Road To (AWSA) Nattys

Collegiate Skiers are making their way across the country for AWSA Nationals.

Sara Condra, MSU. Michigan State 3-Event Tournament

The tournament was a great success, we were especially thankful that we were blessed with beautiful weather and that the rain held off (especially after all the storms last year). The state tournament was mainly held at Jepawhit, just down the road from Tivoli. Anyone taking additional slalom sets headed to Tivoli but other than that all trick and jump sets were held at Jepawhit! There was warm sunshine, fun yard games, yummy lunch, good tunes, and great skiing.. Not much more you could ask for!

Collegiate skiers were certainly the minority on “slalom day”, as there is a plethora of incredibly talented AWSA members in Michigan. But returning on Sunday, for trick and jump, there was about a 50/50 slip in the number of collegiate and AWSA members. This was a pretty good turnout in comparison to other years, which is always great to see!

I met one individual who I was lucky enough to talk to for a bit. His dad had skied for Michigan State in the 80’s and we’re hoping he chooses to do the same!

I am always thankful whenever I get the chance to talk with other AWSA skiers, and at a tournament such as states, there is plenty of time between your sets to talk and form those valuable relationships with other skiers. I think it is so important to continue to “bridge the gap” between generations of skiers for the growth of the sport in general.

There are many reasons we love participating in the state tournament. Not only do we get 3-event sets in, which are sometimes hard to find in Michigan, we also get to rendezvous with all our ski friends from around the state. It is important to participate as well in helping with the operations of the tournament. Whether it is being a boat judge, serving lunches, or simply helping pick up at the end of the day – every extra hand helps. In regard to connections, participation in summer tournaments is essential for collegiate skiers to help the growth of the sport and discover more ways to be involved.

My favorite part of this event is being able to watch all the skiers. I know personally, I have met a lot of new friends throughout my previous summer tournaments and it’s always amazing seeing how much everyone has improved since I’ve last seen them, as well as being able to watch and cheer on the people you train with side by side. I love that whether you are 8 years old (shout-out to Will Meinhardt for a great first states comp!) or 80 years old (s/o to Jerry Hosner for showing up to support!), everyone is just there to spend their weekend with amazing people and sharing their love of water skiing. I’d say a big highlight was definitely swimming and getting a “mud massage” with a group of giggly 3 year olds and listening to them cheer on mom and dad.. To me that’s what these tournaments are all about.

This is my 3rd of the summer! I honestly can’t say whether I like summer tournaments or fall ones better – as long as I’m by the lake, I’m having the time of my life. I’d love to mention a few aspects of the summer tournaments I do love though: I love the variety – you are able to scan the tournament list and have the option of a tournament 15 minutes away or make a haul to a different state 5 hours away. I love the community aspect of summer tournaments and being able to spend time with individuals of all ages and skill levels. I love seeing all the families spend their weekend together while competing. I love that no matter whether you are at an AWSA tournament or NCWSA tournament, there is always someone on the side of the lake cheering you on. I love being a boat judge and meeting new AWSA members. But I guess if I’m being honest, what I love most about summer tournaments in comparison to collegiate fall, is that I don’t have to hold my breath the whole set to keep my body temperature above freezing.

MSU represented very well at states, with our talented alumni Lauren Smith taking first, myself second, and Jessica Carr third for overall. As for men, our alumni, Jack Lake took 3rd overall behind 2 other Team Midwest alumni Jack Phillipson (placed 1st), and Max Schwein (placed 2nd). There were lots of PBs by many competitors though which is even more important!! (we also won Red Rover which shouldn’t be ignored)

It is kind of weird, but honestly, I never really think of it as a competition. Everyone wants to see everyone succeed. I love it because the more we push each other competitively, the more everyone improves, which is always good for MSU’s team as a whole!

Go Green!

Cami Clark, Purdue. Indiana States, Midwest Regionals, Nationals.

The weekend before at Indiana States, I skied a personal best of 3 at 22off so I was hoping to ski a little better than I did, but I was still pretty happy with the results. I skied 1/2 at 34mph and placed 13th, about what I was seeded. I was a part of the Indiana team with a few other Purdue alumni. We had amazing conditions in MN all weekend and I was luck enough to have Nate Smith as my boat judge.  

It had been over 10 years since I had competed in Regionals.  My last tournament that I was in before joining the Purdue team was in 2010 when I was 14. I’ve competed in Indiana States for the last 2 years and actually competed in Georgia State and 1 other tournament this summer. When I was younger my family competed in tournaments almost every weekend of the summer, however I had never qualified for nationals as a Girls 1 or 2 skier     

My dad has always competed in States, Regionals, and Nationals, so all of our family vacations were planned around ski tournaments even if I wasn’t competing. Indiana’s state was down in Evansville this year. at one of our alumni’s lake. Purdue was actually able to run concession stands for them and do some fundraising. We had quite a few Purdue skiers down there which was really exciting. Leading up to state, I had been doing really well in practice and my dad had figured out to qualify for nationals all I need was 2 at 22 off to get my average up enough. As soon as I made it to shore I told my dad we needed to get me a plane ticket for Texas.

I’ve never been to to Texas and I’ve heard the site is amazing! I’m just excited to get a chance to ski at nationals. Many people never qualify or have the opportunity to go so I’m very privileged to get to.

I’m one of the lucky ones who lives on a private ski lake so I can just go home after work and ski with my family and neighbors. When I was younger I skied a lot, but through middle school and high school I gave up skiing to focus on other sports. It wasn’t until this last summer that I started taking skiing more seriously. I have improved my skiing by 2 passes, just by practicing more and a little coaching from my dad. I am very fortunate that my dad is a very competitive water skier and is able to help and encourage me in this sport.

Being away for college for 2 years now has definitely made me appreciate my family time much more. For practice my dad, mom, brother and I would be out on the boat all night.  My brother had just graduated from Rose Hulman so it was the first time for all of us to be together for a summer in 4 years.  Our family vacations have always been planned around ski trips, so when we knew we had to move him to Augusta, Georgia in July, my dad registered us for the Georgia State tournament. We started driving Thursday morning, stopped in Nashville to enjoy the night, drove to his new house, moved him in on Friday, and skied Saturday morning in the tourney. It was a busy weekend but definitely one for the books.   

The level of competition is much higher at Regionals but there is definitely not as many skiers (or at least college aged skiers) . For the whole Midwest there was only 16 W1 slalom skiers which is kind of sad. Many tournaments I have gone to have only has maybe 2 or 3 people tops for each age division. I also really enjoy at summer tournaments when there i multiple rounds, it’s nice to be able to go back out and try again if you didn’t ski your best the first time.  

I knew only AWSA skiers until I got to college, so the NCWSA experience was a little different to me. Most of the AWSA skiers I know are 40-50 year old men just because that’s my dad’s age division. After joining NCWSA I definitely recognize a lot more skiers my age who also compete in summer tournaments. I always remember going to Regionals when I was younger and not knowing a single girl I would skiing against. The biggest thing that I hear from AWSA skiers is just how tournaments aren’t as big as they once were. Indiana State used to take a whole day, dawn to dusk, just for slalom and trick, then jump would always have to be on Sunday. Now they can fit all the events in one day with time to spare.  

It seems to me that the biggest problems are that either people just don’t know about the tournaments or they say they aren’t good enough to go to them. I think it’s very important to let NCWSA skiers know that there is a grassroots division where you get 4 passes, no matter what! No more falling through the gates and being done for the day. As well, they usually offer a college discount.  

The 75th GOODE Water Ski National Championships will be held Aug. 9-12 at the San Marcos River Ranch in Martindale, Texas. I ski Friday on Lake Three after Mens 2 and will most likely end up being first of the dock for W1. I know they have live scoring and should have a video feed! Boiler up!

If you’re skiing at Nationals, give us a shout out! Share pictures and your story to We will have a booth at the event, so be sure to say hi, and we will be doing a recap after!



Molly Voska

Former Marketing Director of Western Michigan Waterski, MCWSA Membership and NCWSA Marketing. #TeamMidwest