Girl skips juniors, races with adults
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Lauren Burress might just have a future in law.
Denied a chance to compete in the junior women division of the weekend’s U.S. Freestyle Kayak Team Trials because, at 13 years old, she was too young, Burress and her family did a little research.
“We went through the rule books, and we basically found kind of a loophole,” she said. “There’s no age requirement for [adult] women, but there is for juniors. You don’t have to be 18 to do women’s.”
So, wanting desperately to compete, Burress decided to go head to head with the big girls and enter the adult women division.
Going shoulder to shoulder with top paddlers like Emily Jackson, the youngster held her own. She made it all the way to the finals. Once there, the Evansville, Ind., native finished sixth.
Although she didn’t make the U.S. Freestyle Kayak Team and earn a chance to compete at the Aug. 31 through Sept. 6 ICF Freestyle World Championships in Thun, Switzerland, Burress left Glenwood Springs content with her performance.
“As soon as I came in, I didn’t even think I’d make it out of prelims, but I did,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d make the finals and then I did. Then I thought there was no way I’d make the team. I just went out there having fun. It was good. I didn’t end up making the team, but that’s alright. I’ve got some years ahead of me.”
Burress already has quite the kayaking resume.
She got her start in kayaking about five years ago. She’d travel to Tennessee on weekends to paddle before her family eventually moved there.
Burress has actually spent time training with Jackson, one of the women she competed against this past weekend, in Rock Island, Tenn.
“She flies into where I live just to paddle with us,” said Jackson, who’s the daughter of Jackson Kayak co-founder Eric Jackson. “I know here quite well, actually.”
And Jackson didn’t seem all that surprised by Burress’ strong showing.
“I’m bummed she couldn’t be in juniors because she would have done really well,” she said. “But congratulations to her for just making it to the finals. It’s a hard thing to go through. No matter what, she should be so proud of what she did.”
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