Three U.S. athletes win individual gold medals at 14th biennial event
POLK CITY, Fla. – The U.S. Junior Water Ski Team won the overall team gold medal and three U.S. water ski athletes won individual gold medals in respective events at the 14th Junior Water Ski World Championships, Feb. 20-24, in Mulwala, Australia. The United States tallied 7,495.82 points at the biennial event. Australia earned the silver medal with 7,314.44 points and Canada earned the bronze medal with 6,397.79 points. Athletes and teams from 22 countries competed in the five-day event as the world team title and world individual titles in slalom, tricks, jumping and overall were at stake.
Members of the U.S. Junior Water Ski Team were: Erika Lang (Gilbert, Ariz.), Taylor Garcia (Winter Garden, Fla.), Nicholas Lang (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Kara MacIntyre (Knoxville, Tenn.). Nicholas Lang, however, suffered a dislocated elbow in practice on the day before the tournament was scheduled to begin and was unable to compete in the tournament. As a result, Brooke Baldwin (Windermere, Fla.) was elevated from alternate to team member. U.S. athletes competing as independents were: Samantha Dumala (Wellington, Fla.), Anna Gay (Winter Garden, Fla.), Dane Mechler (Loveland, Ohio) and Jaye Morris (San Diego, Calif.). Brenda Baldwin (Windermere, Fla.), Jody Johnson (Collierville, Tenn.) and Dr. Marc Aiken (Johnson City, Tenn.) served as coach, captain and physician, respectively. Dumala won the girls’ slalom gold medal; Garcia won the boys’ jumping gold medal; and Erika Lang won the junior girls’ tricks and overall gold medals. U.S. athletes combined to earn a total of seven medals.
In girls’ tricks, Lang won the gold medal with a score of 8,850 points. Canada’s Neilly Ross earned the silver medal with a score of 6,480 points and Peru’s Natalia Cuglievan earned the bronze medal with 6,190 points. Baldwin placed fourth with 5,730 points and Gay finished sixth with 5,030 points. In girls’ overall, Lang tallied 2,862.45 points in winning the gold medal. Germany’s Chiara Bonnemann earned the silver medal with 2,254.54 points and Great Britain’s Charlotte Wharton earned the bronze medal with 2,105.46 points. Baldwin placed fifth (2,052.48 points) and MacIntyre finished ninth (1,898.38 points).
In girls’ slalom, Dumala won the gold medal, while Erika Lang and MacIntyre earned the silver and bronze medals, respectively. After Dumala and Lang tied with scores of 1 buoy at 38 feet off, Dumala scored 1-1/2 buoys at 35 feet off to Lang's 1 buoy at 35 feet off in the subsequent runoff. MacIntyre earned the bronze medal with a score of 4 buoys at 35 feet off.
In boys’ jumping, Garcia won the gold medal with a distance of 178feet. Great Britain’s Jack Critchley earned the silver medal with a distance of 176 feet and New Zealand’s Ryan Baldwin earned the bronze medal with a distance of 173 feet. Garcia also earned the bronze medal in boys’ overall, tallying 2,523.48 points. Australia’s Josh Briant won the gold medal with 2,919.93 points and Colombia’s Santiago Robledo earned the silver medal with 2,695.63 points.
In other events, Australia’s Josh Briant won the gold medal in boys' tricks, scoring 9,950 points. Italy's Gianmarco Pajni (8,730 points) earned the silver medal and Colombia's Dylan Alvarez (8,620 points) earned the bronze medal. Garcia placed ninth with 5,540 points. Greece's Yiannis Nathanail won the gold medal in boys' slalom (2 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off), while Colombia’s Santiago Robledo (3 buoys at 38 feet off) and Canada's Josh Shaffer(2-1/2 buoys at 38 feet off) earned the silver and bronze medals, respectively. Garcia tied for fourth with a score of 2-1/2 buoys at 38 feet off and Mechler placed 12th with a score of 1-1/2 buoys at 15 feet off. Great Britain’s Charlotte Wharton won the gold medal in girls' jumping (127 feet), while Australia's Stephanie Griffiths earned the silver medal (126 feet) and Poland's Malgorzata Rutkowska earned the bronze medal (119 feet). Lang placed fourth (119 feet) and Morris placed eighth (116 feet).
The United States has won the world team title in 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2010 and 2012. France won in 1998 and 2006. Canada won in 2004.Page 3 For complete results of the 14th Junior Water Ski World Championships, visit www.USAWATERSKI.org