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St. Onge, Jaquess Named Athletes Of The Year

Keith. St. OngeUSA Water Ski & Wake Sports will hold its annual Awards Banquet, presented by Nautique – honoring the 2018 award recipients from USA Water Ski & Wake Sports and its respective sport discipline organizations on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Fla. The event, presented by Nautique, is being held in conjunction with USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ mid-winter board meetings for the 19th consecutive year. The award winners were selected either by the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Awards Committee or by the sport discipline’s organization. A limited number of seats are still available for purchase by clicking here.

Keith St. Onge (Winter Haven, Fla.) and Regina Jaquess (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.) have been selected USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ 2018 Male Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively. The U.S. 35+ Water Ski World Championships Team earned USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ 2018 Team of the Year honors. Jeff Surdej (Wilmington, Ill.) was selected as the recipient of the Award of Merit – the organization’s highest award for a volunteer.

St. Onge, 40, was selected USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ Male Athlete of the Year for the second time in his career. At the 2018 Barefoot Water Ski World Championships, St. Onge led the U.S. Elite Barefoot Water Ski Team to the overall silver medal by earning individual silver medals in slalom and overall, and bronze medals in tricks and jumping. He was the only elite athlete to medal in every event at the Worlds. At the 2018 Barefoot Water Ski National Championships, St. Onge won titles in Open Pro Men slalom, jumping and overall. It was his unprecedented 19th national barefoot overall title.

Regina JaquessJaquess, 34, was selected USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ Female Athlete of the Year for the 11th time in her career. She won professional slalom titles at the Swiss Pro Slalom, Lake 38 Pro-Am, Americas’ Cup Invitational, Malibu Open and California Waterski Pro Am. At the GOODE Water Ski National Championships, she won titles in Open Women slalom, jumping and overall. At the Pan American Water Ski Championships, she won gold medals in Open Women slalom, jumping and overall, and the bronze medal in tricks in leading the U.S. Elite Water Ski Team to the overall team gold medal. She also won the Open Women jumping title at the King of Darkness in November and broke her own current women’s world slalom record with a score of 4 buoys at 41 feet off in July.

U.S. 35+ Water Ski TeamThe U.S. 35+ Water Ski World Championships Team won the overall team gold medal at the 5th 35+ Water Ski World Championships, Nov. 27-Dec. 2, at Lago Los Morros in San Bernardo, Chile. The United States tallied 14,908.94 points out of a possible 15,000 points in winning the gold medal at the biennial event. Great Britain earned the silver medal with 12,033.36 points and Germany earned the bronze medal with 11,125.96 points. Athletes and teams from 23 countries competed in the six-day event as the world team title and world individual titles in slalom, tricks, jumping and overall were at stake. Members of the 2018 U.S. 35+ Water Ski World Championships Team were: Cyndi Benzel (Groveland, Fla.), Dean Chappell (Decatur, Ill.), Graham Fizer (Talking Rock, Ga.), Joy Kelley (Loudon, Tenn.), Mary Koenig (Groveland, Fla.), Lori Krueger (Martindale, Texas), Mike Morgan (Odessa, Fla.), Brandy Nagle (Elk Grove, Calif.), Marc Shaw (Ocoee, Fla.) and Jimmy Siemers (Round Rock, Texas). Chris Travers (Groveland, Fla.) served as the coach and Jill Smith (New Carlisle, Ind.) was the manager. U.S. 35+ Water Ski World Championships Team members combined to win 24 medals – 15 gold, seven silver and two bronze. It also was the first time a team has ever earned maximum scores (5,000 points) in tricks and jumping at the biennial event.

Surdej is the current president of the American Water Ski Association, and chairman of the National Collegiate Water Ski Association. He is one USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ most dedicated volunteers. Always looking for ways to grow and improve the sport, Surdej most recently brought team skiing into the fold of the American Water Ski Association, where athletes come together based on geographic location to compete for regional and national team titles.

Additional 2018 awards from USA Water Ski & Wake Sports and its respective sport discipline organizations are as follows:

•    USA Water Ski & Wake Sports: Jason Lee (Winter Haven, Fla.), Coach of the Year (American Barefoot Club); Tina McCauley (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Volunteer of the Year (American Barefoot Club); Jackson Gerard (Babson Park, Fla.), Junior (Under 17) Athlete of the Year (American Barefoot Club); and the P.I.T.S. Water Skiers (Decatur, Ill.), Club of the Year (American Water Ski Association).

•    American Barefoot Club: Tina McCauley (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Volunteer of the Year; Jason Lee (Winter Haven, Fla.), Coach of the Year; Ryleigh Stenson (Buffalo, Minn.), Rising Superstar; Rachel Normand (Tega Cay, S.C.), Female Athlete of the Year; and Keith St. Onge (Winter Haven, Fla.), Male Athlete of the Year.

•    American Kneeboard Association: John C. Haile (Orlando, Fla.), Active Ambassador Award.

•    American Water Ski Association: Jeff Surdej (Wilmington, Ill.), Volunteer of the Year; Kennedy Hansen (Milton, Fla.), Junior Athlete of the Year; Erika Lang (Gilbert, Ariz.), 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 U.S. 35+Water Ski World Championships Team, Team of the Year.

•    National Collegiate Water Ski Association: Purdue’s Jose Luis Tejada (Peru), Male Athlete of the Year; Louisiana-Monroe’s Siani Oliver (Australia), Female Athlete of the Year; Bowling Green’s Trace Mollet (Canal Fulton, Ohio), Outstanding Male Leader; Bowling Green’s Ali Mollet (Canal Fulton, Ohio), Outstanding Female Leader; and Iowa State University, Team of the Year.

•    National Show Ski Association: Samantha Pinkerton (Lakeland, Fla.) and Gerry Luiting (Edgerton, Wis.), Honorary National Directors; Jeff Sayers (Deerfield, Wis.), Volunteer of the Year; Jeff Henke (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Official of the Year; Event Organizers – Kevin Ostermeier (Naperville, Ill.) and Nick Dries (Brookfield, Wis.) – of the 80-person pyramid (by skiers from the Aquanut Water Shows, Fremont Webfooters, and Rock Aqua Jays), That’s Incredible Award; USA Water Ski Show Team, President’s Award; Kailey Koehler (Lake Geneva, Wis.), Female Athlete of the Year; David Claver (Molin, Ill.), Male Athlete of the Year; and Rock Aqua Jays (Janesville, Wis.), Team of the Year.

•    National Water Ski Racing Association: Jason Davison (Long Beach, Calif.), Most Improved Athlete of the Year; and Matthew Klee (Harbor City, Calif.), Male Athlete of the Year.

•    United States Hydrofoil Association: Justin Dietrich (Oro Valley, Ariz.), Passing The Handle; Greg Crockett (Riverton, Utah), Most Improved Athlete of the Year; Wendy Neil (Albuquerque, N.M.), Ambassador of the Year; MJ Buckley (Robbinsdale, Minn.), Female Athlete of the Year; and Torey Narans (Breckenridge, Colo.), Male Athlete of the Year.

•    USA Wakeboard: Cathy Williams (Orlando, Fla.), Special Achievement Award; Kim Wysocki (Chesterfield, Mich.), Female Athlete of the Year; and Dayle Cartwright (Naples, Fla.), Male Athlete of the Year.

•    USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports: Sarah Switzer (Madison, Ala.), Female Athlete of the Year; and Craig Timm (Center City, Minn.), Male Athlete of the Year.

The award recipients will be honored at USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ annual awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Fla. The event, which celebrates the 2018 water ski season, will be held in conjunction with USA Water Ski & Wake Sports’ mid-winter board meetings for the 19th consecutive year. The 2018 award winners were selected either by the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Awards Committee or by the respective sport discipline organization.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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