2017 Nationals Champions
The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees (Sarasota, FL) won the national team title at the 43rd Indmar Marine Engines Division 1 Show Ski National Championships. The title was presented by Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing, Aug. 11-13, on the Rock River at Shorewood Park in Loves Park, IL. Sarasota, making its first appearance at the Show Ski Nationals since 1998, earned high-scoring awards for showmanship, sound crew total, overall show, ballet, swivel, star doubles, and jump on its way to tallying a grand total 2,032.56 points and winning its first national title in the history of the event with their Star Wars themed show.
Teams from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota combined to win the previous 42 national team titles.
The defending champion, Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team (Wonder Lake, IL), earned top awards for pick-up boat crews, barefoot, pyramid, and high individual club act, finishing second with 1,850.4 points. The Rock Aqua Jays (Janesville, WI), earned high scores for dock and equipment personnel finished in third place (1,798.28 points), while the Mad-City Ski Team (Madison, WI), which had the high score for towboat driving, placed fourth (1,794.92 points).
The tournament featured 14 teams and more than 1,500 athletes competing for the coveted show ski national title. In competitive show skiing, each club has one hour to present a theatrical performance on water skis. Judges score acts by awarding points based on originality, presentation, and execution. Elaborate costumes and staging intermix with music and fast action on the water as an announcer leads the audience through the show.
The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees’ Darian LeBlanc won the Willa Cook award. The award is given to the tournament’s top female performer, as voted on by the tournament officials.
In addition to the overall team competition, athletes competed individually in adagio doubles, team jumping, freestyle jumping, and swivel. Clint Gordon and Trina Sawaska placed second in doubles, scoring 14.58 points; Nick Vickers and Kirsten Hannabass placed 3rd scoring 14.28 points; Jesse Lewis and Ella Brauch placed 8th scoring 11.32 points.
The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees won team jumping, scoring 82.84 points. Garrett Bouley won freestyle jumping, scoring 887.50 points with teammates Caleb Ross and Nick Lyman placing 3rd and 5th respectively.
In individual swivel competition, Loren Scherschel placed 4th, Linzy Reinders placed 5th, Darian Le Blanc placed 8th, Jac Lyman placed 10th, and Diane Engberg placed 14th.
Hard Work and Dedication Pays Off
The Ski-A-Rees travelled over 1300 miles to compete in Rockford, IL. About half of the team drove and the other half flew. They towed 4 boats, 1 dock, 1 jump and rented a 26’ moving truck to transport costumes, props, and all of the equipment needed for the ski show.
“We’ve worked so hard the last 2 years on this show, our team, and our home site. Winning Nationals just makes all of the hard work worth it,” said Brad Satterlee, President of the Ski-A-Rees.
“I want to thank the community of Sarasota for their continued support in helping us to achieve this National Championship. We are honored to represent the Southern Region,” said Show Director Sherri Brunner.
“The determination and hard work that we have put into this has paid off and the never-ending support of our friends, family, and community has been a backbone of our success. I am so proud of my award, but even more proud of my team.” said Darian Le Blanc, Willa Cook Award Winner.
The Sarasota Ski-a-Rees begins its fall schedule on Sunday, September 17th, with free shows at 2:00 pm held at 1602 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota.