With winter comes ice, and with ice comes an end to the waterski season. Over the past 13 years, the University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Waterski
Club has evolved into a successful group on campus. Currently, it is about 30 members strong and includes a wide range of skill levels.
“We welcome anyone who wants to learn,” said junior Genna Boeckmann, the club’s tournament director.
Most participants in the club are committed to improving not only their own ability but also the skill level of the group. Members are open to teaching different types of waterskiing including slalom, trick, jump, wakeboard and even barefoot. The club is lucky to have at least one member that is proficient in each of these areas.
“We’re fortunate enough to have a very dedicated group of people who [love] to be on the water and [are] talented,” Boeckmann said.
The club owns their own boat as well as all the equipment necessary to the sport of waterskiing. Because they have their own boat, many members of the club practice nearly every day of the week — and sometimes even on weekends. Senior Andrew Karll is known as a main coach to the group, but he also holds the position of the club’s main boat driver.
UW-Stout’s Waterski Club is no casual organization; they mean business. Contending both individually and as a team, the group competes against all of the WIAC schools and schools in the Big 10 Conference. These often include Division-I universities such as the University of Minnesota, Iowa State, Purdue, Marquette and Kansas State.
“You want to do well to score big for your team and also place high for yourself. The higher you place, the more points earned for the team,” said Boeckmann. “This has been one of the most successful tournament years we have had in the past three years of the club.”
This past season, the club participated in tournaments across Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. Held in Evansdale, Iowa, the Hawkeye Ski Fest proved successful for the waterski club. The team placed fifth in the tournament overall. Individually, sophomore Jessica Pederson placed third and broke UW-Stout’s women’s slalom school record. Owning the top spot was senior Ryan Brooks, who placed first in slalom, trick and jump. Brooks is ranked 31st in the nation on trick and jump.
At the Ski Gles Ski Fest, held in New Germany, Minn., the waterski club again placed fifth as a team and Brooks starred in all of the events. Senior Taylor Buchingner placed seventh in jump, and Boeckmann placed second; Boeckmann is ranked 29th nationally in this event.
The Great Plains Conference Championships in Aimes, Iowa, again proved to be a success for the club. Senior Tyler Bell placed 16th in jump, and Brooks placed first — jumping a whopping 118 feet. Brooks also earned first place in trick.
On the women’s side, Pederson placed eighth in slalom, and Boeckmann placed sixth in jump.
Placing fifth once again in this tournament meant that the team qualified to the Regional Championships, held in Decatur, Ill. Individually, Brooks swept the competition. He was named the Midwest All-Stars Men’s Team Captain for 2013. The waterski club placed tenth as a team.
Now that it’s the off-season, the waterski club is focused on improving and refining their skills.
“We have a lot of potential in our freshman and sophomore classes. [What matters] is just getting them on the water and teaching them new skills,” said Boeckmann.
Like with most sports, fundraising in the off-season is key. The club participates in dock removal in the fall and assists in ice game events throughout the winter.
Members are anxiously awaiting the start of the spring season, which begins in April. They’re looking to improve their ranking, which is currently 22nd nationally.
“We [are always] motivated with the thought of qualifying to the regional competition, and maybe even nationals if we [are] lucky,” said Boeckmann.