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October 18, 2004

ULM Water Ski Team wins 18th National Title

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Water Ski Team holds the National Collegiate Title for the 18th time. The team won their top spot at the 26th Annual National Collegiate Water Ski Association (NCWSA) Tournament held Saturday in Zachary, La. ULM won by five points, which is the smallest point value in collegiate water skiing. Ranking right behind ULM was defending champions, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

ULM won the national title by scoring a total of 12,680 points. ULL finished second with 12,675 points. Arizona State (12,200 points), Florida Southern College (8,860 points) and Purdue University (8,490 points) rounded out the top-five team placements in Division 1.

ULM's Ryan Dodd led his team to victory during the last event of the tournament, the men's jump. He won this event with a 187-foot leap. Another boost in scores came from ULM's Aliaksei Zharnasek when he placed second in men's tricks with 5,720 points.

ULM's Regina Jaquess took home the women's overall title after placing first in women's slalom with a score of 3 buoys at 38 feet off, second in tricks with 3,330 points and third in jumping with a 133-foot leap. Carly Clifton, also from ULM, placed second in women's overall and second in slalom after rounding 1 buoy at 38 feet off. ULM's Natalia Berdnikova won the women's jumping title by one foot after she jumped 138 feet.

Water ski Coach Bill Bagley is very pleased with his team. He said, "The team is so excited. Ryan's jump just couldn't have been better. It all came down to this one event. The entire team contributed to the total score and once again they are bringing home first place."

The ULM water ski team consists of captains, Regina Jaquess and Matt Curmi and teammates, Juanita Hernandez, Carly Clifton, Breanne Wagner, Natalia Berdnikava, Jason Hutchins, Thomas Degasperi, Ryan Dodd, Tyler Collins, Kyle Damman, Ian Trapp, and Aliaksei Zharnasek.

Athletes from 20 of the top collegiate water ski teams across the nation competed at the Collegiate Nationals. The event was held at Tri-Lakes, home to Bennett's Ski School, in Zachary, La.

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