The National Collegiate Water Ski Championships begin today and the Cal Poly water ski team is set to pull off another upset.

During its last competition at the western regional on Oct. 5, Cal Poly had its best finish ever when it took second in a field of 12 teams from the western United States.

Freshman Jennifer Waits had the best showing overall for the Mustangs. She took fifth in the women’s jump with a distance of 90 feet and third in women’s overall.

“It’s a little more pressure competing at nationals, but you have to take it like any other competition,” said Waits, who’s been competing for seven years.

Other notable performances in the women’s overall came from two seniors, Erin Gainous (eighth) and Ashley Gunlund (10th).

Two men also placed in the overall category: seniors Colin Gibbs (eighth) and Jeff Willson (10th).

This year marks the third consecutive appearance for the Mustangs at nationals, and their second competing at the Division I level. Cal Poly finished 11th out of 12 teams in last year’s finals.

Junior Greg Olsen, secretary of the Cal Poly water ski club, said he hopes the Mustangs break the top 10 this year. They’re currently ranked 15th by the National Collegiate Water Ski Association.

Arizona State, which finished first at the western regional, will host the national championships through Saturday at Firebird Lake in Chandler, Ariz.

The championships begin with the men’s and women’s slalom competitions. Men’s tricks and women’s jump events will follow Friday, and vice versa will conclude the championships Saturday.

“I can’t expect for us to do as well at nationals as we did at regionals,” Olsen said. “But there is room for improvement.”

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