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Alumni ski-daddle down the bayou for annual showcase

John Stevens, [email protected]

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If there’s one sport that ULM can hold its head up high in, it’s water skiing. While the program has only been in existence for 40 years, the team has collected 27 National Championships.

On Saturday, the team reconnected with its history as they hosted the first annual alumni ski event. Skiers from places like Utah and Florida flew in to compete and reconnect with their roots.

For head coach Joey McNamara, it was cool to see how the community came out to support his title-filled team.

“Monroe gives so much back to the water ski team. They know about our winning history and our members, so we’re trying to put on a show for Monroe,” McNamara said.

Fresh off their most recent National Championship in fall of 2016, the team looks to reload for next fall and win the National Championship yet again.

McNamara said the team has recruited two new skiers, one of which is a great addition to the men’s side. Taylor Garcia has committed to coming to ULM next fall and will help in the team’s jumping talent.

“He’s probably the best under-21 jumper in America right now,” McNamara said.

Next fall will be another great season for the diverse water ski team, but on Saturday its focus was on the alumni and the memories they shared.

Siani Oliver, who is a current member of the water ski team, talked about how cool it is to have the alumni out on the bayou.

“Having the alumni come back to support is absolutely unbelievable. I feel very honored,” Oliver said. “You come here, and you get that competitive edge.”

For Oliver, her journey to ULM comes from Gold Coast, Australia. In the water down under, skiing is more recreational and relaxed, but she is very appreciative of how welcoming the Warhawks have been to an international skier like herself.

On the women’s team alone, there is not a single member from the U.S. The roster consists of a team mostly from Scandinavia and Belarus.

Oliver weighed in on what it’s like to be on such a well-known team like the ULM water ski team.

“One of the things I absolutely love is you can walk anywhere in Monroe, and as soon as you say you’re on the ULM water ski team, they automatically know you’ve won 27 National Championships.”

On Saturday, the teams competed in slalom, trick and jump. While the current team obviously looked crisper, some alumni gave the team members a run for their money.

Looking ahead to next season, Nationals will be in our home state at Bennett’s Water Ski and Wakeboard School in Zachary, Louisiana. The date has not yet been confirmed, but it looks to be sometime in late October.

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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe
Alumni ski-daddle down the bayou for annual showcase