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2017 Award Recipients Announced

USA Water Ski and its nine sport discipline organizations are pleased to announce respective award recipients for 2017. Freddy Krueger (Winter Garden, Fla.) and Regina Jaquess (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.) have been selected USA Water Ski’s 2017 Male Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively. The U.S. Elite Water Ski Team earned USA Water Ski’s 2017 Team of the Year honors. Dusty Schulz (Westlake Village, Calif.) was selected as the recipient of the Award of Merit – the organization’s highest award for a volunteer.

Freddy KruegerKrueger, selected USA Water Ski’s Male Athlete of the Year for the 12th time in his career, won titles in 2017 at the Moomba Masters, San Marcos River Ranch Pro Night Jump Invitational, Malibu Open, Malibu Night Jump and Chile Night Jump. He also earned the silver medal in men’s jumping as a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Elite Water Ski Team at the 35th Water Ski World Championships.

Regina JaquessJaquess, selected USA Water Ski’s Female Athlete of the Year for the 10th time in her career, led the way for the U.S. Elite Water Ski Team as it won the team gold medal at the 35th Water Ski World Championships. Jaquess successfully defended her slalom and overall titles from the 2015 world championships, earned the silver medal in women’s jumping, and advanced to the finals in all three events (placing 10th in tricks) at this year’s world championships. She also won women’s professional slalom titles at the Swiss Pro Am, San Gervasio Pro Am and Malibu Open, where she also won the coveted overall title and placed second in jumping.

U.S. Elite Water Ski Team (left to right): Freddy Krueger, Brooke Baldwin, Taylor Garcia, Anna Gay, Adam Pickos and Regina Jaquess.The U.S. Elite Water Ski Team won the overall team gold medal and four U.S. team members combined to win six individual medals in respective events at the 35th Water Ski World Championships, Sept. 5-10, at Choisy-le-Roi near Paris, France. The United States tallied 7,959.48 points in winning the gold medal for the 27th time in the history of the biennial event. Athletes from 31 countries participated in the tournament. Members of the 2017 U.S. Elite Water Ski Team were: Brooke Baldwin (Windermere, Fla.), Taylor Garcia (Winter Garden, Fla.), Anna Gay (Winter Garden, Fla.), Regina Jaquess (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.), Freddy Krueger (Winter Garden, Fla.) and Adam Pickos (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.). Jeff Surdej (Wilmington, Ill.) was the coach, Jody Johnson (Nashville, Tenn.) served as team captain, and Dr. Brad Harman (Alvarado, Texas) was the team physician. Jaquess led the way for the U.S. Team as she successfully defended her slalom and overall titles from the 2015 world championships, earned the silver medal in women’s jumping, and advanced to the finals in all three events (placing 10th in tricks); Pickos won the gold medal in men’s tricks; and Krueger and Garcia earned the silver and bronze medals, respectively, in men’s jumping.

Dusty SchulzSchulz has been an active member of the National Water Ski Racing Association for more than 40 years. He began as a competitive observer back in the early 1970s. Since then, Schulz has held a vast array of offices, positions and chairmanships during his tenure in water ski racing. He has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy as not only a competitor, but as a true ambassador of the sport. Many of his accomplishments were achieved solely for the promotion, evolution and pure love of the sport. In 2017, he retired from the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation’s Racing Council as the last inaugural member elected in 1979. He was recently recognized by the IWWF for his service and contribution to the sport of water ski racing.

Additional 2017 awards from USA Water Ski and its respective sport discipline organizations are as follows:

•    USA Water Ski: Landen Ehlers (Austin, Texas), Coach of the Year (American Barefoot Club); Lauren St. Onge (Winter Haven, Fla.), Volunteer of the Year (American Barefoot Club); Rex Helm (Porter Ranch, Calif.), Junior (Under 17) Athlete of the Year (National Water Ski Racing Association); and the San Marcos River Ranch (Martindale, Texas), Club of the Year (American Water Ski Association).

•    American Barefoot Club: Lauren St. Onge (Winter Haven, Fla.), Volunteer of the Year; Landen Ehlers (Austin, Texas), Coach of the Year; Brett Swanbom (Land O’ Lakes, Fla.), Rising Superstar; Lexi McCauley (Louisville, Ohio), Female Athlete of the Year; and Jackson Gerard (Babson Park, Fla.), Male Athlete of the Year.

•    American Kneeboard Association: Allie Maloney (Alpharetta, Ga.), Junior Female Athlete of the Year; Kenneth Lee Stuart IV (Blue Ridge, Ga.), Junior Male Athlete of the Year; Alisa Piper (Lake Placid, Fla.), Female Athlete of the Year; and Jared Bohlen (Lake Placid, Fla.), Male Athlete of the Year.

•    American Water Ski Association: David Allen (Marlborough, Mass.), Volunteer of the Year; Sean Hunter (Dothan, Ala.), Junior Athlete of the Year; Adam Pickos (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.), Tricks Skier of the Year; Freddy Krueger (Winter Garden, Fla.), Jump Skier of the Year; Regina Jaquess (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.), Slalom Skier of the Year, Overall Skier of the Year and Athlete of the Year; and Elite Water Ski Team – Brooke Baldwin (Windermere, Fla.), Taylor Garcia (Winter Garden, Fla.), Anna Gay (Winter Garden, Fla.), Regina Jaquess (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.), Freddy Krueger (Winter Garden, Fla.), Adam Pickos (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.), Jeff Surdej (coach, Wilmington, Ill.), Jody Johnson (team captain, Nashville, Tenn.), and Dr. Brad Harman (team physician, Alvarado, Texas), Team of the Year.

•    National Collegiate Water Ski Association: Alabama’s Sam Greenwood (Little Rock, Ark.), Male Athlete of the Year; Louisiana-Monroe’s Hanna Straltsova (Belarus), Female Athlete of the Year; Michigan State’s Alex Clark (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Outstanding Male Leader; Arkansas’ Madison Hayden (Fayetteville, Ark.), Outstanding Female Leader; and Miami University of Ohio (Oxford, Ohio), Team of the Year.

•    National Show Ski Association: Joel Shapiro (Eyota, Minn.), Volunteer of the Year; Kurtis McMillan (Fort Mill, S.C.), Official of the Year; Chain of Records Event Committee – Jeremy Armstrong (Winter Haven, Fla.), Eric Gran (Shawano, Wis.), Jason Hook (Sussex, Wis.), Dan Olson (Winter Haven, Fla.), Shauna Pasanen (Winter Haven, Fla.), Wendy Petzold (Mequon, Wis.), Angela Yauchler (Winter Haven, Fla.) and Geno Yauchler (Winter Haven, Fla.), That’s Incredible Award; Darian LeBlanc (Palm Harbor, Fla.), Female Athlete of the Year; Dan Hansen (Wonder Lake, Ill.), Male Athlete of the Year; and Sarasota Ski-A-Rees (Sarasota, Fla.), Team of the Year.

•    United States Hydrofoil Association: Justin Dietrich (Oro Valley, Ariz.), Passing The Handle; Wendy Neil (Albuquerque, N.M.), Ambassador of the Year; MJ Green (Robbinsdale, Minn.), Female Athlete of the Year; and Kyle Gardner (Goodyear, Ariz.), Most Improved Athlete of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year.

•    National Water Ski Racing Association: Julia Williams (Long Beach, Calif.), Most Improved Female Athlete of the Year; Matthew Klee (Harbor City, Calif.), Most improved Male Athlete of the Year; and Martie Wells (Colton, Calif.), Male Athlete of the Year.

•    Water Skiers with Disabilities Association: Kerri Vanderbom (Birmingham, Ala.), Female Athlete of the Year; and Craig Timm (Center City, Minn.), Male Athlete of the Year.

•    USA Wakeboard: Nicola Butler (Orlando, Fla.), Female Athlete of the Year.

The award recipients will be honored at USA Water Ski’s annual awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, at The Lakeland Center in Lakeland, Fla. The event, which celebrates the 2017 water ski season, will be held in conjunction with USA Water Ski's mid-winter board meetings for the 18th consecutive year. The 2017 award winners were selected either by the USA Water Ski Awards Committee or by the respective sport discipline organization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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