Student Organization Shares Achievement with GGC

5 students present Dr. Kaufman with paddle

Chris Hagan presents Dr. Kaufman with the paddle. Others pictured: Melly Hiciano, Sandra Atherton, Dr. Clay Runck (team advisor) and Yu Yang.  

The Grizzly Dragon Boat Club recently presented Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel J. Kaufman with an autographed Dragon Boat paddle in honor of the support GGC has given to the registered student organization.

“We wanted to share our achievement with Dr. Kaufman and Georgia Gwinnett College,” said Christopher Hagan, captain and president of the Dragon Boat club.

Recently, the club successfully competed against other teams from colleges and universities around the southeast and raced to second place at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival held at Lake Lanier’s Kayak and Canoe Club.

“Dragon Boat is an exciting mash-up of traditional Chinese culture meeting a modern competitive structure,” Hagan explained. “I believe the best feeling one gets from racing on the Dragon Boat is a sense of accomplishment. After all of that work towards the finish line, you just want to turn to the person next to (or behind) you and say, ‘good job’ or ‘nice work.’ Or if you're too tired to speak, like I am afterwards, just give your teammates a big hug! I would like to thank all 22 people that were a significant part of our victory that day!”

Last year, the team came in second finishing only two-tenths of a second behind the first place team, the TASA Dragons (Taiwanese American Student Association). This year, TASA Dragons beat GGC’s team by 1.95 seconds. During the Festival, boaters race in different heats. The winners of each heat progresses on to the next race. GGC's team made it through two preliminary heats, a semi-final and a final. Boaters paddle a 200-meter race with crews of up to 25 people. Dr. Clay Runck, advisor to the team, beats a drum on the boat to help rowers sync strokes. Prior to the race, club members practice two to three hours at a time over the course of three weekends.

“Many people think that there is extensive knowledge needed to operate the boat,” Hagan said. “This, however, simply isn't the case. In order for someone to become a team member of the Dragon Boat Team, they would have to participate in the practices that we have before the date of the race. There is no workout that one would have to perform in order to be on the team, just an appetite for success, a 'can-do' attitude, an ability to do teamwork, and just a touch of adrenaline!”

Kris Newsome, assistant director of intramural sports, notes that the Grizzly Dragon Boat Team is a student club and that the “door” or rather, the boat is open to anyone who wants to participate. 

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