2022 SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
The USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation is proud to announce the winners of our 2022 Scholarships!
USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation scholarships are awarded each year to water skiers and riders who show leadership abilities and demonstrate that involvement in the sport has helped them grow both personally and academically.
USA-WWF is honored to have the following outstanding individuals
represent our sport both on and off the water:
Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship: $10,000
2022 Recipient: Lexi Berens
Alexa Berens of Prior Lake, Minnesota is the 2022 recipient of the $10,000 Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship. Lexi is a Senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Biology.
"I’m thankful for this opportunity granted to me by the USA Waterski & Wake Sports Foundation. The two most important things in my life are my education and waterskiing. Throughout my college career it has been an honor promoting and spreading the joy of the amazing waterski community," says Lexi.
Lexi is a scion of the water skiing community and does it all. She skied her first ski show at Tommy Bartlett's when she was just 12 years old and skied there until the legendary show closed down.
Lexi currently competes on the University of Wisconsin's Collegiate Water Ski Team where she competes in all three events: slalom, tricks, and jumping. Lexi and the team qualified for D1 Collegiate Nationals and the Collegiate All-Stars tournament.
Lexi is also captain of the Twin Cities River Rats Waterski Show Team where she performs in several acts including Swivel. She competes in the open division of the Flaunt It Tour and has won several competitions. Lexi is also an amazing barefooter and trains in Florida at the World Barefoot Center several times a year.
The Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship was established in 2001 and is given to a qualifying female who attends a four-year accredited college and skis primarily in AWSA, NCWSA, or USA-AWSWS tournaments.
Dave Goode Scholarship: $7,000
2022 Recipient: Ryan Houser
Ryan Houser from Morrow, Ohio has won the $7,000 Dave Goode Memorial Scholarship. Ryan will be attending Purdue University and is pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering.
"I am incredibly honored to receive such an award from a Foundation that represents innovation in a sport that has been a massive part of my life and my family for so long," he says.
The Dave Goode Memorial Scholarship was established in 2021 and is awarded to Midwest Region skiers who are pursuing a career in Engineering or Mathematics.
"With this award from the Dave Goode Memorial Foundation, the financial burden I have undertaken by attending Purdue has been lessened," Ryan says. "For that, I cannot thank Dawn Goode, the Foundation, and the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation enough."
George Blair Ambassador Scholarship: $3,000
2022 Recipient: Charlsey Newman
Charlsey Newman of McDonald, Tennessee has been chosen as the 2022 recipient of the $3000 "Banana George" Blair Ambassador Scholarship. Charlsey is a Senior at Rollins College majoring in Sociology, American Studies, and Professional Writing.
"I am honored and grateful for the "Banana" George Blair Ambassador Scholarship granted to me by the USA Waterski and Wakesports Foundation. I have grown up in the sport as a three-event competitor and appreciate the continued support from the Foundation," says Charlsey.
Charlsey is a three-event water ski event competitor in AWSA and NCWSA, a member of the NCWSA Board of Directors and the very first female appointed announcer at the 2022 USAWS Nationals (recipient of the Tommy Bartlett Announcers Award.)
In the same spirit that made him a legend, "Banana George" Blair continued to give back to water sports and the foundation throughout his life. George's family has created this scholarship to give student-athletes an opportunity to earn a college education while pursuing their water sports dreams. This scholarship is open to all water sports disciplines.
Southern Region/Elmer Stailing Scholarship: $2,000
2022 Recipient: Nicholas Kerr
For the second year in a row, Nicholas Kerr of Forsyth, Georgia has been chosen as the recipient of the Elmer Stailing Southern Region Scholarship. Nicholas is a junior at the University of Georgia majoring in Biology.
"This serves as another reminder of the benefits of water skiing and investing time into the water skiing community. I hope to use my time and talents to give back to the waterskiing community as a thank you for this scholarship," says Nicholas.
The Elmer Stailing Southern Region Scholarship is awarded every year to an AWSA Southern
Regional Competitor and qualified student who is registered in a College or University. It has been funded by the Southern Region since 1990.
Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship: $1,500
2022 Recipients: Matayla DeBruin & Paige Peshina
The family of Tim Olson says there were so many great applicants for the Foundation scholarships this year... they wanted to double up and award two Tim Olson Memorial Scholarships in 2021.
First up... Matayla De Bruin has been chosen as one of the winners of the $1,500 Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship. Matayla will be a senior this fall, studying nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"I am so thankful to receive the Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship," she says. "Tim Olson had an amazing legacy, especially in water skiing and show skiing. He was so generous and always had a passion for improving and growing the sport. Tim Olson was an amazing instructor and show skier. I am so honored to continue on his legacy."
And for the second year in a row, Paige Peshina has been named a recipient of the $1500 Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship. Paige is from Malvern, Ohio, and is a sophomore at Rollins College majoring in social entrepreneurship. She is a swivel ski coach and instructor and will be competing on the U.S. Team this fall in the 2022 World Show Ski World Championships in Winter Haven, Florida.
The Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship was established by the family and friends of Tim Olson. A special provision of the scholarship is that it is to be given to a wakeboarder or show skier.
Jennifer Odom/Dave Kammerer Scholarship: $1,500
2022 Recipient: Megan Adams
Megan Adams of Center City, Minnesota has once again been chosen as the recipient of the $1500 Jennifer Odom/Dave Kammerer Memorial Scholarship. Megan is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Duluth majoring in Engineering.
"I feel honored and grateful to win this amazing scholarship from USA Waterski & Wake Sports Foundation. The sport of barefoot waterskiing will always be a big part of my life and I will continue to share and grow the sport while in college," says Megan who is a Junior World Barefoot Overall Champion and Open Women's Competitor.
The Jennifer Odom/David Kammerer Memorial Scholarship was established in 2008. Jennifer Odom was a junior girl national competitor who was abducted near her home in Pasco County, Florida in February of 1993. She was later found murdered. David Kammerer of Excelsior, Minnesota was a former Mens 2 National Overall Champion and “old school” barefooter. He died in a plane crash in July of 2007.
"Big Al" Wagner/Western Region Scholarship: $1,500
2022 Recipient: Blaze Grubbs
Blaze Grubbs of Rio Lina, California is the winner of the $1500 "Big Al" Wagner - Western Region Scholarship. Blaze is an incoming freshman, planning to study Aeronautical Management Technology at Arizona State University.
Blaze has also previously won the USA-WWF Dr. J.D. Morgan Boys 5 Scholarship in 2020 and 2021, awarded to the National Overall Champion at the U.S. Nationals.
"This scholarship means a lot to me because it shows that there are people within our incredible sport who really care about young skiers' futures. Thank you to the Morgan family and others for their generous donations and I look forward to paying-it-forward to young skiers in the future," Blaze says.
The "Big Al" Wagner/Western Region Scholarship is given annually to an AWSA Western Region Skier qualified for the Western Regional Water Ski Tournament.
Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship: $1,000
2022 Recipient: Emma Applegate
Emma Applegate of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida has won the $1000 Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship. Emma is an incoming Freshman at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin majoring in Exercise Science in the Direct Entry Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program.
"I am so grateful for the 2022 Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship. It will greatly help me towards my water skiing dreams and aspirations!" says Emma who spends summers skiing on Lake Harding in Alaska.
The Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship is open to three-event water ski athletes who compete in the Florida State Water Ski Championships and are currently registered students in a college or university.
Avila Family Scholarships: $2,500
2022 Recipients: Kendra Nathan & Sierra Klinchurch
The Avila Family is giving back to the Western Region... again. This time, two young water ski athletes will benefit from the Avila Family's two new college scholarships established this year.
First up, Kendra Nathan of Canyon Lake, California has been chosen as the recipient of the $2500 Richard Avila Scholarship. Kendra will be a Freshman at the University of Louisiana - Lafayette majoring in Education.
Kendra was also the recipient of the 2018 AWSA Girls2 Overall Scholarship in the amount of $500 and the 2020 Linda Giddens Girls 4 Overall Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. Those awards were held in escrow by the foundation and will now be released for Kendra's tuition.
Sierra Klinchuch of Caldwell, Idaho is the recipient of the $2500 Lucille Avila Ortiz Scholarship. Sierra will be a Freshman at Florida Southern College and plans to become a dentist.
"It’s an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to receive this scholarship. I am grateful for the financial assistance that will help me focus more on my education, my skiing, and time with my team," says Sierra.
The Richard Avila and Lucille Avila Ortiz Scholarships are awarded to athletes that preferably compete in National Water Ski Racing Association (NWSRA) events. If there are not any applicants from the NWSRA, then the water ski applicants must demonstrate strong athletic abilities, strong academic standings, and be involved in good community service projects in the Western region of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports.
Established in 1968, the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation, preserves and celebrates the history of all towed water sports and promotes these sports through our Scholarship Programs and the Water Ski & Wake Sports Hall of Fame.