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The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees team photo. 

Image: Tara Ross

Sarasota Ski-A-Rees team members dressed as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Chewbacca and a band of storm troopers strapped on their skis this past weekend to make history as the first Florida team to win a national waterskiing championship.

 Making its first appearance at the show ski nationals since 1998, Ski-A-Rees returned home in triumph, carrying the national team title from the 43rd Indmar Marine Engines Division I Show Ski National Championships in Rockford, Illinois. The team’s one-hour winning performance was titled Star Wars: The Skiquel, featuring team members as characters from the popular movie series.

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A boat of stormtroopers. 

Image: Tara Ross

“We’ve worked so hard the last two years on this show, our team and our home site. Winning Nationals just makes all of the hard work worth it,” Brad Satterlee, president of Sarasota Ski-A-Rees, says.

The competition ran Aug. 11-13, featuring over 1,500 athletes and 14 teams from all over the U.S. Sarasota Ski-A-Rees earned a total of 2,032.56 points, scoring above the second place team with 1,850.4 points. Sarasota Ski-A-Rees received high-scoring awards for showmanship, sound crew total, overall show, ballet, swivel, star doubles and jump.

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Imperial guards invade the scene. 

Image: Tara Ross

Individual members of the Sarasota Ski-A-Rees team competed alone in the adagio doubles, team jumping, freestyle jumping and swivel. Darian LeBlanc won the Willa Cook award, an honor given to the tournament’s top female performer. Clint Gordon and Trina Sawaksa placed second in adagio doubles, and Nick Vickers and Kirsten Hannabass placed third in adagio doubles. The whole team won team jumping, and member Garrett Bouley won freestyle jumping.

 “The determination and hard work that we have put into this has paid off and the never ending support of our friends, family, and community has been a backbone of our success,” Darian LeBlanc, a team member, says.

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Chewbacca and Han Solo. 

Image: Tara Ross

The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees team will be performing at 2 p.m. every Sunday in the fall starting on Sept. 24. More information can be found here. 

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