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Paddle power: McConville, Sutter take first place at nationals

August 20, 2012
By MIKE LYNCH - Sports Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

A pair of local paddlers took home a first and second place finish in the United States Canoe Association Championships Sunday, August. 12 on the Allegheny River in Warren, Pa.

Becky Sutter of Saranac Lake and Pete McConville of Paul Smiths finished first in the C-2 mixed standard class in the 40-to 50-year-old age group and second overall. The results were from one race, which went from Kinzua Dam to Betts Recreational River.

"We had a great race," McConville said. "(It was a) good result, and it was fun. A lot of training went into that one."

Article Photos

Becky Sutter and Pete McConville paddle in the U.S. Canoe Assocation Championships on Sunday, Aug. 12 in Warren,?Pa., where they took a first and second place.
(Photo provided)

The pair finished the race in one hour, 54 minutes and 35.52.

The result was especially impressive because Sutter and McConville had the only stock boat of the 28 canoes entered into their race. Stock boats are considered slightly slower than the racing canoes used by their competitors. The design of their boat slowed them down during some of the more shallow sections of the river.

"They just scooted away in the shallow waters," McConville said. "Then we hit some deep waters and we just started powering and passing people. By the time we hit our first buoy turn going upstream, we were in first place. We closed on first, but we could never catch them. They were really good."

The racecourse led them though rocky shallows, deep straightaways and fast upriver currents on tight buoy turns. The course also contained a short, class II whitewater section.

"That was kind of what separated the experienced paddlers from the pack," Sutter said. "A lot of people dumped in there."

Earlier this year, Sutter and McConville raced in the Round the Mountain race in Saranac Lake and Electric City Regatta downstate, where they claimed first place finishes in their class.

McConville will team up with the Old Boys in C-4 open class for the Adirondack Canoe Classic 90-miler in September and Sutter will be racing with Guy Middleton for team DownHill Grill in the C-2 mixed stock class.



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