Durango canoeist Zach “Bug” Lokken’s Olympic dreams were put on hold for a bit as he finished 28th Saturday at the Slalom World Cup No. 1 in Cardiff, Wales.
Pennsylvania’s Casey Eichfeld finished sixth overall in the men’s single canoe (C-1) event to qualify for his second consecutive Olympic Games and first in the C-1 discipline. He qualified for the 2008 Games in the double canoe.
Eichfeld finished 5.76 seconds out of first place, ending his run in 106.22. Entering the competition, Eichfeld needed to reach the top 20 and rank three spots higher than Georgia’s Benn Fraker to earn the trip to London. Fraker finished 11th.
Lokken, the 18-year-old Durango High School alumnus, finished 28th overall in the men’s C-1 race.
Micki Reeves, a 21-year-old from Grand Junction, finished eighth overall in the women’s C-1 event.
“I’m a talker, and I’m speechless,” Eichfeld said in a news release. “I don’t know what to do; I don’t know what to feel. I’m just sort of floating right now.”
Participating nations get only one qualifier per event in the canoe and kayak events.
Scott Parsons (men’s kayak), Carrie Johnson (women’s sprint kayak) and Tim Hornsby (men’s sprint kayak) also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team.
“For Casey, coming over to the C-1 category after racing C-2 in Beijing was a huge challenge,” USA Canoe/Kayak chief executive officer Joe Jacobi said.
“He never doubted he could make the jump and really hit his form last year on the World Cup circuit.”
Lokken, alongside fellow Durangoan Cully Brown, will race in the International Canoe Federation Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships next month in Wausau, Wis.