GJ 20-year-old thriving on U.S. World Cup canoe slalom team

Micki Reeves, a 20-year-old from Grand Junction, is shown competing at the U.S. team trials. Reeves competes in International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom and is ranked 18th in the International Canoe Federation world rankings. Photo by John Michael Thompson.

Micki Reeves’ racing career started out as an innocent boat ride four years ago.

Now, the Grand Junction 20-year-old is one of three women on the U.S. World Cup canoe slalom team.

Reeves placed 14th in the International Canoe Federation World Cup No. 2 competition last weekend in La Seu de Urgell, Spain.

“It’s definitely been exciting, especially going to Europe,” Reeves said. “It was definitely nerve-racking. It was a tough competition, but it’s been a lot of fun.

“I feel good about it just because I feel like I’m still developing as an athlete. It’s good to get more experience. I know now the things I need to work on.”

She was in a boat for the first time in 2006 as part of her high school outdoor club.

“I thought it would be fun to try out,” Reeves said. “I started racing the following spring in a kayak.”

The 2007 Fruita Monument High School graduate competed in her first canoe slalom race in 2008 at the U.S. women’s team trials in Charlotte, N.C., and finished in the top three.

“It was exciting and surprising at the same time,” Reeves said. “I was afraid. I didn’t know what to expect.”

Later that summer she competed in the ICF PreWorlds in La Seu de Urgell, Spain, and placed fourth in her first trip outside the United States.

Paddlers must navigate their canoe or kayak through gates over challenging rapids, waves, eddies and currents on a 300-meter stretch of whitewater in slalom racing.

If the paddler touches a pole or misses a gate altogether, penalty seconds are added to their timed run (2 seconds for touching a pole, 50 seconds for missing a gate).

Reeves competes in the women’s C-1 (canoe single) division. This is the first year women’s C-1 is on the world cup circuit.

She placed 14th in the first World Cup event of the season in Prague, Czech Republic. The third World Cup event takes place this weekend in Augsburg, Germany.

Reeves is ranked 23rd in the latest ICF World Cup series standings and 18th in the ICF rankings. She finished 13th in the 2009 final ICF world rankings.

She plans to compete in the Canoe Slalom World Championships in September in Tacen, Slovenia.

Reeves attends the University of Colorado in Boulder between competitions. She trains on Clear Creek in Golden.

“It’s a balancing act, but so far it’s working out,” she said. “I’m planning on doing this for a while. I have a lot to work on. Wherever this takes me, that’s where I want to go.”


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