’t see it happening.
On the men’s side we have 3 past champions that make of the list of the elites.
Eric Deguil is the man to beat this year. Last year he tied Dane Jackson for the title of Green Race Champion and this year Eric trained as hard as ever for the race. The hard work has paid off with very fast practice times. There are very few people that have been as dedicated to the Green Race as Deguil for the last decade. In the last 9 years he has been here 8 times. This year he wants to make the title his own.
Isaac Levinson has won this event twice in the last 4 years and is counting on the tradition of winning. Though we haven’t seen much of him around the south there is no doubt that he has been training hard as this is the the key event on his calendar. Isaac’s slalom background has taught him the core principles of speed on the river and those skills show themselves here on the Green. The tight and technical course brings out the precision paddling in him.
It is hard to ever call Pat Keller the dark horse at his home event but his hard road travel schedule has left little time for hard core training this year. The big thing that Pat has going for him is a competitive streak the size of I-40 (highway) and an intimate knowledge of the Green River, through all her water levels, that only Pat Keller could have.
On the Women’s side it is Adriene Levknecht’s race to lose. Her main challenge is seeing how few men will actually beat her. Will that lack of challenge cause her to lose focus? I don’t think so. She, like Keller, has a competitive streak that can swallow men whole. Watch out boys, she will beat you!
Tad Dennis is the odds on favorite for the C-1 title though Jordan Poffenberger will be hot on his tail. While Jake Trotter has been working his hand paddles hard on racelines and is the guy to beat in that category.
Good luck everyone,