The western region has grown the most in 2012. Adding teams like USC, San Diego State, and Washington State. This drove us to add another stop in Southern California in hopes to have more manageable rider numbers.
Lake Elsinore was another epic spot thanks to the best water of the tour and once again Axis and Red Bull for coming in strong. Tim Walters and his crew brought out the Brostock A22 for the day and had the wake dialed in.
J.P Bray, who missed the Chico event for ASU, was here and ready to go. This was the third and final stop for them. With a win it would push them into 1st in the country and where they have trained so hard to be.
It didn’t seem to be a problem. ASU took first in Womens (Chelsea Clark), Open (JP Bray), Intermediate (Todd Scott), and cleaned up in Wakeskate with Cole Kraiss, RJ Pabon, and Anthony Sutton.
Ben Hernstedt was at his second tour stop and continuing to prove his place in College Wakeboarding. Ben once again took 1st in Advanced for Sac State whom after 2 solid back to back events now found themselves sitting 5th nationally.
Ricky Gonzales came out for the day putting on a wake show before heading back to the Lake Elsinore Hotel and Casino to show off his finished Classic Caddy.
Mid November took the tour on a 24 hour drive back to Texas for the second stop in the state. SETx lake in Beaumont is a must each year as it has always provided camping, wild weekends and amazing food.
Texas rolled up in their Longhorn bus bringing the party. Baylor, Texas A&M, North Texas, Texas State and West Florida were also there. With the lake water up and the sun shinning, Dockside Marine’s 2012 Nautique 230 pulled 50 riders from the teams.
Baylor closed out the season claiming 6th followed by new comers Texas State now seated happily in 7th in their first year. Jack Guenther, the Texas State team President, carried the Bobcats in both Dallas and Beaumont taking 2nd and 1st respectively. Texas State also has Chase Schuster on the team who wasn’t able to make the event, but took 1st back in Dallas for the Open Division.
Final stop landed at the Orlando Watersports Complex. You can always count on Florida to have warm days mid November. And with the weather came the top College riders. Florida and Florida State came out swinging with their top riders Freddie Wayne (UF), and Hunter Drury (FSU). These 2 had battled it out back in Atlanta first of October. Both teams came loaded with riders trying to keep the always mighty South Florida at bay. South Florida last season fell to Arizona State in the Semi finals at Lake Las Vegas. However, still have a Championship Title under their belts.
Pate Duddleston of Georgia landed 3rd in Open behind Freddie and Hunter. Pate is Georgia’s new freshman sensation who has come a long way since he rode in Atlanta for the first stop. We really saw this kid mature throughout the season.
Ben Hernstedt of Sac State along with Cole Cattaneo made the long trip to Orlando to represent their team. Ben rode some of the best we have seen all year, but ended up 3rd against the strongest Advanced Division we have seen all year. John Dreiling (UCF) and Chris Water (USF) took 1st in 2nd in that division.
West Florida women’s rider Maggie McDonald was now riding her fourth event of the season. She made her way to the podium at three stops taking 2nd in Atlanta, 2nd in Beaumont, and 3rd in Orlando. Maggie rode the most events this season of any rider.
When the water settled and the most competitive season to date ended it was Arizona State in 1st, Florida in 2nd, Georgia in 3rd, Florida State in 4th and Sac State in 5th. These teams are heading to Las Vegas for the College Wakeboard Championships to compete against the rest of the top 16.
For total results go to “College Wakeboarding Standings” (http://empire-u.blogspot.com/2011/08/standings_26.html)
College Wakeboarding is made possible from local companies as well as national companies. Thanks to the little guys who give everything they have to make this level of competition possible:
Backside Five, Elevated Clothing, MarineMax of Georgia, Dockside Marine(Conroe TX), Buxton Marine (Lewisville TX), Marine Products (Salt Lake City), Woodroze Sunglasses, Slingshot Sports, Dupe Flip Flops and Deep Eddy Vodka (Austin TX)
Also Thanks for a great year: Alpinestars, Smith Optics, Axis Wake, Nautique, GoPro, Red Bull, Monster Energy, KMC Wheels, Buywake.com, Shred Ready Helmets, Orlando Watersports Complex, and Vitamin Water.