Meet the Sweets of the East Team; Melanie Seiler

The Sweets of the East team may be new to Melanie, but the team members go way back.  Jo-Beth, Sarah, and Margaret have all worked together as river guides. Heck, Margaret did her “check-out” run with Melanie years ago. They now come back together to achieve race goals and have energetic younger members to mentor, Katee and Abbie. Let’s learn more about the newest member of the team, Melanie Seiler.

How did you get into rafting? I went on my first raft trip when I was 5 years old. My grandparents were there and my brother and we practiced rowing together. I continued my love of the river growing up in my parents rafting company, Songer Whitewater. It provided me with an extended family, a strong work ethic, and an affection for purple rafts.

Why do you like to race? I like to efficiently travel across water and doing this as a team is so dynamic. It’s wonderful to share the river running experience with others. I have a full time job running a local non-profit, Active Southern West Virginia, which takes time away from running the river. This team has given me back the river runs, even if they are at 6am on a Sunday morning. 

What is your favorite piece of gear? My lifejacket. It’s like wearing a hug.

Photo credit Candace Evans

What do you hope to gain from being on the team? Patience, kindness, and respect.

What is your whitewater race experience? My previous whitewater races have been on the Lower Gauley with a commercial rafting group of military service members and a double duckie race on the Upper Gauley’s Animal Race. Other whitewater racers have been pursued on stand up paddle boards (SUP); 2nd place woman’s SUP River Rock in Richmond VA 2015, 2nd place woman’s SUP Tuck Fest in Charlotte NC 2014, 1st place New River Gorge SUP Race Fayetteville WV 2010, 2011, 2012, 2nd place 2013, 2014, 1st place woman’s SUP Noli Fest in Johnson City TN 2017.

Silly or funny facts about your self. I am a new step mom realizing the family moments go by so fast and can be very humbling. The jokes are endless and the laugh of my step daughters fill my soul.

Photo credit Deb S Action Photo

National Championship

The National Rafting Championships are coming to southern West Virginia! The US Rafting Association (USRA) recently announced the New and Gauley Rivers will host this prestigious whitewater event September 4-8, 2018. This event is the qualifier for the World Rafting Championship to be held in Australia in May 2019.

Read more here: West Virginia’s Raft Race Team; Sweets of the East

Who is on the team?

This dedicated group of ladies have worked, played, and trained hard together this year to proudly represent the home team. The Sweets of the East team started in 2015 and has rotated team members over the years to accommodate R4 and R6 competitions.

2018 Sweets of the East team members from left to right; Sarah Merritt,  Margaret Cadmus, Katee Knight, Jo-Beth Stamm, Abbie Clasgens, Melanie Seiler, and not pictured alternate Christian Mullens.  Click on each name for individual bios.

Sweets of the East Sponsors

To become a team or event sponsor please contact Mike Cassidy.

National Championship Event Sponsors

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