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Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
THS grad leads TSU water ski team to title
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY -- In a stunning upset victory over favored Purdue, Texas State University came from behind to win the 2011 National Collegiate Water Ski Association (NCWSA) Division 2 National Championship. Though quick to credit the hard work of her teammates for the improvement over last year’s 4th place finish, team captain and 2007 Trinity graduate Camille Tyler believes her high school teachers also contributed to the victory at this year’s championships, held October 13-15 in Zachary, La. “After all the teams qualified, I downloaded the results from each regional tournament and used what I learned in high school accounting to create a spreadsheet to analyze the performances of every skier on the contending teams,” said Tyler. “It’s a lot of data, but organizing it by event, school and rotation gave us a much clearer picture of what we needed to do to give ourselves a chance to win.” Collegiate water ski teams ski in rotations of five men and five women each in the three different events: slalom, tricks and jumping. The top four placements for each school are added for the team’s score in each event, then the three men’s and three women’s events are combined to determine the overall National Champion. It’s a complicated numbers game, with lots of wildcards. Jumping to a Big Lead Just as the spreadsheet predicted, Texas State’s top-ranked women’s jump team won convincingly, with Amanda Stevenson of Conroe and Tyler winning individual medals. The men’s team jumped over their No. 3 ranking to win as well, with personal bests by every member with TSU’s Austin West placing 4th. At the end of the first day of competition, TSU held a comfortable 565-point lead over Iowa, with Purdue a close third. Falling behind in Slalom The Bobcats expected the top-ranked Purdue slalom team to cut into their lead, but they didn’t count on the sub par scores that left them in a 330-point hole as day two ended. The championship would come down to the final trick events, and the data gave them hope. Tricking to the Title The last day began as predicted, with Texas State’s top-ranked women’s trick team winning with strong performances top to bottom, putting Tyler on the podium in 3rd, Stevenson 5th, and Jessica Lee 7th. But even with Purdue’s lead now cut in half, the team would need a little luck to take the title. It came in the form of TSU’s men all scoring career bests, and Wildcards Clemson and Cal State Chico placing enough skiers between TSU and Purdue for the Bobcats to win the title by a slim 45-point margin, 7,215 to 7170. Leading to Victory A communication design major who transferred from Texas A&M, Tyler has won eight individual NCWSA National medals for two different schools, yet she considers this her crowning achievement. “I spent more time this year coaching the other skiers than actually practicing myself, and it paid off. Some of them have been competing less than a year, but they worked hard to improve, and skied hard to win,” Tyler said. “As a team we won three of the six events, eight individual medals, and the championship. When I was six my sister Elyse was captain of the 1995 National Championship team at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and now I’ve got one too.” Though 2011 was Tyler’s final year of eligibility, she will continue to serve on the NCWSA board where she chairs the National Marketing and Membership committee.