US Freestyle Kayak Team Trials Get Under Way

Few surprises on first day of action in OC-1, men’s and women’s senior classes
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Surprises were nearly absent and the Jackson dynasty asserted its place in freestyle kayaking as the US National Freestyle Kayak Team Trials opened today in the heart of Missoula, MT.

Some of the best crowds of recent National Team Trials history packed bleachers to watch prelims for Senior Women and Senior Men as well as the semifinals for OC-1. The last name of the winners of today's divisions was the same as Eric Jackson and his children topped the men's, women's and OC-1 preliminary rounds today.

In senior men, Eric Jackson was among the three oldest competitors in the division to advance into semifinals. With the best-scoring rides and finishing with the top cumulative score of the day was four-time World Champion Eric Jackson, 46. Jackson, who lost his crown last year to 21-year-old son-in-law, Canadian Nick Troutman, definitely has his sights set on making the US Team in order to see if he can achieve his dream of winning five World titles. Both of Jackson's rides were the highest scoring of the day, 880 in the first round, followed by 945 in the second round for a total score of 1825.

Finishing fifth was Jackson's Rock Island, TN neighbor and longtime friend Clay Wright, 43, with 1160 points. The tour's oldest competitor, 49-year-old Jud Keiser finished in seventh place with 960 points.

In all, boats designed and manufactured by Jackson Kayak claimed seven of the top 10 men's spots, rounded out by two Pyranha paddlers, Michael Patterson and Craig Kleckner and Team Wave Sport Manager Bryan Kirk.

Veterans also dominated the women's results today. Emily Jackson, Eric's daughter, proved why she's reigning World Champ by racking up a 600 points in two rides. Tour veteran Devon Barker finished in second with 470, followed closely by Jessie Stone with 460. Rounding out the list of women who will advance to finals were relative newcomers Erin Clancey, Haley Mills and Kat Levitt. Five women would normally advance to finals but as reigning World Champ, Emily Jackson is automatically entered into next year's World c

Championships, allowing six women to advance for the chance to be among the three women on the US team. The only upset occurred as reigning US National Team member Elaine Campbell failed to advance to finals.

In the Open Canoe class, teens captured the top two spots. Dane Jackson (Eric's son; Emily's brother) and Jordan Poffenberger were the top two qualifiers. Joining them in the finals are Brad McMillan, reigning OC-1 World Champ Jeremy Laucks and Eli Helbert.

Team Trials continue tomorrow starting at 2 p.m. with two heats of C-1 prelims, one heat of junior women, OC-1 finals, two heats of junior men and the senior men's semifinals. The day ends with a Big Trick competition scheduled at 7 p.m.

Only members of the US Team are eligible to compete in the next year's International Canoe Federation Freestyle Kayak World Championships in Platting Germany in June.

The complete lists of today's results as well as the heat sheet for tomorrow follows.

To view live streaming coverage of the event, visit

• Top Results, Wednesday, June 30


Dane Jackson, 105; Jordan Poffenberger 80; Brad McMillan, 45; Jeremy Laucks, 35; Eli Helbert 25; Jeff Campbell, 10.

Senior Women

Emily Jackson, 600; Devon Barker, 470; Jessie Stone 460; Erin Clancey 335; Haley Mills 300; Kat Levitt 295.

Senior Men

Eric Jackson, 1825; Bryan Kirk, 1500; Dustin Urban, 1460; Stephen Wright, 1300; Clay Wright, 1160; Jason Craig, 965; Jud Keiser, 960; Michael Patterson, 815; Shawn Byron, 780; Craig Kleckner, 780.

• Heat list, Thursday, July 1, starting at 2 p.m.

in order of start

C-1 Heat 1

Jordan Poffenberger, Dane Jackson, Eric Jackson, Seth Chapelle, Ellis Smitz

C-1 Heat 2

Jake Ament, Jeff Campbell, Brad McMillan, Garrett Bryant, Jeremy Laucks

Junior Women

Taylor Cote, Brooke Hess-Homeier, Hannah Kertesz, Emery Tillman, Lauren Burress

OC-1 Finals

Jeff Campbell, Eli Helbert, Jeremy Laucks, Brad McMillan, Jordan Poffenberger, Dane Jackson

Junior Men Heat 1

Eric Bartl, Dylan Evans, JP Griffith, Max Karlsson (cadet), George Milhelm

Junior Men Heat 2

Jordan Poffenberger, Will Rudsill, Nico Tonozzi, Dane Jackson, Kyle Butler


Senior Men's Semifinal, Heat 1

Shawn Byron, Craig Kleckner, Michael Patterson, Jud Keiser, Jason Craig

Senior Men's Semifinal, Heat 2

Clay Wright, Stephen Wright, Dustin Urban, Bryan Kirk, Eric Jackson