The MasterCraft Skyview Open for women's slalom skiers will return to Skyview Lake in Harmony, NC this weekend (August 26th - 27th) with 18 of the world's best in the sport attending.
The Women Athletes
The field will include seven of the top 10 skiers in the world rankings and 13 of the top 20, starting with No. 1 Sarah Green of Great Britain, No. 2 Regina Jaquess of Atlanta, No. 3 Natalie Hamrick, a native of Greenville, S.C., and No. 4 Karen Truelove Krueger, a Raleigh native and North Carolina graduate.
The cash-prize tournament is in its third year and will offer the second-largest purse of 2006 for women's slalom, $16,000.
Preliminary rounds are Saturday, and Sunday's finals will feature head-to-head competition for the first time at the Skyview event.
Saturday's seeding rounds will start at 8 a.m. The top 16 will advance to Sunday's head-to-head rounds, beginning at 10 a.m.
"It's the most fun in the world," tournament director Dana Reed of Hickory said of the head-to-head format. "The skiers love it. Whoever wins is not only the best skier but usually the skier in the best shape, because she'll ski four times in 31/2 hours. The finalists -- the top four -- will ski four times in 31/2 hours, because we'll (also) run off third and fourth."
Jaquess, a senior pharmacy major at Louisiana-Monroe, is the reigning Skyview Open champion and is also the reigning world overall champion for slalom, tricks and jump.
Hamrick, who lives in Switzerland, has come closest of any to breaking the world record and will potentially have six chances at it this weekend.
"Natalie Hamrick is half a buoy off the world record," Reed said. "I really think she's going to run 39 here. She'll have six shots at it if she makes the finals. She is by far the favorite."
The world record, set by Kristi Overton Johnson in 1996, is one buoy at 41 feet off the 75-foot tow rope. Hamrick got half a buoy at 41 off in a European tournament this summer.
Others in the field at Skyview are Michelle Simpson, No. 6 in the world; No. 7 Jill Knutson; No. 9 Lori Krueger; No. 11 Marina Most; No. 13 April Coble-Eller of Lillington; No. 17 Jennifer Leachman LaPoint; No. 18 Carly Clifton; No. 19 Whitney McClintock; No. 20 Jaime Metcalf; No. 21 Breanne Wagner and No. 22 Rhoni Barton Bischoff.
"These are world-class athletes," Reed said. "They're not just water skiers. If they were doing another sport, they would be excelling at it." The tournament will be pulled exclusively by MasterCraft Boats.
For directions to this exciting event, click on the link below: Skyview Lake - Harmony, NC