Cal Poly’s competitive water ski team is having a good season; in fact, it’s the best they have ever had.
Going into the final weekend of competition the team was ranked fifth in its regional conference with hopes of qualifying for the national championships.
“We have a young team, young leadership, and (the team) is just going to go places,” said Eric Hubbs, business administration senior and team member.
This weekend the team traveled to Northern California to compete in the National Collegiate Water Ski Association Western Regional Championships. The tournament gave the team a chance to qualify for a national competition for the first time.
“We have been having many outstanding performances by our skiers, including sending two men to the collegiate All-Stars in the spring,” recreation administration senior Amanda Wilson said.
The team faired well at the event, which took place over the weekend at Shortline Lake in the Sacramento River Valley.
Combined, the men’s and women’s teams finished sixth overall. The men’s team took fourth place in their division and the women’s team grabbed sixth.
In individual competition, Amanda Wilson took eighth in the women’s combined event, Brian Morris was 10th overall in the men’s combined and Matt Bettencourt was 10th in the slalom event.
Cal Poly took fourth place in the men’s slalom.
The team has experienced tremendous growth recently as Wilson said.
“Two years ago I came to Cal Poly as a transfer (student) wanting to compete in collegiate water-ski,” Wilson said. “The team at that time had all of about six members, no funding, no practice, no (access to) boats, and was finishing in just about last place at every tournament. Myself and Eric decided that we wanted to change that.”
Together the two organized fundraising efforts that yielded over $10,000. Since then the collegiate team has partnered with a community-based water-ski group to purchase equipment and gain access to a ski boat.
Neither Cal Poly nor the actual ASI-sponsored ski team own the boat. But in forming the partnership with the outside organization students have gained unlimited access to the vessel.
Wilson said there are now about active 40 members in the club. The team holds practice between three to five days a week at Lake Nacamiento north of Paso Robles, or at Lopez Lake near Arroyo Grande.
Water skiers compete in three events: slalom, trick and jumping. Slalom is where skiers must maneuver around six buoys in the fastest time possible, while the boat maintains a steady pace (thus evening the competition between all skiers).
Trick water skiing involves events where skiers and wakeboarders are judged on the complexity of their performance on the water. And jumping is just what it sounds like…distance is what a win is all about.
Membership is open to all Cal Poly students, regardless of water skiing experience. There are no tryouts to ski competitively, but intercollegiate competition rules limit each team to no more than five skiers for each event (15 men and 15 women).
Hubbs said the team simply tries to find the best skiers in each event to represent Cal Poly in all of the competitions. Interested students can attend the weekly meetings on Mondays at 8 p.m. in Fisher Science, room 457 or visit the Web site at: www.calpolywaterski.com.