The Hollins University downriver racing team bested teams from Penn State, Brevard College, and Bellarmine University to take second place overall in the American Canoe Association Collegiate Downriver National Championships, held October 15 on the Roanoke River.
The competition was part of Roanoke’s Go Outside Festival, October 14-16.
Hosted by Hollins and Roanoke County Parks and Recreation and sponsored by Backcountry Ski and Sports, the race course started at the Little Niagara Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway and ended at the Explore Park recreation facility. “It was a beautiful day and the recent rain made the race course perfect,” said Jon Guy Owens, director of the Hollins Outdoor Program.
In addition to finishing second only to Warren Wilson College in the women’s category, several individual team members delivered standout performances:
- Olivia Foskey ’17 finished first in K1 Short (Short Kayak) and third in OC1 (Open Canoe Solo). “K1 was the most competitive category at the entire event and Olivia’s first-place finish was an extremely impressive showing,” said Owens.
- Jessica Michael ’17 took second in OC2 (Open Canoe Tandem) and ninth in K1 Short.
- Emily Blankenship ’18 was fourth in K1 Long and seventh in K1 Short.
- Kaitlyn Taylor ’17 and Jessica Michael ’17 captured second in OC2.
- In their first competition, Cate Kirkpatrick ’19 and Abby Parks ’19 finished sixth in OC2.
“The races are a great way to introduce students to paddle sports and give them the opportunity to meet paddlers from other schools,” noted Owens, a member of the Collegiate Paddling Competition Committee for the past two years. He added that Hollins has been competing in downriver racing events for seven years.
Photo Caption: Members of the Hollins downriver racing team (left to right): Olivia Foskey ’17, Jessica Michael ’17, Abby Parks ’19, Cate Kirkpatrick ’19, Kaitlyn Taylor ’17, and Emily Blankenship ’18.