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This week: Top paddlers to compete on Lanier
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Some of the nation’s top paddlers and canoe teams will convene on Lake Lanier starting Thursday for the US Canoe and Kayak Sprint Nationals. The Lake Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club will be competing against clubs from Hawaii, Seattle, Oklahoma City, San Diego and Washington, D.C., among others. The LCKC is the defending national champions in the Sprint Nationals.

Events competed at Clarks Bridge Park range from one-person kayak (K-1) and one-person canoe (C-1) all the way up to K-4 and C-4. Event distances include the 200 meter, 500 and 1,000. Athletes of all ages will be represented with races for kids in the bantem, and progressively older with juvenile, junior, intermediate, senior and master’s divisions. All totaled, more than 300 athletes will be coming to Hall County for this three-day event.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: The prep sports season is ready to begin. Monday marks the first day that football, softball, cross country and volleyball teams can hold practice.

High school football has strict guidelines for practice in the opening weeks due to conditioning and heat concerns. According to the Georgia High School Association’s own calendar, players can wear shorts and shoulder pads the first week, with helmets at least twice during the first five days. The regular season for football opens Aug. 26.

ATLANTA BRAVES: August opens today with a road trip for three NL East divisional series for Atlanta. The Braves visit the Washington Nationals tonight for the first game in a three-game series. After a day off on Thursday, the Braves travel further up the East Coast for three more games against the New York Mets.

On Monday, Jair Jurrjens (12-3, 2.38 ERA) takes his fourth attempt at win No. 13 on the season. In his last outing, Jurrjens only allowed one earned run over seven innings, but took a no-decision in last Tuesday’s 2-1 19-inning win against the Pirates in Atlanta.

In Game 2 of the series against the Nationals, a struggling Derek Lowe (6-9, 4.52 ERA) will get the ball for the Braves. In his last outing last Wednesday against Pittsburgh, Lowe allowed three earned runs and eight hits in a loss to the Pirates.

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