Home Forums 2019 SkiAmmy’s Team of the Year

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    What team had the biggest improvement, the largest growth, or posted massive scores? Nominate a team below, and let us know why you think they deserve the award!

    AvatarAllie Steele

    (Written by Mallin and a bit by Joey for NCWSA Awards… I just couldn’t have said it better!)

    2019 was a huge year for the Bearcats. I’ve been around for 4 years now, and seeing the incredible individual and team growth that UC put together this season was unbelievable. Our 2018 season ended abruptly and disappointingly, but it truly set a fire under our feet to come back better and stronger the next year. We accomplished quite a bit in such a quick turn-around.

    The annual alumni banquet in February successfully raised thousands of dollars from our generously donated auction items. The team returned to Lucky Lowe’s Ski School for spring break training for the first time in years. Multiple skiers competed in and helped officiate the Spring Fest tournament at Swerve. In April, the team walked the Nippert Stadium track for hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society in UC’s Relay for Life. We volunteered at the Flying Pig Marathon with the relay teams.

    Two skiers, Austin Bolger and Clare Knecht, represented UC and Team Midwest at All-Stars, where Clare set a new school jump record at 71 feet! We transitioned to a new full-time home lake this year, Skier’s Runway in Harrison, Ohio and practiced all summer. We hosted a youth adaptive ski clinic in conjunction with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and On The Edge foundation for the first time and plan to make it a tradition. Many Bearcats also traveled up to Columbus to help run the Ampuski event hosted at White Sulfur in Ostrander, Ohio. In August, we held our annual alumni tournament and introduced another auction with items donated thanks to the crafty, artsy Allie Steele. We also had members participate in AWSA sanctioned three event tournaments all throughout the summer.

    Once the collegiate season kicked off, UC skiers were at the forefront of supporting tournaments. At our first tournament, the Southern Ohio Challenge, UC and its alumni were the main sources of judges, scorers, safeties, drivers and dock starters throughout the weekend. As the season continued, UC kept on supporting tournaments as officials, announcers, and boat cleanup at the end of each weekend. Cruises Creek in Walton, Kentucky hosted regular fall practices as well, thanks to the alumni Rouse Family.

    Once tournament season rolled around, we boosted some impressive scores and had skiers in the top ten every tournament. Allie became the second ever female Bearcat to join the shortline club, just 2 buoys away from breaking the school record. Curtis Kolb joined shortline as well, making him the first new male addition in years. The team nailed 5th place at Great Lakes Conference Where Curtis tied for 2nd in slalom. Braving tornado winds in Decatur, the team managed 7th place at Midwest Regionals. Mallin Blaxall took 3rd in jump, 3rd in slalom, and 2nd in Women’s overall and Curtis took 3rd in slalom at regionals. Sneaking into the last wildcard spot sent us on our way to Nationals.

    This was our 11th Nationals in 12 years, following a straight decade from 2008-2017. 11 Bearcats took off for Rio Linda, bringing our small but mighty team that carried us all year to Nationals and took home 8th in DII, ahead of our seed. Curtis placed 3rd in slalom, missing 1st by only a single buoy. Every single jumper PB-ed or matched their PB, including a monster 74’ jump on a wakeboard for Brayden Patton. In early November, we officially wrapped up our season when we helped pull the jump out and tie up loose ends at the lake for the winter. Now we are transitioning into focusing on academics and resting up for next season. GO CATS

    AvatarJessica Nieters

    Indiana University

    IU has been consistently growing with each season. This year was the second year that they made it to the Regional tournament. We admire their determination and desire to improve and grow as a team. To have that much growth and success in such a short amount of time is a huge testament to their skiers in and out of season. Who ever said there was an IU-Purdue rivalry was lying, off the water that is…..

    AvatarAnnie Morris

    Miami University

    After graduating a few key team members and not knowing who was coming in as new skiers, we did not have too much hope of making nationals. This was quickly changed when existing members stepped up and made huge improvements and we got new members who were willing to try new events and were eager to get to the lake to practice whenever possible. After the first tournament we were shocked at how well we did but as the season went on our confidence in our teammates increased and we knew that we had a shot at making and doing well at nationals. Every single skier stepped up to the plate at nationals, over half of our skiers PBed in at least one of their events and we were able to take home the division 2 national title. Aside from how well the team skied, this team was special because of how committed everyone was, the spirit and support that was present, and how willing each person was to step up when needed.

    AvatarMaggie Page

    Michigan Waterski!

    When we reconvened at the beginning of 2019 summer, there were 3 main goals in mind: land more jumps, improve our trick scores across the board, and lastly (we thought most loftily), qualify for nationals outright, without having to go to the wildcard tournament.

    Landing jumps is hard when you don’t have access to a ramp for practice, but by trekking out of Ann Arbor to places like Tivoli, West Shore, and even Swerve, we were able to improve as a team. Obviously, none of this is possible without convincing a few brave souls – both newbies and veterans – to take a leap of faith first. All the hard work came together at Conferences when we landed 4 different girls jumps, which really gave us an idea that maybe this goal could really come true.

    In trick, we made sure everyone understood how important it was to practice every day, and this mindset translated to the scorebooks. 6 of our upperclassmen doubled their trick scores from the previous competition season, going from 100-200 point scores to a range of 300-600. Our vastly improved jump and trick teams helped us finish 3rd at Great Lakes Conferences, our highest finish in the past 4 years.

    The next weekend at Regionals, we continued to improve steadily across the board, and thanks to a lot of jump PBs (5 in one weekend) and messy PITS slalom sets, we finished in 6th place, our highest Regionals performance of the decade, sending us straight to nationals. Moving up a couple places from the wildcard to the outright qualifiers may not seem like a huge jump, but we got confirmation when all the alumni we knew reached out and told us just how unprecedented it was for this decade of Michigan water ski.

    At Nationals, when we had nothing left to lose and far from our full A team, we still showed up and skied very well. As a team, we had 4 had PBs in slalom, 3 PBs in trick and 4 PBs in jump. Through hard work and dedication from both long-time members as well as freshmen, we were able to compete in U-M’s best season in recent history. For that reason, and because of the great depth and team effort that contributed to our success, I think Michigan is very deserving of the Team of the Year.

    Huge improvements in jump and trick
    3rd at Great Lakes Conferences
    6th at Regionals, Qualified outright for Nationals (!!!)
    Nationals PBs: 4 slalom, 3 trick, 4 jump
    We had a lot of fun 🙂

    AvatarDanielle Eriksson

    UW – La Crosse

    La Crosse has expanded its team greatly these past two years. While we have performed exceptional in tournaments the past several years, we went from having only 9 members attend Nationals in 2017 to 20 this year. In order to get new members to fully commit, we established a close knit, enriching community where members have the opportunity to be competitive, hardworking, and thus successful while also social. In addition to pushing each other to excel as 3 event skiers during the season, we support each other academically. Members aren’t forced to participate in team bonding or studying but they often times do because of the welcoming atmosphere that existing members have laid the foundation of.
    With an extremely athletic team, members are forced to compete with each other in order to ski on A team. While members were moved around the roster all season, only one of our female skiers ended up skiing A all three events at Nationals. This allowed more skiers the opportunity to attend Nationals, skiing in at least one event.
    We use our interactive social media in order to show appreciation for our sponsors and hosts as well as to showcase every one of our members and acknowledge their role in our special community.
    Unsurprisingly, members are eager to help the team with volunteer work and fundraisers. We have almost doubled our volunteer hours this past season, with nearly every member attending at least one event.
    All in all, the team loyalty on UWL ski team has produced dedicated members, healthy competition, and successful skiing!

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