Collegiate Wakeboarding: Catching up with MSU
Collegiate wakeboarding is a fun and fast growing sport in the college world, and an important part of wakeboarding as a whole. As we all know very few schools actually have college teams, but they could! Here is an interview with a student of Mississippi State University that decided he wanted a wakeboarding team, and after over coming some struggles, that is exactly what he got! Now its time for them to get this party started!
Alliance: Lets start with the serious stuff. How hard can your collegiate wakeboard team party?
MSU (Enrique Martinez – President and Founder): Let’s put it this way, a collegiate wakeboard party doesn’t start until we get there. We are a bunch of ladies and gents that are experts at throwing down. We have even won prizes at competitions for the best booty shaking at the bar. Partying is to us, what water is to fish… We need it to survive.
A: When did the team get started?
MSU: I’ve had the idea of starting the team for a year and a half, but I felt like I was the only one that wanted to compete. At the beginning of the 2012 Spring semester I convinced myself to at least try and get something going and see if it could last. I came up with a club constitution and turned in the application for the team. On March 1st the university approved the team, and as soon as we had our group page up the team exploded with interest and riders willing to shred.
A: What kind of struggles did you guys have to overcome to get the team running?
MSU: The team had a few struggles in the beginning. We had no place to practice, we didn’t have a tournament boat, and the state of Mississippi had no collegiate wakeboard tour. We had to figure out what amount of money would be manageable for our team dues so we talked to other teams around the nation to come up with a fair amount.
A: Who are the current members of the Mississippi State University Wakeboard Club?
MSU: Well you guys know wakeboarders; you never know how many people will end up showing up. Our Facebook page has around a hundred members but our competition members are as follows. Jack Strahan, Austin Henderson, Dillon Shiyou, Mark Miller, Reilly Bourgeois, Grayson Cagle, Mary Becca Riley, Alta Knizley, Stephen Roberson, Jared Entrekin, Emily Clark, Andrew Scotch, Andrew Wilson, and me, Enrique Martinez.
A: What tournaments do you wish to compete in within the next year?
MSU: We have currently been competing in the Louisiana Collegiate Wakeboard Tour. But we are planning to also be part of USAWaterski Regionals and hopefully qualify a team to Nationals (the Alt Games). We are also planning to host a battle over the Mississippi (River) where all teams from Louisiana compete against the Mississippi teams, and the winner gets bragging rights for the year.
A: What are you and your team doing to grow the wake program at your school and how are you letting other students know the program exists?
MSU: Currently we have a Twitter account and a Facebook page. These have been great for spreading the word around on social media. Around campus we have had tent events where we bring boats out and some products from our sponsors and contributors to give away. These events allow us to get students interested and pumped up for the team and the collegiate world of wakeboarding.
A: In your opinion, what is collegiate wakeboarding lacking?
MSU: In the world of collegiate wakeboarding, riders do not ride for money, and they don’t ride for big sponsors who give them everything. We ride for pride and our school. Every competition is like a college basketball final four, and if the media would notice this and could film our events it would be great for the sport. That way we can throw bigger and better events and have more companies willing to help out teams and events.
A: What are the up sides of being on a collegiate wakeboard team?
MSU: It is awesome to be around a great group of people to grow from and learn new things from on and off the water. Also the great discounts our sponsors throw our way are pretty nice. Especially Redbull, we love some Redbull.
A: What did MSUWC think about competing in their first wakeboarding tournament?
MSU: Everyone on the team is in love with the collegiate wakeboard tour scene. In our first tournament we were able to place fourth and the whole team was extremely pleased. Nick McDonald and Megan Louviere have been doing a really good job at throwing events for the Louisiana tour. Riding in elite places such as Bennett’s Ski School in Zachary, Louisiana is just another privilege that we have been able to enjoy.
A: What kind of support has the school giving your team?
MSU: So far we are a student run and funded organization. We are currently working with the University to be able to have the school help the team with money and travel expenses. Our riders are very dedicated to the team so no matter how far the trip or gas money we will always show up and make a statement.
A: What kind of support has the community giving your team?
MSU: We are lucky to be in a community where everyone is willing to help out the team. Our coaches John Burris, Nathan Strange, and Monica Holland are dedicated to helping us become better riders everyday. The Tombigbee Stump Jumpers and the Laws family have been great for letting us use The Shoals on the Tombigbee River to practice and hang out. Also our faculty advisor Mrs. Brenda Cavenaugh has helped us every step of the way to becoming a team and part of the water sports local community.
A: How many schools around you have wakeboarding teams and who’s your rival?
MSU: We are currently the only collegiate team in the state of Mississippi. We are helping Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) get a team started so that we can continue our long sports rivalry with them and also just to be better than them at yet another sport. We compete against LSU, ULM, ULL, LA Tech, Southeastern Louisiana, and Nichols State. All the guys are great but with LSU being in the SEC we would like to beat them once the tour starts up again.
A: What is the colligate competition like?
MSU: Competing at a collegiate level is completely different than just riding with friends. Sitting at the dock it feels like you have a knot in your stomach ready to go on your run. Two falls, that’s all you get or your run is over. A rider’s nerves are high and before you ride your thinking of what tricks you want to throw. After the run you are either upset because you weren’t able to throw your run, or you are super stoked knowing that you nailed everything. It’s an awesome experience that can’t be matched by anything else in this world. And of course, competitions are basically a weekend long party. If you ever find yourself at a collegiate competition and you hear cowbells, you’ve found the Mississippi State team.
A: Where does the MSUWC train and how often do you train?
MSU: We practice on the Tombigbee River in Columbus MS. We are there every weekend and most days during the week after getting out of classes.
A: What are your requirements to be on the team?
MSU: The only requirements we have is that the member has to be a student at Mississippi State, is in good standing with the university, pays dues, and knows how to party.
A: What are your ultimate goals for the team?
MSU: The ultimate goal for all the teams is winning nationals. We have a great group of riders that have a great chance at giving teams around the nation a run for their money. We are the new kids around but people are beginning to hear about Mississippi State Wake. Another one of our goals is to win Alliance Wake team of the year.
A: Any thanks or shout outs you’d like to give?
MSU: We are really thankful for our partnerships with companies around the area. Big shout outs to The Boards Nest in Tupelo, MS and the owner Nathan Strange, Smith Marine in Jackson MS, Slingshot Wakeboards, WRage Winches, Dj GloTron, Jeremy Baker with Hyperlite, Mrs. Brenda Cavenaugh, The Holland Family, Nick “The Boss” McDonald, John Burris, Dustin Schumacher and Luke Short with Redbull for providing all the great product, and lastly the great Mississippi State University.
A: And the last and most serious questions, how many hot chicks (or hot guys) are in collegiate wakeboarding?
MSU: Wakeboarders are athletes, athletes are sexy, sexy+bathingsuits=Hotness. The real reason why sunglasses are popular in the world of wakeboarding is because guys and girls are constantly checking each other out without getting caught. So to answer your question, there is unlimited amount of eye candy in collegiate wakeboarding.