CYPRESS, Texas - Florida Southern's top-ranked men's and women's water ski teams will go in search of a national championship this weekend as they compete in the 37th Annual Collegiate Water Ski National Championships that will run from Oct. 15-17 here at the Lakes of Cypress Hill.
The Moccasins enter this year's NCWSA National Championships ranked No. 1 nationally as a team in the latest NCWSA poll. In addition to having the No. 1 ranked team overall, the Mocs also have the top ranked men's team and the top ranked women's program.
"We're excited to get the chance to go out and have a chance to compete for a national championship this weekend," Mocs head coach Curtis Rabe said. "There will be a lot of good teams competing and some outstanding athletes performing. I'm excited to see what this team can accomplish."
At the Eastern Regional Championships on Sept. 26-27 in Greenwood, S.C., the Mocs scored a total of 6,255 points to finish second behind regional champion, Alabama, who scored 6,430 points. Along with placing second overall as a team, FSC's men finished second with a total of 3,450 points and were just 25 points behind Alabama (3,475 points), while the women also finished second with 2,805 points as they were 150 points behind first place winner Alabama (2,955 points).
This year's Collegiate National Championships, which is hosted by the National Collegiate Water Ski Association, will feature a total of 24 of the top water ski teams in the country divided into two divisions - 12 teams in Division I and 12 more teams in Division II. National team champions will be declared in both divisions, while individual medals in slalom, tricks and jumping will be awarded based on athletes' placements within their respective division. Overall titles will be awarded in each division to athletes competing in all three events (slalom, tricks and jumps).
Florida Southern will be joined in the Division I competition by No. 3 ranked Alabama, No. 9 ranked Cincinnati, No. 11 ranked Grand Valley State, No. 13 ranked Iowa State University, No. 5 ranked Kansas, No. 2 ranked Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 4 ranked Louisiana-Monroe, No. 8 ranked Michigan State, No. 7 ranked Ohio State, No. 6 ranked Rollins and No. 10 ranked San Diego State. At the 2014 Collegiate Water Ski Nationals, Louisiana-Monroe won the Division I title for the 26th time in the history of the event.
The 12 teams competing in the Division II competition are No. 21 ranked Arizona State, No. 23 ranked Auburn, No. 27 ranked Cal State-Chico, No. 19 ranked Clemson, No. 16 ranked UC-Davis, No. 15 ranked Miami (Ohio), No. 14 Michigan, No. 35 ranked Texas, No. 22 ranked Texas A&M, No. 25 ranked Texas State, No. 18 Western Washington and No. 12 Wisconsin. Clemson claimed the Division II national title a year ago.
At this year's Eastern Regional Championships, Moccasin sophomore Cole McCormick (Dundee, Fla.) was third in the men's overall competition as he tallied a total of 825 points after finishing third in the tricks, fourth in jumps and tied for 12th in the slalom, while Moccasin senior Lauren Morgan (Odessa, Fla.) was the women's top overall skier as she scored a total of 755 points after winning the jumps, placing fifth in tricks and tying for sixth in the slalom.
In addition to Morgan, senior Ambre Franc (Paris, France) took home the women's region title in the slalom for the second consecutive year with a score of 5.00 buoys at 38 feet off. On the men's side, the Mocs only individual event win came in the slalom as senior K.C. Wilson (Winter Springs, Fla.) took home his fourth consecutive regional title in the event with a score of 2.50 buoys at 39.5 feet off.
Along with taking home the individual regional title in both the men's and women's slalom, the Moccasin men had senior Thibault Dailand (Orthez, France) place second in the event with a score of 4.00 buoys at 38 feet off and the Moccasin women also placed second in the women's slalom as freshman Samantha Dumala (West Palm Beach, Fla.) recorded a score of 2.00 buoys at 38 feet off.
Entering this year's Collegiate National Championships, Wilson, who is a two-time national champion in the slalom, and Dailand are ranked No. 1 and 2 nationally overall in the men's slalom, while Dailand is ranked No. 1 nationally in the tricks. In addition, McCormick is ranked ninth nationally in the jumps, sixth in the slalom and 10th in tricks and junior Brett Walker (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) is tied for seventh in the slalom. As a team, the Mocs are ranked first nationally in both the slalom and tricks and is third in the jumps.
On the women's side, Morgan enters the NCWSA National Championships ranked first in the jumps, fifth in the slalom and 13th in tricks, while Dumala is the No. 1 ranked women's skier in the slalom. In addition, Franc is third in the slalom, while junior Ellie Rae Horton (Moorpark, Calif.) is ranked eighth in the jumps and 10th in tricks and freshman Nicola Horwood (Victoria, British Columbia) is ninth nationally in tricks. As a team, the Mocs are ranked first nationally in the slalom, tied for second in the jumps and fifth in tricks.
Last season, the Mocs finished third at the 2014 NCWSA National Championships at Tri-Lakes in Zachary, La., as they scored 10,635 points in the 12-team Division I field. The FSC men finished third overall with 5,285 points and the Moccasin women placed fourth overall with 5,285 points.
FSC comes into this year's NCWSA National Championships having two of its skiers holding NCWSA National Records as Dumala tied the women's national record in the slalom (3 buoys at 39.5 feet off) against Rollins on Sept. 19, 2015 and Morgan holds the women's national record in the jumps with a leap of 157 feet at the 2011 NCWSA National Championships.
The NCWSA, a sport discipline organization of USA Water Ski, is comprised of more than 50 collegiate water ski teams from four regions. Intercollegiate water ski competition began under the NCWSA in 1979. The NCWSA's major tournaments include the Nationals and the Collegiate All-Stars Water Ski Championships.