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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s water ski team won the Division 1 national title at the 32nd Collegiate Water Ski National Championships, Oct. 14-16, at the Austin Aquaplex in Buda, Texas.
The Ragin' Cajuns tallied 12,460 points in winning their fifth title in the history of the event. Louisiana-Monroe, which was seeking to win its fifth consecutive and 23rd overall title, finished second, scoring 12,050 points.
“ We have some of the best skiers from across the globe,” said team member Matteo Luzzeri, a UL Lafayette psychology major from Italy. “Throughout the year, we knew we had a team that could be national champions again.”
The last time the team captured the top honor was in 2005.
Hosted by the University of Texas and the National Collegiate Water Ski Association, the competition included 12 teams in Division 1 and 10 teams in Division 2. National team champions were declared in both divisions. Individual medals for slalom, tricks and jumping were awarded based on athletes' placements within their division. Overall titles were awarded in each division to athletes competing in all three events.
The Division 1 field was comprised of Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Purdue, Missouri State, Arizona State, Cal Poly, San Diego State, Alabama, Rollins and Florida Southern. Alabama finished third with 10,510 points, Arizona State was fourth with 8,825 points and Rollins placed fifth with 8,715 points.
Athletes winning individual national titles in Division 1 were: Louisiana-Lafayette's Nancy Chardin, women's tricks (3,860 points) and overall (1,680 points); Arizona State's Storm Selsor, men's overall (1,665 points); Louisiana-Monroe's Martin Bartalsky, men's slalom (2 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off); Louisiana-Monroe's Karen Stevens, women's slalom (2 buoys at 38 feet off); Louisiana-Monroe's Alex Lauretano, women's jumping (150 feet); Alabama's Dylan Schaffer, men's tricks (6,450 points); and Louisiana-Monroe's Zack Worden, men's jumping (175 feet).
The Division 2 field was comprised of Texas, Texas State, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Clemson, North Carolina, Western Washington, UC San Diego, Chico State and Iowa State.
Ohio State won the Division 2 title, scoring 7,245 points. Texas finished second with 7,075 points. Iowa State (6,390 points), Texas State (6,235 points) and Cincinnati (6,140 points) rounded out the top-five placements.
Athletes winning individual national titles in Division 2 were: Chico State's Andrea Neely, women's slalom (3 buoys at 35 feet off) and overall (1,060 points); Texas' Andres Pombo, men's tricks (3,270 points) and overall (1,400 points); North Carolina's Rachel Shepard, women's tricks (2,090 points); Clemson's Jonathan Paulovich, men's slalom (2-1/2 buoys at 38 feet off) and jumping (147 feet); and Iowa State's Maggie Tierney, women's jumping (81 feet).