WSC Student Jonny Meyers wins College Boatercross Championships; Title comes just months after major accident
May 28, 2010 -- Jonny Meyers, a senior at Western State College of Colorado (WSC), won the College Kayak Boatercross Championships this month at the Alt Games in Reno, Nev. – just months after a life-threatening snowboarding accident.
The Alt Games is a collegiate competition consisting of 14 non-traditional sports including wake boarding, skateboarding, beach volleyball and whitewater kayaking.
In January, Meyers broke both of his wrists and five vertebrae in a snowboarding accident. The accident, which required a flight-for-life to the Aurora Medical Center, earned him the new nickname, “Bionic Boy.”
“The outcome of the operation was two plates and 10 screws in each wrist and two titanium rods and 10 screws in my spine,” Meyers said.
His rehabilitation included light boating, intense physical therapy, lap swimming and a positive attitude, all while maintaining his studies at Western. Meyers is a Spanish major and business minor.
“I was prepared for competition more than ever before,” Meyers said.
Meyers won the College Kayak Freestyle Championships in 2007 and took second in 2006. He also represented the United States is Switzerland last fall taking sixth place in the World Kayak Freestyle Championships.
“With all the flipping and twisting that it demands, freestyle kayaking is out of the question for now, but boatercross is much better,” Meyers said.
While freestyle kayaking demands tricks that contort the body, boatercross is more appropriate for Meyers as he recovers because it puts less strains on his injuries. Boatercross is a down river race, where freestyle kayaking happens while surfing a wave and doing tricks.
The victory had a special meaning for him for a couple reasons: his recent injury and his family was in attendance. It was also Mother’s Day.
“I never got to buy my mother flowers that morning, so I figured I better win this one for her,” he said. “It was a great feeling to win and be back on the podium in my first competition back after the accident.”
Meyers, who hails from Bigfork, Mont., will be back at Western this fall for his last semester, with plans to graduate in December. This summer he’ll volunteer with the Gunnison River Festival, which takes place at the Gunnison Whitewater Park the weekend of June 25 – 27. The Gunnison River Festival started at Western, and the college continues to be a major sponsor.
Meyers is pleased with his victory and riding the high of his incredible comeback.
“My big win at the Alt Games definitely boosted my confidence for future competitions and shows how far determination, passion and a positive attitude can take you.”
Story by: Luke Mehall, assistant director of public relations and communications