LAKELAND - Florida Southern's men's and women's water ski teams will put their No. 1 rankings on the line this weekend as they compete at the 2015 NCWSA Eastern Regional Championships at Rodgers Farm Lake in Greenwood, S.C. This year's Eastern Regional Championship is being hosted by Clemson University.
The Moccasins, who opened their season by posting back-to-back wins this past weekend at Sunset Lakes in Groveland, Fla., over Rollins, are the top-ranked team in both the latest men's and women's NCWSA rankings and are the No. 1 ranked combined collegiate water ski program in the nation. Alabama is the No. 2 ranked team for both the men and women and overall, while Louisiana-Lafayette is ranked third overall as they have the No. 3 ranked men's and women's team.
At last season's Eastern Regional Championship, which was held at Tri-Lakes in Zachary, La., the Mocs finished second overall after scoring a 6,295 points. Alabama took home its second consecutive Eastern Regional title after scoring a total of 6,645 points.
Among the nationally teams the Mocs will compete against this weekend at the Eastern Regional Championships are Alabama (No. 2), Rollins (No. 6), Auburn (No. 15) and Clemson (No. 16).
In its competition last weekend against Rollins, the Mocs, who are coached by Curtis Rabe, opened the season with a 1,505-875 win over the Tars on Saturday and then posted a 1,245-745 victory over the Tars on Sunday.
At the meet last Saturday, Sept. 19, senior Thibault Dailand (Orthez, France) led the way for the Moccasin men as he finished first in both the slalom and tricks, while sophomore Cole McCormick (Dundee, Fla.) was the meet's overall men's winner as won the jumps competition, was second in the slalom and third in the tricks.
On the women's side, senior Lauren Morgan (Odessa, Fla.) was the top overall winner as she won the jumps, was second in the slalom and sixth in the tricks and freshman Samantha Dumala (West Palm Beach, Fla.) tied an NCWSA national record in the women's slalom with a score of 3.00 buoys at 39.5 feet off.
At the meet last Sunday, Sept. 20, McCormick was once again the men's top overall performer as was second in the jumps and third in both the slalom and tricks, while senior K.C. Wilson (Winter Springs, Fla.) won the slalom as he recorded 2.50 buoys at 41 feet off, which was one buoy off of the NCWSA national slalom record.
On the women's side, the top performer was Morgan as she tied an NCWSA national record in the jumps with a leap of 157 feet. The jump tied the record Morgan set at the 2011 NCWSA National Championships in Zachary, La. In addition to Morgan, the other event winner was Dumala as she took home first place in the slalom for the second straight meet.
Entering this weekend's Eastern Regional Championships, the Moccasin men have the top four ranked slalom skiers in the country and the No. 1 ranked skier in tricks, while the Moccasin women have the No. 1 ranked skier in both the slalom and jumps.
In the men's slalom, Wilson is ranked No. 1, Dailand is ranked No. 2, McCormick is ranked No. 3 and junior Brett Walker (Saskatoon, Sask.) is ranked No. 4 and Dailand is ranked No. 1 in tricks.
Meanwhile, on the women's side, Dumala is the No. 1 ranked skier in the slalom, while Morgan is the No. 1 ranked skier in the jumps and is fourth in the slalom and junior Ellie Rae Horton (Moorpark, Calif.) is ranked No. 2 in the jumps. Horton is expected to miss this weekend's Eastern Regionals due to an injury suffered last weekend against Rollins.
Following the Eastern Regional Championships, the Mocs will next compete at the 2015 NCWSA National Championships, which are scheduled for Oct. 15-17 at the Lakes of Cypress Hill in Cypress, Texas. The NCWSA National Championships will be jointly hosted by Texas A&M University and the University of Alabama.