Inside Events dane jackson top contender 2022 green race ©kayaksession.com

Published on novembre 5th, 2022 | by Kayak Session https://www.kayaksession.com/img-current-issue/upload-your-video.png

Inside the 2022 Green Race with Shane Benedict – #3, The Contenders, The Beast and the Young Wolves

Every year whitewater legend and Green Race local, Shane Benedict from Liquidlogic Kayaks covers the Green Race for us at Kayak Session Magazine. In this article Shane shares his top 10 contenders, and tells us who could win and why.

Six time Green Race winner Dane Jackson has so much going for him that he doesn’t need to look in the rear view mirror at the pack of young wolves nipping at his heels unless something goes horribly sideways, but the pack of wolves deserves our notice. What stands out as different this year: The top 20 Contenders will grapple for the podium, ready to challenge Dane in the future. They line up for the lead of the pack young and hungry. To make the top 10 this year paddlers definitely have to break 4:30 and it might it drop to 4.25. Let’s see how I do on my top 10.

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1 – Isaac Hull isn’t much of a surprise; he’s secured top 10 for the last couple years and taken home silver last year!  His smooth strong style makes him a consistent contender and I swear he’s maybe 19 now? Even at that young age he has tons of race and training experience. I’d call him first up in the chase for Dane.

Isaac Hull top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

2 – Kaelin Freidenson is another of the onslaught of young rippers. This guy has been a competitive racer for a long time. Kaelin took the Great Falls race this year and last year as a Junior his time put him in 5th place overall at the Green Race. Top 3 this year will prove a major undertaking but I have him on the podium.

Kaelin Friedenson (Usa) top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

3 – Sam Sharp another fast as crap grom (ok he could be drafted)  has the skills, history, and has put in the time. This silent assassin’s time last year put him in the top 10. This year he is looking to move up. He could well skip right up onto the podium.

Sam Sharp (Can) top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

4 – Holt McWhirt. You know things are changing when Holt is considered a experienced veteran. He has laid down some screaming fast times and high placings here at the Green Race including two podiums.  He also just came off a big win at the King Of New York.  So he is on point and looking to fire it up at the Green Race.

5 Look out for Grizzled Green Race verteran Bernie Engelman. He and Dane secure the top ten’s access to US legal privileges. Bernie has been in serious contention for a while now, but he has lept up the rankings the last two. In 2021 he missed the podium by less than two seconds, let me repeat that two seconds.

Bernie Engelman top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

6 – Wesley Shelmire lives the local local here at the Green. To be honest I haven’t seen him paddle a race boat much except on the interwebs but the fast people are saying he is fast.  He’s on the list. He is paddling a composite Stinger! It’s one of those situations where he might place way up there or it might all come apart before the finish line.

Wesley Shelmire top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

7 – Joe “Toad” Todd: he reminds me of a couple of star Green racers. I have called them the crash twins in the past, teaming them up as favorites to win and/or come apart at the seams. Toad took a win at Gnarlfest and rumor has it he has the chops to bust into the top 10.  However, I watched him catch the eddy at Gorilla 3 times in a row by accident. I’m not sure this is a good idea but I am putting him in the top 10.

Joe Todd top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

8 – Nathan Bond takes another of the slots in the South Carolina/ Charlotte Park Rat Consortium. In practice laps I saw him paddling as hard or harder than anyone one on the course and lacing his lines. They do say that when you paddle hard you sometimes find yourself where you didn’t want to be quickly. 

Nathan Bond top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

9 – Cashion Porter Shirly, CPS for short is fast as f#$% boi and another of the grom explosion.  Word on the streets was that he threw down a 4.20 in practice yesterday and that would put him waaaay up the list.

Cashion Porter Shirly top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

10 – Zack Mutton, first year coming to the Green Race, first year paddling a long boat, first time at the Russell Fork race, and he won.  Zack is a crusher from New Zealand and considering he outpaced Dane at the Lord of the Fork there is no doubt he has the power and lungs to be in contention but does he have the  experience on this race course to make it competitive. If he can remember where to go I bet he makes the top 10.

Zack Mutton (Nz) top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

Side bets:  Will the South Carolina/ Charlotte Park Rats put more people in the top 10 than KLCG?

KLCG paddlers crew from North carolina
KLCG crew
Charlotte Park Rats

Which one of the Grizzled Veterans will break through the puppy pile.  These guys know their way down this course better than any of these youngsters so there is always a possibility that Andrew Holcombe, Geoff Calhoun, Brian Knight, Matt Anger, or Colin Hunt will land yet ANOTHER break through lap in the top ten, or more?.  Will we see Pat Keller come off the couch for a podium?

The story on the women’s side is Adriene Levknecht has 12 pieces of glass.  She doesn’t even know where to put them all. Sage Donnely won last and this year we have Olympian Evy Leibfarth entering the mix. There are a lot of variables to go through.

Adriene Levknecht got her hand out of a cast a few weeks ago after a mountain biking accident  and nobody wants to look at the remaining lump on her thumb.  She said, “it’s fucking hurts to paddle”.  Everytime I’ve seen her on the course I’ve seen speed.  I almost feel like the adversity loosened her up and let her just go for it.  I have her pinning the crown on that awesome blonde wig she wore to the pre-party.

Adriene Levknecht (usa) top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

Sage Donnelly – I’m gonna be really honest, I haven’t seen her training laps this year so I don’t have a lot to go on.  Of course that whole Reigning Champ after her name is a very  good indicator of what she is capable of…

Sage Donnelly top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

Regina Goldkuhl – She’s another local local living only a few miles from the put in and putting in lots of laps out here.  During practice runs she has looked as strong and ready to charge as I have ever seen her.  If the lines go well she could definitely podium.  

Regina Goldkuhl top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

The wild card in the Women’s category this year is Evy Leibfarth.  Evy is a decorated slalom racer in both Kayak and C-1 so she brings the technical chops to break down the course.  With her slalom background comes an advanced ability to visualize the course and she is going to need that skill set since she has maybe a total of 10 laps through the Narrows.  That said, much like Zack Mutton, if she hits her lines her power and skill could take her to any one of the steps on the podium.

Levy Leibfarth (Usa) top contenders at the 2022 Green race ©kayaksession.com

Good luck racers!!

Green Race 27, Let’s do this!

>> Watch Inside the Green River Race 2022, Part 1
>>> Watch Inside the Green River Race 2022, Part 2

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