Water ski club brings new flavor to GVSU

Water ski club brings new flavor to GVSU

Brady Fredericksen

When it comes to unique clubs across Grand Valley State University’s campus that students are not aware of, the club water ski team ranks near the top of that list.

The student-run team, which has been on the club sports menu for seven years, has been putting together a successful season on the water this season. After nearly making it to the national tournament last year, the team began this season strong, taking a second-place finish in a tournament at the University of Michigan-Flint and winning the MSU Collegiate Rip Fest the weekend of Sept. 17.

“We just encourage each other, that’s what we do mainly,” said sophomore skier Jenna Gibbs. “We’re the kind of team that’s not all that competitive. We like to do good, but this is the first year we’ve ever been mentioned by USA Water Ski, so this is the first year we have a shot at nationals — we’re excited.”

Throughout the season, the coed team of 20 riders practices its craft four times a week at Placid Waters, a small group of lakes in West Olive, Mich.

The team competes in three events: slalom, jump and trick ski/wake boarding. The club requires no prior experience, so anyone with an interest in learning one of the three events is free to come to practice.

“I was looking for a way to meet people and coming from the University of Missouri, I wanted to find something I liked to do,” said sophomore skier Karlee Davis, who has been on the team for two years. “I liked water skiing, and I went to one practice and I’ve been a part of it ever since.”

While the team is still in its infantile stages, the efforts to expand and make the club more well-known across campus have been seen in their recruiting efforts.

“We had a booth at campus life night, and we just talk to friends,” said sophomore skier Mary Anolick. “We pretty much spread info about the club through word of mouth.”

The team participates in tournaments during each of the first four weekends of the school year, starting with two regular-season tournaments. Then, the team progresses to the Great Lakes Conference tournament, and finally to the Midwest regional tournament – where they compete for the chance to go to Nationals.

All of the team’s events are overseen by USA Water Ski, the sport’s governing body.

This past weekend the team competed at the Great Lakes Conference Championships in Van Wert, Ohio. The tournament put the team up against teams from Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Purdue University and the Ohio State University.

“It’s really good competition and it pushes us harder – it make us want to do better,” Anolick said. “They’ve been around longer than us and they’re more competitive, but that’s what pushes us.”

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