Dedication: some have it. Others don‘t.
From scrounging for money to buy a team boat, to traveling 30 minutes every day for practice, to raising the funds to pay their way to Louisiana and Illinois in back-to-back years, the members of the UC Davis club water ski team know a thing or two about dedication.
But still, as determined as the group is, senior club president Jill Tsudama insists “the team is just a bunch of people who love to have fun, hang out and live the good life.“
The good life took to the road last weekend. After a flight into Saint Louis, Mo. and a three-hour car ride, the team finally arrived at the biggest tournament of the year. Four Aggies traveled to Illinois to compete with the country‘s elite water skiers at the National Collegiate Water Ski Association individual nationals for slalom, jump and trick events.
Entry into the contest is attained only through past performances in tournaments during the season.
Only the top-10 ranked skiers in each event are sent to the individual nationals. Although eight qualified, the Aggies sent four this year and placed against the nation‘s elite.
“The thing is we are competing against the country‘s best here in collegiate waterskiing,“ Tsudama said. “The fact that we have individuals that place in these tournaments is impressive.“
Junior Lashley Simmons took home the highest honors with a 16th-place finish in jump with a career best 58-foot performance. Another junior, club treasurer Evan Jaques, placed 17th in the 28‘ slalom event. The other two competing, Tsudama and “Big-D“ Darren Hall, did not place.
Earlier this season, the coed club team traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the NCWSA team national championships. On the program‘s 40th birthday in early October, they came home from the dirty south with an impressive second place in their division.
The trip to bayou marked the first time the program had been invited to nationals since 2001 and its best finish in 20 years.
SAMMY BRASCH can be reached at email@example.com. XXX