1st Tournament of the 2015 Season was the Mercury Open at Traxler Park in Janesville Wisconsin. See the Official results.
The Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team finished in fifth place at the Division 1 Show Ski National Championships Aug. 7 to 9 on the Rock River.
The competitive ski show team, which performs its tricks and flips throughout the summer on Wonder Lake, has placed in the top five every year since 1996.
The Aquanuts of Twin Lakes, Wis., took first prize at the 41st annual event.
The Wonder Lake team is most recognized for its Friday night shows and its community service, including partnering with the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association, and so it’s easy to forget the members spend the rest of their time competing throughout the state.
But the team doesn’t just compete, it often dominates. In addition to consistently placing in the top five at nationals, it also has won the national title four times since 1996, with the most recent victory taking place in 2010, according to team spokesperson Jarret Graff. Even with all its success, the team must still qualify each year to have a hope of winning it all.
The ski team’s journey began quite ordinarily this year in the town of Rock Island. Participating in the West-Central Division competition, the water-ski team was challenged by seven other teams from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri. Wonder Lake placed first in the contest.
This first-place finish allowed the team to advance to nationals, where 14 teams competed.
“We ended up finishing fifth, which is a little disappointing, but I actually think we put a show together that was really impressive,” Graff said. “It ended up being a little above our expectations from the week leading up to the competition.”
The team utilizes a similar routine each year it competes.
“We use the same basic acts, but we change up the order or perform different variations of the same tricks. Each year we always end up jumping, bare-footing, forming pyramids and executing ballets,” Graff said.
Judges critique the routines based on their difficulty, execution, spectator appeal and flow. Each individual component isn’t necessarily hard to accomplish, but hitting every mark within the allotted time period can prove to be difficult, Graff said.
“Our biggest challenge is generally fitting all of the awesome stuff we have into the 60 minutes given,” said Graff. “We have to focus on the stage work as well as the introductions, and just generally a number of things that don’t even have to do with the skiing.”