Florida Southern College finished third at the National Collegiate Water Ski Association Championships for the second year in a row. The impressive finish came in spite of an injury that prevented Eastern Regional Champion Thibault Dailand from competing.
FSC Head Coach Roger Skalko said the loss of Dailand dealt a huge blow to the Moc’s national title hopes.
“I was hoping to do better, but losing Thibault was a big hurt to the team,” Skalko said. “Our jumping and tricking were our weak points and Thibault excels in both of them. He could’ve broken the trick record.”
Skalko believes the absence of Dailand not only hurt the Mocs’ final score, but it affected the performance of those who did compete.
“The men went out individually thinking, ‘I’m going to make up for Thibault,’ and so they went out trying to compensate and it didn’t work out,” Skalko said.
Sophomore Lauren Morgan, who repeated as the women’s jump champion, believes that if not for the injury to Dailand, the Mocs could be the national champions right now.
“[Losing Dailand] was huge. He’s our best scorer in all three events, so it adds up,” Morgan said. “I think we would’ve gotten second, for sure, and just having that confidence I think we could’ve gotten first.”
Despite her individual win and the success of the women’s team, Morgan was still disappointed by the overall result which is determined by combining the men’s and women’s scores.
“It’s hard because our women’s team is so strong compared to the other schools,” Morgan said. “Losing [Dailand] really hurt. We really wanted a chance to win but it’ll come.”
Joining Morgan as individual champions were freshman K.C. Wilson, who won the men’s slalom competition, helping him to finish tied for sixth place in the overall standings and senior Manon Costard who finished second in the slalom, fifth in jumping and won the tricks competition, on her way to becoming the women’s overall champion.
The efforts of Morgan, Costard and junior Ali Lindy helped the Mocs to repeat as champions in the women’s competition. The result earned high praise from Skalko.
“The girls are my workhorses. I have three of the top girls in the world,” Skalko said.
The competition marked the last chance at a national championship for the four seniors on the roster.
“We had quite a few seniors this year and they were really striving to win it,” Skalko said. “They knew all the stars had to line up right, but they could have won. It just didn’t happen.”