Albion College continued its dominance in the American Canoe Association’s National Collegiate Canoe and Kayak Championships on the Tuckasegee River in Dillsboro, N.C. March 31-April 1 as Britons placed first in five of the six events. Albion has emerged as the national champion every year since the event’s inception in 2007.
Jake Lane was victorious in three events, while Zaak Havens and Zane Havens paddled their way to first place in two events. All three were members of the winning relay team, along with David Huggins, Holly Williams and Alli Wilburn.
Zaak Havens posted the fastest time in the one-man kayak, and Lane won the one-man canoe and also teamed with Zane Havens to win the two-person canoe race.
Albion was especially strong in the canoe events.
Albion students took six of the top seven places in the one-man canoe. There were 19 competitors in the event and following Lane were Zane Havens in second, Pat Wagner in third, Thor Person in fourth, Chris Omerza in sixth, and David Huggins was seventh.
Five of the top six place winners in the one-woman event came from Albion. Amy Bell won the race with a time of 12 minutes, 27 seconds and she was followed by Kayleigh Harvey in third, Wilburn in fourth, Williams in fifth and Kaitlyn Pospiech in sixth.
There were 30 boats in the two-man canoe event, and Albion swept the top four places led by Zane Havens and Lane with a time of 12 minutes, 23 seconds. Emily Stephens and Zaak Havens were second, Williams and Huggins took third, and Danielle Crittenden and Pat Wagner placed fourth.
“Albion’s team paddled extremely hard, and represented the college well.” Canoe Coach Keith Havens commented. “Although we will be losing several paddlers to graduation, the strength of our returning canoeists and kayakers bodes well for Albion’s team in the future.”
Havens will be retiring after the spring semester, but he hopes that the team’s momentum, and the fact that several faculty and staff have expressed an interested in helping with the program, will enable this success to continue.