Collegiate ski team: University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM)
Favorite event: The annual Bayou Classic held at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The atmosphere is incredible and the athletes get to experience the mysterious waters of the Bayou DeSiard. Spectators enjoy a bird’s eye view of the action sitting from the bleachers in Heritage Park. Personally, I travel to a lot of ski sites around the United States, but nothing compares to the unique shorelines, course set up, and unpredictability of the bayou. The calm conditions that exist on a man-made site cannot prepare an athlete for the task that confronts them on the bayou. On the bayou, water levels change, fishing boats float by, and the thought of a gator is always on your mind when you drop to shorten the line. This is part of the mystique and tradition of the Warhawks. My vote would be to have the Collegiate Nationals on the bayou.
Describe your ski team experience: Experience of a lifetime! My experience on the ski team is one for the ages. I had the honor to ski with some of the best skiers in the world, win three national team titles, and serve as a Graduate Assistant and Team Captain.
What are you doing now: In-House Attorney.
What stands out when you think about your college skiing career? Memories and lasting friendships. There is no substitute for the quality of friendships and memories I made through collegiate skiing.
Favorite memory: At the 2006 Nationals, Ryan Dodd, our team’s anchor in the Men’s Jump event, put together a winning jump on his final attempt. This jump not only locked up the individual title for Ryan, but secured our spot on the top of the podium for the team title. As the sun disappeared behind the California sky our entire team celebrated by splashing in the chilly October water.
Any advice for current skiers? Stay connected to the water ski community after college. I consider the water ski community to be an extension of my family and have great friendships with athletes around the world.
How can we get more college kids involved in the sport? Teach kids the basics of the sport. I have found once a person gains a proficiency in water skiing that person will find their way back to the water. For example, if we can teach kids not only to get up on a ski, but also to run the course, ride out a jump, and land a trick they will have more reasons to stay in the sport than to leave.
Thanks to Tyler for sharing your collegiate experience! If you would like to be featured in an Alumni Spotlight, please comment on our Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.