USA Water Ski Foundation Announces 2017 Scholarship Winners

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The USA Water Ski Foundation is delighted to award 7 outstanding student athletes with scholarships in recognition of their achievements both on and off the water.

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"Selecting this year's winners from so many worthy recipients was a tough decision for our Selection Committee, but we're thrilled to be able to help support these amazing student athletes achieve their future goals.” Tracy Mattes, Executive Director

The USA Water Ski Foundation is proud to announce the winners of our 2017 Scholarship Awards. The USA Water Ski Foundation scholarships are awarded each year to water skiers who best represent through achievements in academics and sports what it means to be an ambassador and an athlete; and whose contributions to school and community set them apart in a special way.

“We had the privilege of receiving a record number of applications from many deserving, ambitious and amazing water skiers this year," said Tracy Mattes, Executive Director of the USA Water Ski Foundation. "Selecting this year's winners from so many worthy recipients was a tough decision for our Selection Committee, but we're thrilled to be able to help support these amazing student athletes achieve their future goals." USA-WSF is proud to have the following outstanding individuals represent our sport both on and off the water:

Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship: $10,000
2017 Recipient Kristen Dammeyer

Kristen Dammeyer, a senior at Ohio State University, is the 2017 recipient of the $10,000 Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship. Dammeyer, the reigning slalom and trick NCWSA Midwest Regional Tournament Champion, is majoring in Chemistry and holds a perfect 4.0 GPA. Dammeyer was also a 2016 overall NCWSA Midwest Tournament podium finisher, a 2016 NCWSA National Competitor, and a 2015, 2016 and 2017 Midwest Collegiate All-Stars Team Member. Over the past year, Dammeyer has been involved in the sport as a competitor, coach, captain and official. Dammeyer has dedicated more 90 hours to judging, scoring and rope handling at Ohio AWSA and NCWSA water ski tournaments and to coaching local clinics. Dammeyer has achieved her regular officials rating as a scorer, served as a chief scorer at several tournaments, became a rated judge in all three events and she is currently aspiring to become a regular judge as well as a tournament rated driver. Dammeyer served in the positions of team Secretary and women’s Captain, which led her to receiving the MCWSA SkiAmmy award for “Best Captain.” She played key role in organizing the 2017 Midwest Collegiate Water Ski Association Winter Conference hosted by Ohio State. She plans to attend medical school after graduation.

George Blair Ambassador Scholarship: $2,200
2017 Recipient: Erika Lang

Erika Lang, a senior year at Rollins College, is the 2017 recipient of the George Blair Scholarship in the amount of $2,200. A household name in the sport of water skiing, the former world record holder in tricks has a long list of world class accomplishments. Lang is majoring in international Business and minoring in Spanish holding an impressive 3.66 GPA. Over the past year, Lang has competed at multiple professional competitions including the Moomba Masters and the Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament. Outside of competition, Erika served as an intern with Nautique Boats in the Fall of 2016 and coached wakeboarding and water skiing in Gilbert, Arizona. She also coaches local students in both non-competitive and competitive skiing and has coached the Arizona State Water Ski team. Lang, who is credited with taking Trick skiing to a new level in the sport, won the Rollins College Athlete of the Year Award and has been the MVP for the Rollins College Water Ski Team 2 years in a row. Lang also spends a lot of time volunteering. She is a part of the Chi Omega sorority, where she volunteers at many charity events and fundraisers such as the sorority’s philanthropy Make A Wish Foundation.

Jennifer Odom/David Kammerer Memorial Scholarship: $1,500
2017 Recipient: Kailey Koehler

Kailey Koehler, a junior at Concordia University is the recipient of the Jennifer Odom/David Kammerer Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. Koehler, a member of the gold medal winning 2016 World Water Ski Show Team, is double majoring in Special Education and Elementary Education holding an outstanding 3.8 GPA. Koehler was the 2016 Overall Barefoot Title winner at the Midwest Regionals and U.S. Nationals. As Captain and member of the Aquanut Water Ski Team, Koehler has served as a volunteer for the Adaptive Aquatics Organization which teaches individuals with physical and mental disabilities, cancer patients and veterans how to ski and enjoy their time on the water. Koehler has taught ski lessons to raise money for Show Ski Team USA and has instructed Show Ski Think Tank clinics with her sister. During the times she wasn’t skiing, Koehler runs small ski school where she teaches others how to ski for the first time and helped others advance in their desired area of skiing. Koehler also participated as a scorer and dock starter at tournaments. She plans to be an Occupational Therapist.

Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship: $1,500
2017 Recipient: Donica Loney

Donica Loney, an incoming freshman at California Baptist University, is the recipient of the 2017 Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. Loney is a member of the ShowCal Skiers Show Ski Team, the first and only USA Water ski sanctioned show ski team in the state of California. Loney played a key role in the formation of the team which performs regularly in Lake Canyon, CA for community events such as Fiesta Day, Taco Tuesdays, and hosts weekly Saturday shows during the summer. Loney has volunteered in various aspects of the show production including costume design, script writing, order of show and props. She also has sanded, sealed, and constructed their donated skis with bindings. Loney’s involvement within the sport has introduced her to the art of the swivel ski and she competed in the first ever ‘Flaunt It’ swivel ski competition where she took second place in the 180 Division. Loney holds the flag in the ShowCal Skiers flag line, performs with a partner in their conventional double runs, bases in their all-girl slalom ski pyramid, is a climber in their three-tier pyramid and is working on perfecting her swivel skills for the show. Loney graduated high school with a 4.35 GPA and was the Class of 2017 Salutatorian for her high school. Loney will be majoring in Health Sciences with the goal of becoming a medical surgeon.

Jean Downes Scholarship: $1,500
2017 Recipient: Andrew Shea

Andrew Shea, a senior at Ohio State University, is the recipient of the Jean Downes Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. Shea, the North Carolina State Slalom and Trick Champion, is majoring in Sustainability with a 3.87 GPA. While serving as Vice President of the Ohio State University Water Ski & Wakeboard Team, Shea has volunteered as a trick and slalom coach, a boat driver, administrative leader and has helped maintain the team boat, slalom course and the jump. During the collegiate seasons, Shea is a rated trick and slalom judge and he is working on his jump judge and scorers’ ratings. Within the last year, Shea has skied trick and slalom in every collegiate tournament including Nationals and All-Stars. Off the water, Shea serves as fundraising leader for his team. He led the planning and execution of the Ohio State University Alumni Tournament and Auction, which raised over $5,000 for the team and he coordinated the Midwest Collegiate Winter Conference held in Columbus this year. Outside of his Ohio State team, Shea volunteers at tournaments including AWSA summer tournaments and is a Student Representative of the School of Environment and Natural Resources Honors and Undergraduate Committee.

Southern Region/Elmer Stailing Scholarship: $2,000
2017 Recipient: Kelley Breeden

Kelley Breeden, an incoming Freshman at Florida Southern College, is the recipient of the Southern Region/Elmer Stailing Scholarship in the amount of $2,000. Breeden, a Girls 3 Slalom competitor at the state, regional and national championships, will be majoring in Biochemistry. She enters college as a member of the National Honor Society carrying a 3.78 GPA. She has participated in the most recent Florida Water Ski Federation Junior development clinic and has judged multiple tournaments at her home site and throughout the region. Breeden has put a lot of time and effort into volunteering within the sport taking part in multiple junior development water ski clinics. She judged various tournaments for Smooth Water Ski Club and created exposure for the sport through multiple newspaper and social media articles. In addition to her water skiing and academic accomplishments Breeden also won multiple championships in pole vaulting and was named the 2016 Florida Track and Field Athlete of the Year. She plans to become a researcher in the Biochemistry field.

Western Region/Big Al Wagner Scholarship: $1,500
2017 Recipient: Alexis Keller

Alexis Keller, an incoming Freshman at Pacific Union College in Napa, California, is the recipient of the Western Region/Big Al Wagner Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. Keller, one of the top-ranking slalom skiers in the Western Region, will be majoring in Nursing. A member of the Principle Honor Roll at Western Sierra Collegiate Academy, Keller graduated with an impressive 4.17 GPA which earned her AP Scholar and Scholar Athlete Awards. Keller has medaled in the top 5 of every Western Regional Water Ski Competition and maintains her ranking as 3rd in the Western Region and 14th nationally. When she is not competing, Keller volunteers her time to dock starting, judging, and any other tasks required to help tournaments run smoothly. Alexis has been an AWSA certified tournament judge for the past 6 years. When she isn’t on the water, Keller takes violin lessons, participates in the Sacramento Youth Symphony, works as a child care provider for Carmichael Cares for Kids, takes part in Track and Field and Cheerleading and is a member of the Pathfinder Club. Keller plans on being a health care provider.

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Tracy Mattes
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USA Water Ski Foundation
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