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Chickasaw Kayaker Wins National Trial in Houston

A Chickasaw kayaker placed first in the 16K U.S. Marathon Trials in Houston June 6.

A Chickasaw kayaker placed first in the 16K U.S. Marathon Trials in Houston June 6.

Josh Turner bested 20 kayakers to take the top medal with a time of 1:37 in the race which is just shy of 10 miles.

At the Houston 16K race Josh was impressed with the level of competition. “There were good competitors there, but I kept pushing until I pulled ahead,” he said.

The son of Chickasaws Jerry and Sandra Turner, also of Mustang, trains twice a day with his coach Andy Guiardinu at the Boathouse in Oklahoma City.

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Josh began his career in a kayak league started by OKC Riversport and the Chickasaw Nation. The 17-year-old Mustang High School student - he will be a senior this autumn – is dedicated to making the U.S. Olympic Team. Winning here helped, but six other competitions between June and October will be high on the list of selecting members of the U.S. team, he said. It will probably be in early 2016 before team members are selected, he added.

In July, he will venture to San Diego for Nationals in the 200, 400 and 1,000 meter races, both individually and with a new rowing partner, Miles Baker, a 16-year-old from Bethany, Okla. “We are trying to put a four-man team together to compete, too,” Josh said. The team would be comprised of Baker, Garrett Wampler, Anthony Moore and Josh.

His training regimen is on the shorter races for now, but when he heads to Marathon World later in the summer, he will be competing alone in a 26K race. Twenty-six kilometers is approximately 16.1 miles and will require more than two hours to finish, Josh said. That competition is in Hungary.

In typical Chickasaw fashion, when asked what it felt like to be a national champion, Josh said: “it doesn’t feel any different from before. I am focused on the future of making the Olympics.”