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The USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation is proud to announce

the recipients of our 2023 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

2023 Recipient: Kendra Nathan

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Kendra Nathan of Canyon Lake, California, is the 2023 recipient of the $10,000 Barbara Bolding/Jim Grew Scholarship.  Kendra is an incoming Sophomore at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette majoring in Hospitality Management.


“I am completely honored and overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for the generosity shown by the Bolding family, as well as Jim Grew and the scholarship selection committee. This scholarship will help support my future both on and off the water," Kendra says.


Kendra currently competes on the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Water Ski Team in slalom, trick, and jump. She has also competed in many prestigious events around the world including the Masters, Junior U.S. Open, and Junior Canadian Open. She is a member of the Canyon Lake Ski Club and volunteers as a senior three-event judge for their tournaments as well as for their annual community "Breakfast with Santa" event.


“Being awarded this scholarship will help me take steps to further my aspirations in the hospitality management industry, while continuing to better my skiing and better myself in everyday life," she says.

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.

Kyle P. Tate Scholarship $5,000

2023 Recipient: Joaquin Mendoza

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Joaquin Mendoza of Truckee, California, has been chosen as the 2023 recipient of the $5,000 Kyle P. Tate Scholarship. Joaquin is an incoming Junior at San Diego State University and is studying Computer Science.

“I feel very privileged to be chosen as this year’s Kyle P. Tate scholarship recipient. The waterski community has woven so tightly into my life in college, so receiving such a gracious award for my commitment to this community is an incredibly motivating gesture that I will never take for granted," says Joaquin.

Established in 2022, the Kyle P. Tate Scholarship is awarded to the outstanding male applicant who attends a four-year accredited college and skis primarily in AWSA, NCWSA, or USA-AWSWS tournaments. The applicant must demonstrate excellence in academics, athletics, leadership, and volunteerism.

John Van Gieson Scholarship: $2,500

2023 Recipient: Sean Frietag

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Sean Freitag of Wind Lake, Wisconsin, has been chosen as the 2023 recipient of the $2,500 John Van Gieson Memorial Scholarship. Sean is an incoming Senior at Southern Illinois University studying Automotive Technology.

“I was super excited to get the call being told that I was chosen for the John Van Gieson Scholarship! I’ve worked really hard on and off the water this year to receive a scholarship like this, and it feels good knowing that my hard work has been recognized," Sean says.

This scholarship was established in 2022 in memory of John Van Gieson. John was an avid water skier and was happiest when he was out on the water. John's wife has established this scholarship to help water ski athletes to pursue a college education.

This annual scholarship will be given to a qualifying individual (male or female) from the Midwest Region who attends a two or four-year accredited college or university and water skis in AWSA and/or NCWSA tournaments.

Banana George Blair Ambassador Scholarship: $2,200

2023 Recipient: Markus Mortenson

Markus Mortenson has been chosen as the 2023 recipient of the $2,200 "Banana George" Blair Ambassador Scholarship. Markus is from Plano, Texas and is a Junior at Southern Methodist University studying Engineering.


 "I am honored to receive this scholarship which honors George Blair and the amazing work he did as an ambassador for the sport of waterskiing. I hope to follow my waterski journey in a manner similar to how George did: in a relentless and passionate pursuit while promoting the multi-generational sport," says Markus.


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.

Dave Goode Memorial Scholarship: $2,000

2023 Recipient: Mitchel Kudronowicz

Mitchel Kudronowicz from Muskego, Wisconsin has won the $2,000 Dave Goode Memorial Scholarship. Mitchel is studying Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


"Waterskiing has been a significant part of my life, and thanks to this scholarship, it is clear that it has and will continue to make a positive impact on every aspect of my life," 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.

John Worden Scholarship $2,000

2023 Recipient: Zach Butterfield

Zach Butterfield of Sherman, Texas has been chosen as the 2023 recipient of the $2,000 John Worden Scholarship. Zach is an incoming Senior at Texas A&M University and is studying Mechanical Engineering.


"I am excited to receive this award; it is very pleasing to see how USA-WWF supports collegiate skiers like myself. I am very grateful to the Worden family for their amazing generosity," Zach says.


Established by request of The John Worden Memorial Foundation, the scholarship is given to the qualifying candidate who is an AWSA and/or NCWSA undergraduate student attending college and who is pursuing a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Mathematics (STEM) and demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities and the ability to take an innovative approach to solving problems.

Elmer Stailing/Southern Region Scholarship: $2,000

2023 Recipient: William Blair

William Blair of Mooresville, North Carolina has been chosen as the 2023 recipient of the $2,000 Elmer Stailing Southern Region Scholarship. William is an incoming freshman at the University of Alabama and will be studying engineering.


"I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support, encouragement, and guidance of my Southern Region Water Ski Family through my junior skiing years, and I will always be grateful!" William says.

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  Scholarships: $1,500

2023 Recipients: Brooke Elfert & Keelie Plessner

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The family of Tim Olson says there were so many great applicants for the Foundation scholarships this year that they wanted to double up and award two Tim Olson Memorial Scholarships once again in 2023.


First up... Brooke Elfert has been chosen as one of the recipients of the $1,500 Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship. Brooke is from Stillwater, Minnesota, and is an incoming freshman at the University of Northern Colorado. She plans to study Nursing and Spanish.

"I am so honored to be selected for this scholarship, and beyond thankful for everything the waterski community has done for me!" says Brooke.

Keelie Plessner of Eagan, Minnesota, has also been named a recipient of the $1,500 Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship. Keelie will be a junior this fall, studying Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"I am beyond excited to be granted the Tim Olson Scholarship. It is an honor to represent this foundation while being able to focus on my education and further promote the sport I love," says Keelie.

The family and friends of Tim Olson established the Tim Olson Memorial Scholarship. 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

2023 Recipient: Megan Adams

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Megan Adams of Center City, Minnesota has been chosen as the 2023 recipient of the $1,500 Jennifer Odom/Dave Kammerer Memorial Scholarship. Megan is a Junior World Barefoot Overall Champion and an Open Women's Competitor. She will be an incoming Junior at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and is studying Engineering. This is the third consecutive year Megan has won this scholarship!

 "I am very grateful and honored to receive this scholarship from USA Water Ski and Wake Sports Foundation. This scholarship will help me pay for my education while I also focus on barefoot waterskiing. Thank you, USA Water Ski and Wake Sports Foundation, for providing many scholarships to help college students who are involved in water sports," says Megan


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

2023 Recipient: Gabrielle Klemm

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Gabrielle Klemm of San Diego, California is the winner of the $1500 "Big Al" Wagner - Western Region Scholarship. Gabrielle is a Junior, studying Nursing at San Diego State University.

"I am deeply grateful for the invaluable support extended to student-athletes through these scholarships. This scholarship empowers me to strike a harmonious balance; pursuing my nursing career while still being able to fulfill my passions on the water," Gabrielle 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

2023 Recipient: Emma Applegate

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Emma Applegate of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, has won the $1000 Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship. Emma is a sophomore 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 2023 Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship. It will greatly help me towards my water skiing dreams and aspirations!" says Emma, who trains at Hobe Lake Ski Club in Hobe Sound, Florida.

This is the third year of the Florida Water Ski Federation Scholarship, which is open to three-event water ski athletes who currently attend a college or university and whose primary residence is in Florida.


"I am so honored to be chosen. I can’t wait to see where waterskiing takes me in the future!" says Emma.

Kent Williams & Alton Ball Kingsmen Scholarship $1,000

2023 Recipient: Matthew Leach

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Matthew Leach of Round Rock, Texas, has been chosen as the 2023 recipient of the $1,000 Kent Williams & Alton Ball Kingsmen Scholarship. Matthew is an incoming Senior at Texas State University and is studying Communications.

"This scholarship will help my education by alleviating some of the stress of balancing my work, life, school, and ski balance. I am starting my final year attending Texas State University and this scholarship will help relieve some stress as classes get harder while I also plan my career after college," says Matthew.


The Kent Williams and Alton Ball Kingsmen Scholarship is awarded annually to a South Central Water Skier who has participated in the South Central Regionals and can be either an incoming Freshman or a current undergraduate in a four-year college or university.

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. 

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