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UNG teams victorious in 22nd annual Atlanta Dragon Boat Festival

UNG Dragon Boat Race Winners
The UNG Nighthawks (#8) team row for the gold at the 22nd annual Atlanta-Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on Lake Lanier.

For the second consecutive year, the University of North Georgia (UNG) brought home gold and silver medals in the collegiate division at the 22nd annual Atlanta-Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival at Lake Lanier on Sept. 8.

The UNG Nighthawks boat, comprised of faculty, staff, and students finished in first place despite missing its long-time captain, Christopher Jespersen, dean of the College of Arts & Letters, who was out of the country. In his place, Sean Mullins, faculty member in Computer Science and Information Systems, led the team to victory.

In the first 200-meter heat, the Nighthawks boat cruised to victory with a time of 1:00.205, more than seven seconds faster than its second place opponent. They performed even better in their second 200-meter heat, finishing under a minute with a time of 57.475 to take the gold.

"As much as I regretted missing the race, I had complete confidence in the team and Sean Mullins serving as the captain," Jespersen said. "He brings focus and determination to everything he does. I knew the team was in good hands."

UNG's second entry, Dragon Boat Z, with a crew made up of former honors program members and captained by UNG alum Liz French, took home the silver medal in the collegiate division, with times of 1:08.730 in their first 200-meter race, and 1:06.277 in the second heat.

The team members of both crews include: Claire Allinson, Jon Beall, Richard Byers, Gabe Fankhauser, Liz French, Anastasia Haack, Ben Hefner, Julie Higbee, Katie Hughes, J.J. Liew, Steve Lloyd, David Marling, Jackson Marling, Sean Mullins, Mary Newburn, Brooke Oxley, Valerie Pflug, Jake Roberts, Michael Rifenburg, Steve Smith, Gene Van Sickle, DeEnna Walters.

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