Nominees for Female Outstanding Leader of the Year
Amber Aho, Iowa State University
Amber took over as President of a team that was not given many tools for success. She doubled the team size and led the team to nationals despite only having one tournament skier and one show skier prior to joining the team. She spent probably more time then she needed to out at the lake helping teach new skiers the love she has for this sport. She and her team helped organize a majority of the midwest tournaments they were involved in and capping it off at the end of the season by making the wildcard and even winning the HO spirit award.
Madison Hayden, University of Arkansas
When Madison first became president, this team had only been around for a year, and had only attended one tournament. In her first year of presidency, Madison not only made sure the team attended every tournament in the SCR, but she also took the team to their first nationals in over 30 years. While not qualifying for nationals this year, she lead the team to the 4th wild card spot, the furthest any SCR team has made it in a wild card draw in years. Madison’s accomplishments last year earned the team the NCWSA “team of the year.”
Additionally, Madison worked with Scott Greenwood to put on the first ever “Hog Wild” tournament, which went extremely well and raised over $4000 for the team! She also pulled money out of her own account to help fund the tournament when the team didn’t have enough funds to make it happen. Madison is always working hard to make sure this team is a family both on and off the lake, planning bonding events, recruitment tailgates, and cookouts at the lake. She makes sure new members feel comfortable and she’s always there at practice to coach and drive the boat. This team is her baby, and I’m not sure what we’re gonna do with out her next year
Robyn Manhard, Auburn University
Robyn has done an amazing job leading the Auburn Waterski Team this past year. Even though she has been busy completing her final courses in Civil Engineering, making sure everything was going well for the ski team was a top priority. Throughout this past year with Robyn as president, we have sent teammates to All-Stars, increased funding through our university, fundraised more than ever before, hosted two tournaments, hosted our FIRST recruitment weekend, bought a newer boat for our team, AND qualified for Nationals for the fifth year in a row! None of these tasks are easy, but she made it all happen while still putting a smile on everyone’s faces and encouraging everyone along the way! At every tournament, Robyn was the first one to be next to someone on the dock to give them some last minute encouragement. She has moved the Auburn Waterski Team in a positive direction, and even though she is graduating in December, she will be on speed dial for future presidents!
Kari McCollum, San Diego State University
Kari has taken over a very strong team. She had big shoes to fill following the team that hosted the 2016 nationals. She was able to rally her team, and place 6th at D1 nationals after winning and hosting 2017 Western Regionals.
Ali Mollet, Bowling Green State University
This year was the first year I’ve been on BGSU’s Waterski team, I’ve had experience with watersports before but nothing like this. I especially have never experienced anyone so passionate about collegiate waterskiing as Ali Mollet, also to mention she is an amazing skier. Ali is the president of BG’s team and has done so much for everyone, despite the fact she broke her ankle last spring, she still continues to be very involved in everything we’ve done as a team.
During the season, she went to as many practices as she could to coach and gave advice to her teammates even though she wasn’t able to practice herself. She went to every tournament the team went to and helped out tremendously there as well. She was the one who told us we could make it to Regionals if we put our minds to it, and it turns out that we did.
Ali handled everything from team meetings, apparel orders, to fundraisers to earn money for the team, and she has even put a lot of time and effort in talking to the university for funding options to buy a trailer for the team to haul all of our equipment, which she did successfully. Ali is an amazing person and deeply cares about everyone on the team. She’s given me advice on and off the water, advice for skiing and just advice for life in general. She truly wants to see everyone succeed. If anyone deserves this award, Ali Mollet is the top candidate.
Kelsy Schultz, Miami University
Kelsy Schultz is an individual that dedicates herself fully into everything she does. When she assumed the role of President, everyone on the team knew that we were in the hands of someone who was dedicated to making this team the very best it could be. Over the past year, Kelsy has made it a priority to help our team in every way possible. She helped with the planning and coordinating of the purchase of our new 2017 Mastercraft Prostar, organized a lake day to introduce possible new members to the lake as well as collegiate skiing, and communicated with the school to keep them in the know about our activities and events. Kelsy also showed her commitment to skiing when she went to our lake to ski seven days in a row. She ended that week with a black eye from going out the front of her slalom ski, the last day before nationals. Kelsy also shines in her team spirit. She’s always the first one on her feet to cheer on our skiers, and the first one running to pick them up after they fall. Her excellence as as a student, leader, and friend cannot be overstated.
Allison Thomas, University of Kansas
Allison Thomas has frankly kicked ass this year behind the scenes of the KU team. Once the seniors of their team last year left, there was a very large void when it came to the financials and leadership of KU. Though KU had numerous leaders Allison Thomas’ work ethic made her stand out among the rest. Due to her humility and the position, very few people actually knew what she did to make sure her team was able to attend tournaments and travel around the ski circuit. She spent countless hours with KU club advisors to figure what the club needed to do to keep afloat and successful. Allison Thomas is an amazing behind the scenes leader in the collegiate skiing. Hopefully awards such as these will help her skills, ability and love for the team be recognized.
Nominees for Male Outstanding Leader of the Year
Alex Clark, Michigan State University
Alex has been the Michigan State Mens Captain and is always making sure that he is on the dock for every men’s (and usually women’s too) skier on their team, and then running to the shore after sending them off to coach them as well. Alex also spent his summer in AWSA tournaments getting and/or improving his ratings, skiing abilities, and coaching. He took advice from some of the best skiers, officials, and coaches in the Midwest, and brought that all back to his team for the fall! He drove and judged at every collegiate tournament, and also helped his team mates to start on their ratings as well. He has been a leader on his team and also throughout the Midwest collegiate region. Constantly helping and cheering, always positive, and with a smile! Even though he will be graduating in the spring, he is already helping to get the team situated for next fall to host a tournament, and getting them set up!
Jared Lutz, Miami University
Jared Lutz has been a leader of the Miami University Water Ski Team since he arrived on campus his freshman year. Jared’s knowledge of the water ski community as well as his incredible talent helped to get him involved soon after arriving on campus. In the past two years he has led his team to its first and second ever national championships as Men’s Captain. Being at the dock with every skier he ensures they are ready and confident, whether that means giving them a pep talk or giving them space. Outside of his role as Captain, Jared played a vital role in the purchase of the team’s new boat. He was just recently elected to be the team’s new president, a role in which he will thrive. Jared’s presence as a member of the executive team has been extremely helpful. His intimate knowledge of the sport, relationships built in the community, and his intimate knowledge of the NCWSA has been vital to the team’s success. The Miami University Water Ski Team would not be where it is today without Jared.
Jose Luis Tejada, Purdue University
He was a rookie to the collegiate water ski world and took men’s overall at Midwest Regionals. He continues to demonstrate his skiing abilities through consistently placing in all three events. Jose is more than just a skier though, he’s someone to look up to. Jose is one of the most humble people I have ever met, and looking at the kid you’d never know how good of a skier he is. He is nice to all (including competitors), and has made an effort to get to know people. On top of all this, Jose comes from Peru so he is far from home.
Curtis Williams, San Diego State University
Hard work. Countless hours helping beginners get to a competitive level. Curtis, always hosts practice, and took it upon himself to be the primary person in charge of our biggest tournament. At Nationals he worked as Chief Announcer while everyone else was having fun. Through his passion and devotion, he truly shows his love for the sport.
Ty Vaio, Cal Poly
Ty has shown a lot of initiative over the last few years. He is the captain of the cal poly team. He is also the new vice chairman of the western region. Over the last year Ty has been able to lead his team to be one the top schools in the West. They were able to qualify for nationals this fall for the first time in 5 years. Ty also organizes and runs the cal poly tournament for the last two years. The tournament is hosted at Ski West Village and it has been a very well run tournament when he is running it.