Nominees for Team of the Year
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
This team had a great year, earning itself a trip back to nationals for the first time in around six years. A huge chunk of its members had never skied before coming to Cal Poly, and now they are hooked on the sport.
The team’s great improvement from 2016 to 2017 was largely because of some new freshmen talent. We would attribute this to a great group of people with a lot of drive to get better, and push each other to get better. Our overall team GPA is one of the highest out of all club sports at Cal Poly. We ended up the best team from the West at D2 Nationals which took some great skiing for only having one lady ski. Overall, huge improvements have been made, and with only one graduating senior on our A team we plan on being better next year.
Iowa State University
Iowa State really stepped up their game this year, working hard both on and off the water, and growing by 30 members!
It didn’t matter what tournament we were at you would find us on the dock, in a tower, or in the boat. We co-hosted Hawkeye Skifest, assisted at Stouts Northwoods Classic, hosted the Great Plains Conference Championships (over 243 skiers!), and volunteered at the Midwest Regionals. Plus, we had over ten members volunteer at Dream Lake’s first ever disabled clinic. ISU has also shown a lot of growth on the water. We brought over 30 skiers to the conference championships, had three guys run the course for the first time ever, and our girls jump team was ranked among the top five in the nation. We were thrilled to qualify for Nationals by getting second in the wild card, and eventually placing sixth in Division 2.
Although we are very proud of these accomplishments, we are most excited for our team spirit! Iowa State had a blast this year painting up, running, dancing, cheering, and over all being way too loud in spirit of our skiers. We were floored to place second in our region’s spirit award, but nothing compares to the excitement of winning the HO Spirit Award at Nationals! This award was highly contested, and to win it was the cherry on top of a perfect season.
This year, the Miami University Club Water Ski Team defended its first ever title, becoming Division II National Champions for two years in a row. The on the water success was driven by a well-rounded team with a passion for excellence, mutual support, and fun. This year, Miami also received their fully self-funded 2017 MasterCraft ProStar, being the first ever team to self-fund a brand new boat. Over 100 hours of practice were logged on the new vessel in just three short months of ownership. Miami not only won the championship at nationals this year, they also received third prize for the HO Spirit Award at nationals, and won the Spirit Award at Conference and Regionals as well. At every tournament Miami got behind each of their skiers with countless cheers, dance parties, and support. The team regularly ran the length of the lake to pick up and tunnel their skier out of the water because they truly care about one another on and off the water.
This year, the team is engaged in a plan to buy a new ProStar every three years, so the demands on fundraising are at an all time high. The team spent a lot of time raising money to continue their strong tradition of excellence. From banquets to candle sales to selling burgers, Miami Water Ski faced the fundraising challenge with enthusiasm. The team was able to raise over $8,000 this year alone, ensuring that the plan to continue to get new boats for the team is very achievable.
When not skiing at tournaments or practicing at the lake, the members of the team still spend lots of time together, as well as studying to make up for the many hours at the lake. The members of the team have a wide variety of majors from engineering to English to business and even some pre-med students. Miami University Water Ski is more than a group of people who like to ski. Their dedication to their studies, their other organizations, and to each other is what sets them apart. The team is primed for not just another great season, but several more. The future seems to be full of bright possibilities, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store.
Texas A&M University
This team has kicked butt this year! They not only qualified for D1 nationals this year but they placed 7th (and 2nd in terms of non-scholarship giving schools). they also brought amazing spirit, earning 2nd in the HO spirit contest (should have got first but thats a personal opinion). They are a talented team who is just as close and hard working on the water as off. they are constantly working on making their team better weather its through recruitment, fundraising, or just hanging out with each other, no team deserves this award more than them.
San Diego State University
Off the water team members continue to work tirelessly to improve the NCWSA and water skiing in the West and in San Diego. In the Spring term the team worked tirelessly to prepare a jump ramp for launch in Mission Bay, allowing the entire San Diego water ski community access to a 3-event training. At the two 2017 NCWSA events, All-Stars & Nationals, team member Curtis Williams volunteered his time as the primary announcer. Additionally at Nationals, team members volunteered for repeated camera duties to help maintain the high quality of the NCWSA webcast.
On the water San Diego State University has skied well throughout 2017. The team sent 5 skiers to 2017 NCWSA All-Stars. As the Western Region’s most elite team, the team often demolishes the field at collegiate tournaments. The team hosted the 2017 Western Regionals that had the largest skier turn out in years (if not ever), and it was very well organized with several SDSU skiers always around judging, organizing, and helping out. Despite several prominent members working hard all weekend, the team still won by just shy of 1500 points. The team placed 6th at the Connelly Skis 2017 NCWSA Nationals, and it now trumpets itself as the best non-scholarship water ski team in the nation. With Nationals over and wanting to ski with the West one more time, the team helped organize and run a development weekend at the beginning of November that was open to all Western region teams.
University of Arkansas
Reviving the club, Producing new USAWS memberships, Holding Hog Wild Tournament, and Spreading the sport of waterskiing through the community.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
With Joey McNamara working his magic with recruits for the team, but sadly after being faced with quite a few injuries, the team members were pushed to their limits performance wise. All the athletes competed to the best of their abilities achieving the majority of the top 5 spots at D1 Nationals, and even NCWSA records! This isn’t an easy task by any means, especially with the high standards put out by the other teams, and literally leaving it to the best team of the day!
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Although the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s water ski club team is still young and growing, what its accomplished in the past five years is truly incredible. A main goal of USA Water Ski and the NCWSA is to promote the growth and development of water skiing, and UNL has taken this and run with it. Most of the skiers at UNL come to the team having spent minimal time on the water, and many have never skied before, much less tricked or jumped. The team recognizes it’s not about how great someone is at skiing, but rather introducing them to the life on the water. This past year, UNL hosted a basic skills clinic at Championship Lake Estates to teach interested students about water skiing and let them give it a try! This skills clinic alone introduced 20 new skiers to the sport and 11 new skiers to the team.
Not only did the team grow the sport in Nebraska, but they also did an incredible amount of fundraising to put towards purchasing a new team boat in (hopefully) the next year! The team takes time out of their weeknights in the winter and works concessions for Husker Basketball games. In all, the team raised about $6,000 just last winter alone. While Nebraska had great success in drawing people to the sport this past year, their involvement didn’t stop there! Individuals on the team strive to learn as much as possible about the sport, and they do so by getting involved in every possible way they can both at and outside of tournaments. It is not uncommon to see a Nebraska skier in the boat, on the dock, or sitting with a judge. Last year, Nebraska won Team Midwest Officials Incentive program where they had the most new officials, and this past season they added even more. Not only this, but numerous skiers on the team took time to complete a safety course so they can help. This extra step to ensure safety even came to use when a jumper took a bad fall on the team’s annual trip to Bennett’s Ski School.
Last but not least, while the Nebraska Water Ski Team has fallen in love with the sport of skiing, and does as much as they can to introduce others to the sport and learn as much as they can, the team understands not everyone gets to enjoy a life on the water like they do. For the past few years, Nebraska has helped Championship Lake Estates and CHI Health host an adaptive water ski tournament. Most of the 20+ person team shows up to help–whether it be side skiing, pulling rope, or helping get skiers ready to ski. While it is a tiring day for the skiers, everyone on the team can agree it’s their favorite event of the year just being able to see the smiles and hear the laughter of people experiencing water skiing.
Overall, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Water Ski Team exemplifies what it means to be a well-rounded team. The team has introduced well over 50 students to the sport in just its five years as a team. Not only this, but the members are continuously looking for ways to grow as individuals and skiers, which is apparent in their willingness to help officiate and safety. Lastly, Nebraski has taken the mantra of sharing their “Life on the Water” with individuals who aren’t as fortunate to spend their afternoons after a hard day of class skiing on the lake. By taking initiative to grow as a team and as individuals, both on and off the water, the Nebraska Water Ski has continuously improved each season. The team usually practices at state recreation lakes about 30 minutes from campus and constantly fights closures due to toxic blue green algae and E coli. However, in just it’s 5th year as a competing team, Nebraska qualified for Midwest Collegiate Regionals for its 4th year—and had its best finish yet this last year—truly showing they don’t let anything stop them from improving and enjoying the life of collegiate water ski!