POLK CITY, Fla.–The University of
Louisiana-Monroe knocked off defending champion Arizona State to
win the Division 1-A national title Saturday at the 2002 Collegiate
Water Ski National Championships at The Aquaplex in Austin, Texas.
ULM finished with 7,150 points, while ASU tallied 7,055 to finish
second. Louisiana-Lafayette rounded out the top three with 6,640
points. It is the 17th national title for ULM in the
24-year history of the Collegiate Nationals.
“The National Collegiate Water Ski Association
completely revamped its Nationals program for 2002,” says Steve
McDermeit, USA Water Ski's executive director. “The new format,
which incorporates more skiers and helps to level the playing field
among competing teams, was a great success. I commend the NCWSA and
all participating teams on a great national tournament, and I
congratulate ULM for reasserting its dominance of collegiate water
Hosted by the Southwest Texas State University
water ski team, the competition included 20 teams – five teams from
each of the NCWSA's four regions – from across the United States.
For the first time ever, the competition featured two divisions
(1-A and 1) to help level the playing field between scholarship and
non-scholarship teams. Division 1-A consisted of the top-two
qualifiers from each region. Teams earning third through fifth
place at their respective regional championships competed in
Division 1. National team champions were declared in both
divisions. Individual medals for slalom, tricks and jumping were
awarded according to athletes' placement within the entire field.
Overall titles were up for grabs in each division to athletes
competing in all three events.
Louisiana-Monroe's Regina Jaquess
(Suwannee, Ga.) leaped 147 feet to a new national collegiate
record and the Women's jumping title. Jaquess, a freshman at ULM,
also ran 4 buoys at 35 feet off in slalom, tallying 940.0 overall
points for the Women's overall title.
Rollins College's Michelle Simpson
(Bridgeport, Texas) ran 2-1/2 at 38 off to win the Women's
slalom title, while Rollins' Tarah Benzel
(Groveland, Fla.) tallied 3,480 points to win
On the Men's side, Arizona State's Jimmy
Siemers (Round Rock, Texas) won national titles in tricks
(6,170 points), jumping (179 feet) and overall (1,075.0 points).
Louisiana-Lafayette's Will Asher (Sleaford, England) won the
national slalom title, scoring 2-1/2 at 39-1/2 off.
In the Division 1 competition, Rollins took the
top team honors with 4,660.0 points. Texas (4,185.0 points) and
Auburn (3,420.0 points) rounded out the top three.
Benzel won the Division 1 Women's national
overall title with 1,370.0 points, while Auburn's Joel Bohlin
(Elgin, Ill.) won the Men's national overall title with 1,600.0
The NCWSA, a sport division of USA Water Ski, is
comprised of more than 90 collegiate water ski teams from four
regions. Intercollegiate water ski competition began under the
NCWSA in 1979. The NCWSA's major tournaments include the Nationals
and the Collegiate All-Stars Water Ski Championships.
USA Water Ski was formed in 1939 as a non-profit
organization promoting water skiing in the United States. USA Water
Ski is affiliated with the IWSF (world governing body) and is
recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and Pan-American
Sports Organization as the national governing body of organized
water skiing in the United States. With more than 40,000 members,
USA Water Ski is the largest water ski federation in the