Three U.S. Athletes Win King of Darkness Titles
by Scott N. Atkinson
U.S. water ski athletes Regina Jaquess (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.), Freddy Krueger (Winter Garden, Fla.) and Nate Smith (McCordsville, Ind.) won respective titles at the 2023 King of Darkness on May 6 at the Isles of Lake Hancock in Winter Garden, Fla. The tournament featured some of the world’s top professional slalom skiers and jumpers competing under the lights in the finals.
Jaquess won women’s jumping with a distance of 178 feet, edging Sasha Danisheuskaya (Winter Garden, Fla.), who jumped 176 feet. Jaquess finished second in slalom to Canada’s Whitney McClintock in the head-to-head final. McClintock scored 6 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off to Jaquess’ 5 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off.
Krueger won men’s jumping with a distance of 226 feet. Fellow U.S. athlete Taylor Garcia (Winter Garden, Fla.) placed second (220 feet) and Canada’s Dorien Llewellyn finished third (219 feet).
Smith won men’s slalom, defeating Great Britain’s Will Asher in the head-to-head final. Smith scored 6 buoys at 41 feet off to Asher’s 2 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off.