Wilmington NC, October 10th, 2009: Teams rolled into the coastal city to be the first to battle for the shot at the CWS National Championships in Austin Texas. In state rivals North Carolina State lead by Nicole Steele and University of North Carolina at Wilmington with their new leader Drew Heath were the 2 teams to watch this event. Both equal in numbers, and both close to home, this day could go either way.
First in the water to kick off the 2009 Collegiate Wake Series season was NC State’s Cameron Brown. The beginner division was packed and went back and forth all morning. In a rare win for a rider first in the water, Cameron took home first.
The next division out was the women’s where President Nicole Steel destroyed the competition. Leaving the other 3 women to fend for themselves. Amanda Phillips (UNCW) and Anna Petrea(UNCW) took second and third.
UNCW took the lead when it out manned the Intermediate division with Wayne Woolard II, but was hammered back down as NC State loaded advanced. It was Matt Hemrick, the only UNCW advanced rider, who took home first and saved what could have been a heart breaking defeat. Ricky Everington and Blake Pace followed him up.
The Wilmington team had saved the best for last. Their open division was unstoppable as it took all 3 podium spots lead by Justin Sellers, and Justin Barnes.
Gainesville Marina, Lake Lanier Georgia, October 24th 2009: The Axis 22 helped Florida State University steamroll its 29 rider team over all that tried to get in their way. Lead by team President Mason Masters, FSU placed riders on the podium in every division.
A late Central Florida charge that brought the battle closer. Mark Solty and Trey Bivins took second and third in Advanced while Austin Hair(1st) and Arron Able(3rd) did their part in Open cutting the FSU lead down.
South Florida also came prepared with a solid team headed by Chris Waters(1st Advanced) and Derek Dyer who was second in open and first in Wakeskate. They rode strong but just couldn’t handle the size of the Florida State powerhouse.
Georgia State, Georgia College, Virginia Tech, and Gainesville St, all gave it their best picking away at some of the top spots to keep FSU at bay.
When the water settled and the awards were given, 6 teams emerged victorious. UNCW, FSU, UCF, NC State, USF, and Georgia State, are all heading to Austin Texas April 15th to ride for the top 16 teams in the country.
Individual riders, Clay Martin of Cape Fear Community College and Jay Vinson of University of Georgia will be heading to Austin to compete for their schools as well.
It was 2 strong weekends of great riding and fun events. All the schools fought hard to get their teams to the championships. With the support of Axis Wake, Buywake.com, Pro-Tec helmets, Freestyle Watches, Smith Optics, Dry Case, and Fat Sac, it couldn’t have gone much better…
…And that is how the South was Done!
For complete list of winners and team standings go to EmpireWake.com
Check out all the photos by Jason Hudson at www.jkellerphotography.com/cw/