After a seven-year hiatus, the U.S. Open returns to the water this weekend in Central Florida.
The Nautique U.S. Open of Water Skiing – featuring slalom, tricks and jumping – kicks off Thursday with two days of preliminary round action at Grew Lake, adjacent to USA Water Ski headquarters in Polk City.
Saturday’s finals will be held on Lake Ivanhoe in downtown Orlando.
Team GOODE athletes expected to compete include: Thomas Degasperi, Regina Jaquess, Chris Parrish, April Coble-Eller, Karen Truelove, Nick Parsons, Carlo Allais, Erika Lang, Lauren Morgan, and Benjamin Stadlbaur.
For more information, including schedule, running order and the webcast of Saturday’s final, visit nautique.com/usopen. For live scoring (including the preliminaries), click here.
Team GOODE had a great showing at the 2014 NCWSA Nationals as Dane Mecheler won the Men’s national collegiate slalom title with a huge score of 2 buoys at 41 off, while Freddie Winter took third and Adam Pickos tied for fifth.
On the Women’s side, Eloise Whitlock finished tied for third while Lauren Morgan took fifth.
Sunset Lakes was a sea of colors as the flags of 29 countries flew over last weekend’s 35+ World Water Ski Championships in Groveland, Fla. But it was orange and black that were the most conspicuous on the slalom podiums as GOODE skiers won six of eight golds and 14 of 24 slalom medals.
Team GOODE swept the top spot on all four Women’s slalom podiums, as April Coble-Eller (35+), Lori Krueger (45+), Joy Kelley (55+), and Ruth Johnston (65+) took home gold medals. Additional GOODE Women’s skiers earning medals were Florence Trible (bronze, 35+), Patrician Cordiero (bronze, 45+), Cyndi Benzel (silver, 55+), Kandise Bertelson (55+), and Shirley Coble (bronze, 65+).
On the Men’s side, Chet Raley and Richard Lambert won gold medals in Men’s 55+ and 65+, respectively. Jay Leach (bronze, 35+), Lonnie Harris (bronze, 55+) and Dennis Longo (bronze, 65+) also earned medals.
For full results, click here.
April Coble-Eller 1@39
Brenda Baldwin 2@38
Florence Trible 0.5 @38
Lori Krueger 2.5@38
Jennifer Lapoint 2.25 @38
Patricia Cordeiro 2@38
Michael Robinson didn’t know it at the time, but as the first day of the GOODE Bracket Challenge Finals ended in Ogden, Utah, his odds of winning the $5,000 perfect bracket grand prize had just improved dramatically.
Jeremy Newby-Ricci had just topped Chad Scott, while Dave Miller had taken out Jay Leach to advance to a finals match up with Jeremy; just as Michael, a Men’s 5 skier from South Carolina, had predicted when he filled out his bracket in May.
As day two of the Finals began, all Michael needed to pocket five thousand large ones was his pick to win it all – Jeremy – beating Dave in the head-to-head.
“I really wanted to win the tournament because the competition was so tough and the format was a lot of fun,” said Jeremy, who’d done the math on his own and knew that the perfect bracket rested on his shoulders. “But I have to say that knowing I’d either make or break a fan’s bracket put a little bit of extra pressure on me. I didn’t want to be the reason that someone missed out on that kind of money.”
In the end, Michael’s intuition in May held true in September as Jeremy posted a huge score of 3 buoys at 41 off to edge Dave’s 1.5 buoys at the same line length (for more details on the on-the-water competition, view the video here).
“No way, are you serious?” asked a stunned Michael when GOODE Skis president and founder Dave Goode called him from the lake to tell him he’d won $5,000.
At first thinking he had no chance of scoring the perfect bracket, Michael’s interest and optimism understandably increased with each round.
“I watched kinda casually through the Sweet 16,” said Michael, whose fan contest name was Summer skiOFF, “but I really started to pay attention with the Elite Eight. Even then I thought it was a long shot so I didn’t really talk about it too much, except with my wife Terri.”
So how did he pick Jeremy to win it all, and eschew the most popular fan pick, 2013 Bracket Challenge Champion Regina Jaquess?
“I saw Jeremy ski at the 2013 Big Dawg finals and was obviously impressed,” said Michael, himself the 2012 Men’s 4 U.S. national champion. “I knew he was a very accomplished skier and when you watch him ski he just gets it done. I actually saw him at Nationals this year and told him I picked him to win it all and wished him luck.”
Asked what he was going to do with the $5,000, Michael said that since learning about his newfound largess he and his wife have been able to pull the trigger on a trip to the Bahamas this December to celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary.
While money was at stake in the online fan contest, pride was the prize in the actual, on-the-water Bracket Challenge.
In the Final Four, No. 1 seed Jeremy faced off against No. 5 Chad, while the other side of the frame featured No. 2 Jay vs. No. 3 Dave.
Both Chad and Jay, southern fellas that they are, struggled a bit early on in the cooler water temperature, something that Jeremy and Dave, who hail from England and Canada respectively, weren’t fazed by. Chad and Jay recovered though in the 3rd/4th place match-up, both running into 41 off with Jay edging Chad for third place by a buoy with 1 at 41 off.
In the final round, Jeremy stayed true to his No. 1 seed and beat Dave, 3 buoys to 1.5 at 41 off.
If the pro water ski scene didn’t take notice back in November when he scooped up the bronze at the World Championships, it’s certainly aware of Great Britain’s Freddie Winter now after his second-place finish at last weekend’s California Pro-Am in Sacramento, Calif.
Freddie beat out a top field of pros to advance to his first-ever head-to-head professional final, where he skied a more-than respectable 3 buoys at 41 off to finish second to Nate Smith’s 0.5 at 43 off.
The showing moved Freddie into the top-five of the IWWF’s Elite Rankings List for the first time ever, raising his ranking from sixth to fourth.
Freddie’s best-ever U.S. showing was among the many highlights of the weekend for Team GOODE, as it scored six of the nine podiums spot in Men’s and Women’s pros, and Master Men’s.
World No. 1 Regina Jaquess claimed her second-consecutive Pro Am title while her fellow GOODE teammate Karen Truelove placed third.
Team GOODE swept the top-three in Master Men’s, with Jeremy Newby-Ricci, Jay Leach and Todd Ristorcelli going 1-2-3.
Like us, the ski testers at Backcountry magazine are starting to get pretty amped up for the upcoming snow ski season, and from the sounds of their review, they are also looking forward to more time on the GOODE Sorcerer carbon fiber snow skis too.
Editors say that the Sorcerer “conjured up a little magic with testers” who heralded its capability in all turn shapes.
One tester said the Sorcerer can “bust out any radius turn, any time,” while another said it was “really nimble, but not afraid to rail long turns.”
The field is set for next week’s GOODE Bracket Challenge Final Four in Ogden, Utah.
Jeremy Newby-Ricci, Jay Leach, Dave Miller, and Chad Scott are all that’s left of the 32 skiers who began the Bracket Challenge in June. Not making the cut in a minor upset is defending champion and fan favorite Regina Jaquess, whose score of 2 at 41 was topped by Chad’s last tournament round in August, 3 at 41.
The Final Four matchups are:
No. 1. Jeremy Newby-Ricci vs. No. 5. Chad Scott
No. 2. Jay Leach vs. No. 3. Dave Miller
The semi-final round will be held Tuesday, Sept. 9, at GOODE Ski Lake in downtown Ogden. Each skier’s top score from the day’s two rounds will be used to determine who advances to the finals. The finals will be held the next day in a single, winner-take-all round of skiing.
In the fan-submitted brackets contest, one contestant remains in the hunt for the $5,000 perfect bracket grand prize. In order to collect the $5,000, Summer skiOFF needs Jeremy and Dave to advance to the finals, with Jeremy taking the title.
While Summer skiOFF is the only contestant with a shot at a perfect bracket, six other contestants are still in contention to win the top prize, the record-breaking Nano OneXT.
Skiers riding GOODEs once again dominated the action at the GOODE U.S. National Water Ski Championships, winning 16 of 29, or just over 55 percent, of the slalom titles awarded at San Marcos River Ranch in San Marcos, Texas.
A week that began with Regina Jaquess leading a 1-2-3 GOODE sweep of Open Women’s slalom on the first day of competition ended five days later with Don Aschenbrenner winning the last event of the championships, Men’s 4 slalom.
Skiers winning national slalom titles on GOODEs were:
B1 Cooper Tate
B2 Griffin Stange
M1 Dane Mechler (video)
M4 Don Aschenbrenner
M5 Tim Huston
M7 Dennis Longo
M9 Jerry Hosner
M11 Harry Price
G2 Brooke Baldwin
W1 Keri Mcclure
W3 Trish Burt
W5 Joy Kelley
W7 Ruth Johnston
W9 Maria Walsh
W10 Artis Price
OW Regina Jaquess (video)
The Team GOODE national title count was nearly 18, as two of GOODE’s top junior skiers tied for first in their respective divisions before eventually finishing second in runoffs.
In Boy’s 3, Daniel Di Pol, the 2013 champion, tied Taylor Garcia, with 2 buoys at 39-1/2 off, before getting edged in the runoff.
In Girl’s 3, Ruth McCreary tied eventual champion Samantha Dumala with a score of 2 at 38 off before finishing second, a huge accomplishment for a skier competing in only her second year in Girl’s 3.
Our congratulations go out to all skiers who participated, made the podium or won titles.
It’s difficult to track hundreds of skiers across multiple lakes over the course of six days of action, so if we failed to include you in the list above, or mistakenly did so, please accept our apologies and email us the details at firstname.lastname@example.org.