DURHAM, N.C., JULY 19 -- The year after he graduated from Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Dan Schnurrenberger traveled cross country from river to river. It's called "hair boating" when a canoeist or kayaker "runs whatever river they can run," said Schnurrenberger.
Now 31, Schnurrenberger, who completed a masters degree in plant genetics last year and was once the best flat-water and wild-water kayaker in the nation, is at the U.S. Olympic Festival trying to regain the desire and ambition he once had.
Friday, the day before competition began, he drove more than 12 hours from Greenville, S.C., to get the boats. On the first day of competition today, he didn't even break into the top three in his events, finishing no higher than the consolation heat in the 1,000 meters.
"The biggest problem has been the conflict between working and training," said Schnurrenberger, who once lived in the drafty, unheated Washington Canoe Club for 4 1/2 years. "Most competitive paddlers on the international level do it full time. In the U.S., you either have rich parents or you starve."
A separated shoulder kept him out of the 1984 Olympic trials. "That's one reason I'm here now," he said. "I quit after that with a bad taste."
Takoma Park's Sharmba Mitchell -- at 16 the youngest boxer in the Festival tournament -- lost a 3-2 decision to Tony Braxton in a 125-pound semifinal bout at the Raleigh Civic Center. Mitchell, who will be a senior at Northwestern High School, had beaten Braxton, a U.S. Marine stationed at Camp LeJeune, N.C., in the semifinals of the Festival trials, but Braxton was the aggressor in the second round last night and went on to win.
Last year the East women's soccer team won the Festival silver medal in Houston. On the first day of play Saturday, East Coach Hank Leung, the NCAA runner-up George Mason women's coach, was experiencing de'ja` vu.
His team started the same way it did last year, playing to a 1-1 tie against the West in the Duke University soccer stadium.
This year Leung should have a definite advantage in the tournament, since 11 of the 18 players on his team either play for him at George Mason or play on the Fairfax Wildfire club team. And most of them were on the East team last year.
Robby Franker of Quantico and Rod Fitz-Randolph of Tampa both shot 597 out of a possible 600 in the men's smallbore rifle competition to tie the Festival record. But Gary Andrade of Quantico, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps International team, beat them in the 10-shot finals, scoring 695 for the gold medal.