(front, left) Avery Sawyer, Shelby Gillian, (back, left) Garrett Black, Brooks Thompson, Matt McCaleb, team adviser Dr. Donna Lindenmeier, Reid Paxton, Robert Dunlap and Patrick Williamson pose while attending the Wakeboard Collegiate Nationals in Shreveport, La.

The Oklahoma State University wakeboard team finished just off the podium at the recent Wakeboard Collegiate Nationals in Shreveport, but its enthusiasm remains high to be competing at that level. The team finished the competition in Louisiana with a win and a third place in two of the men’s divisions and two more teammates made it to the men’s and women’s semifinals at the event.

The team captain, Patrick Williamson, is admittedly proud to share in the success. “We went all the way from not being ranked to being ranked third in the nation,” he said.

In order to compete in Shreveport, the team had to compete in a regional qualifier last fall. “The team won the Louisiana regional qualifier by a pretty big margin,” said Williamson. “I wasn’t able to compete due to an injury, but I’m excited that the team advanced us to nationals.”

Williamson’s absence was noticed. While ranking OSU No. 3, USA Wakeboard noted that the team would need to have a wakeskater by nationals. Wakeskating is similar to wakeboarding, except the rider is not bound to the board in any way, much like the rider of a skateboard. Fortunately, Williamson was able to recover from his injury in time to take the wakeskating position at nationals.

Williamson began wakeboarding after skiing helped provide a chance for he and his father to bond. “My dad lived out in North Carolina and he was a really big slalom skier. Wakeboarding was the thing that caught my attention after skiing. I eventually went from wakeboarding to wakeskating.”

Williamson credits Reid Paxton, who became club president two years ago, for the group’s rise.. “The club was in such disarray, we were so out of whack at the time,” Williamson said. “It’s thanks to Reid that the club is where it is today. Without him, there really would not have been a club.”

Members of the team include Garrett Black, from Skiatook, Okla.; Robert Dunlap, from Edmond, Okla.; Shelby Gillian, from Azel, Texas; Matt McCaleb, from Edmond, Okla.; Paxton, from Southlake, Texas; Avery Sawyer, from Broken Arrow, Okla.; Brooks Thompson, from Ada, Okla.; and Williamson, from Shawnee, Okla.

The team is divided in four sections. Paxton, Black, McCaleb and Thompson are the men’s riders. The women’s riders are Sawyer and Gillian. Dunlap is the team’s individual rider and Williamson is the team’s wakeskater.

Black made it to the men’s B semifinals at nationals, while Paxton won the men’s C division, Thompson placed third in the men’s D division and Avery Sawyer made it to the women’s B semifinals.

The OSU Wakeboard and Water Ski club is open to any OSU undergraduate student who is currently enrolled at the university. All skill levels are welcome. The team trains at Lake Carl Blackwell.

“It’s something to do in your spare time when it’s really hot outside and school is bumming you out,” Williamson laughed.

Story by Kim Hunter

Read more https://news.okstate.edu/press-releases/2814-osus-wakeboard-team-shines-at-national-competition


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