Chico Fall Opener 2017 - California State University, Chico Water Ski Team

West Coast Blown Away by Return of Tournament Season!

Recap written by Tabbie Magner
San Diego State University, NCWSA Marketing Committee Western Region Representative

Chico Fall Opener 2017
Chico State team member Drake Landy gearing up to take on the wind

This last weekend at the Chico Fall Opener, competitors from all around the West Coast were finally reunited after a long drought from collegiate tournaments. The tournament was held at Jovia’s Pond in Dixon, California and aside from the usual first tournament jitters, competitors had to face the challenge of overcoming the one thing water skiers hate the most–wind. Early Saturday morning, the otherwise beautiful site was ridden with gusting wind that seemed to create not just rollers in the slalom course, but white capping waves. However, the hardworking Chico team did not let a little weather dampen their spirits and they kept the show going.

Chico Fall Opener 2017
Newt Cutcliffe throws up a fist after successfully running a pass “slippery slalom” style.

Both men and women’s slalom flew by as the common joke “No Openers Allowed” became all too real. Only 9 men and 2 women A-team skiers walked away with a pass under their belt. The tie for third place on the girls side was won by Kari McCollum and Natalie Gaharan with a score of just 5 buoys! After seeing the chaotic water mid course, our B skiers began to get creative. There was a few slalom rides ridden on jumpers, and even one set was taken on a trick ski. When asked about the weather, Chico State Team Member Cam Leslie stated that “we tried turning the wind off, but we couldn’t find the switch!” Luckily, Cam must have eventually found the switch, because once the slalom skiing ended, the sun was shining and the wind was nowhere to be found.

Chico President Sydney Maybee was doing a wonderful job leading her team to success. This is Maybee’s first year being president and she compared running her first tournament to “running around like a chicken with [her] head cut off, but seeing everyone happily enjoying a good tournament makes it all worth it.” The Wildcats got quite punny with their tournament theme this year and had everyone running about in tutus in the spirit of “Toddlers and SKIaras”.

Chico Fall Opener 2017 - California State University, Sacramento Water Ski Team
New team – Sacramento State (Instagram)

Not only did this tournament get love from its usual West Coast teams, we saw the first official appearance of two new regional ski teams: California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State) and University of Nevada, Reno! Both schools came ready to take on the West Coast craziness, and Ciera Dulgar from Sacramento State took first while Briana Dulgar from Reno took second in slalom, and were the only two women to run a pass in the crazy wind!

Chico Fall Opener 2017
Jackson Driggs before his jump set, holding up a “Hook ‘Em” in honor of his alma mater the University of Texas

As if new teams weren’t enough to get excited about, there was even an alumni appearance all the way from the South Central Region! Skiers Nathan Abel, Texas A&M alumnus, and Jackson Driggs, University of Texas alumnus, came down to show their support. Driggs noted that while we are a very far ways away from the “Dirty South” it is the “same fun and inviting atmosphere that makes collegiate water skiing so enjoyable,” and that college skiing “functions as a great intermediate between recreational and elite tournament water skiing.”

After all jumping came to an end on Sunday, the team standings ended up with San Diego State taking first, followed by Cal Poly and Arizona State in second and third. And luckily enough for our West Coast family, the post tournament depression won’t have to last too long because the Western Collegiate Regional tournament is coming up in just a week and a half!

Here are the final team standings, as always, you can view the full scorebook on USA Water Ski’s website.

  1. San Diego State University
  2. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  3. Arizona State University
  4. California State University, Chico
  5. University of California, Los Angeles
  6. University of California, Davis
  7. California State University, Sacramento
  8. University of Nevada, Reno
  9. Western Washington University