Waterskiing outlasts summer

Korey Peterson

Summer may be ending, but the water skiing season doesn’t have to just yet.

The NIU waterski and wakeboard team still has at least one more tournament to compete in during the fall season.

While the club does have a competitive team, it is open to all students who have an interest in water skiing and wakeboarding.

The club has its own practice lake about 20 minutes from campus in Rochelle.

Holly Kulovitz, the club’s senior president, has been water skiing since she was eight years old, but didn’t start skiing competitively until coming to NIU. She knows that the club is more about the fun of water skiing than the competing.

“I love just being on the lake and having fun,” Kulovitz said. “But at the same time the competition side of it is exhilarating.”

Graduate student John Roberts has also been skiing on water since he was a youngster, and this weekend may be his last doing so for NIU.

“Collegiate water skiing is all about having fun,” he said. “Everyone out there competing is there to have a good time.”

Kulovitz and Roberts recently guided the team to a seventh place team finish at the University of Iowa’s Hawkeye SkiFest and sixth place at this past weekend’s Iowa State Ski Wars in the combined team category.

Skiiers compete individually for their school in three different events: slalom, tricks and jumping.

Slalom events consist of a rider going around buoys at an allotted speed. Going around the buoys extends the run, but once a skier misses one, that run is over.

The tricks event gives skiers twenty seconds to do any number of maneuvers to be judged.

In jumping, skiers choose their speed to hit a ramp and see who can go further, but only those who land the jump qualify.

At the Hawkeye SkiFest, Roberts tied for second place in the men’s trick category while also finishing in the top 10 in slalom and jumping.

Kulovitz came away fourth in women’s tricks in that tournament while placing fifth at the Iowa State Ski Wars. Her best finish came in the slalom where she placed third of nearly forty skiers.

Currently, the women’s team is short two skiers, making it difficult to place high in the combined team category. The team can still finish well, however, since combined team scores are based on individual placing in each event.

The club competes in the Midwest Collegiate Water Skiing Association (MCWSA) as a part of the Great Plains conference. The conference championship tournament will take place Sept. 25-26 in Wilmington, Ill. with the top 10 teams earning a bid to the Midwest Regional Championships on Oct. 1-3.