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DOW - The nationally acclaimed skiers from Lake Richard in Dow - Will and Edward Roberts and company - continue to shine in the USA Water Ski Championships.

Will and Edward placed first and third in the “Boys 5” jump competition, respectively, at the 78th USA Water Ski Championships held in Zachary, La., last week. After placing first and second at the 12-state regional championships in Center City, MN., two weeks ago, they traveled south to take on the best the U.S. has to offer. A 16-year-old jumper from California slipped into the second spot, just ahead of Edward.

The third seed of 19 competitors, Edward leaped 164’ on his second jump to lead the event before the remaining two skiers took to the water. The two brothers “high-fived” as they passed each other on their skis when Edward was being dropped off and Will passed by on his way to begin his three-jump round. On his first jump, Will soared 180’ to take the lead. After his three jumps, the second place-finisher, Blaze Grubbs, fell ten feet short of Will’s distance to take home the silver.

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The two brothers have been ski jumping together on Lake Richard in Dow since 2008 when Edward was 4 years old and Will was 6. This was Will’s fourth national championship. Their “Boys 5” division includes all-male skiers 16 and 17 years old (as of January 1, 2020) who have qualifying jumps during the tournament season.

Edward is a three-sport athlete at Jersey Community High School, playing football, basketball, and tennis. Edward also excels academically, currently ranked No. 1 in his class at Jersey. He will be a junior this year.

Will was the MVP on Jersey’s tennis team in 2019 and played for three years before COVID fears resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 season. He also played football for Jersey. He will be leaving Friday to begin his freshman year at the University of Alabama after finishing high school in the top 15 percent of his class in Jersey. Will expects to add to the deep talent of the Alabama ski team in both the slalom and jump events in collegiate skiing, where there are now over 96 teams from across the country who have water ski teams. Last year, Alabama placed second in collegiate skiing at the national competition.

Lake Richard in Dow has produced some of the top young skiers in the nation, particularly in the jump event. Sammy Stackpole finished third in this year’s national jump competition, while her brother Brett (who also skis for the University of Alabama) finished sixth. Brendan and Katie Schultz finished sixth and fourth respectively in their respective age groups in the jump event. In slalom, Sammy placed sixth, Brett placed fourth, Brendan placed 10th and sixth, Brett placed ninth, Edward placed eighth, Brendan placed sixth, and Katie placed 10th. The “overall” competition combines the points earned from all three events and only includes those skiers who ski all three events. Overall, Sammy placed third, Brett placed fifth, Brendan placed sixth and Katie placed sixth.

Nellie Roberts and Sammy Stackpole just completed their collegiate ski careers, graduating from Clemson University and Florida Southern University, respectively, during this past year. Sammy is now enrolled at Logan College of Chiropractic and Nellie begins medical school this week at SIU.

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