The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Summer sports on the horizon

While the majority of UW-Eau Claire students use the Chippewa River as a way to cool off and float during the summer, a small collective of athletes hit the water with a dedication to developing themselves in their chosen sports.

Senior political science major Max Docksey has served as captain of UW-Eau Claire’s club wakeboarding team since around the time he started at the university.

In his experience with the team, Docksey said while the time frame of practice is different than traditional season sports due to weather, the amount of work put in by him and his riders is as rigorous as any other.

Docksey said although a fair amount of their season lands in the fall and national competition picks up in the late spring, successful wakeboarders distinguish themselves through their discipline and input during the summer months.

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Similar to many club teams at the university, Docksey said his group functions without coaches, and instead is run by the more experienced riders on the team.

Given their lack of university support in comparison to the likes of Blugold athletic teams such as football or track, Docksey said the wakeboarding team is fortunate to have the equipment and means to get out on the water — in his case a boat to pull behind.

The wakeboarding team’s boat belongs to the award-winning Chippewa Valley Ski Sprites water ski team. Luckily for Docksey and his team, the wakeboarders have formed a close enough relationship with the Sprites to share their boat.

While budgeting time on the water between the two groups is important, Docksey said the sharing has been a smooth-sailing experience so far.

“We’ve done a lot to make sure that boat fits the needs of both sports it accommodates,” Docksey said. “You’ll find that a lot of our guys will go out on rides with the Ski Sprites all summer long … we’re lucky to have such a solid relationship with them.”

On the other side of the spectrum, veteran Ski Sprite Brittany Weber said while time consuming, her sport is worth the commitment it calls for because of her relationship with her team.

“I think the biggest difference in summer sports is the amount of time it allows your to bond with your teammates,” Weber said. “We love spending time together and I think that really helps us grow as a team.”

Docksey said he agrees summer sports create a sense of community — he feels they allow him to branch out and form relationships with athletes from different universities, given the spread of competition his sport offers.

“Over the summer you’ll find yourself riding with a bunch of people from other teams … a bunch of my friends ride for Madison,” Docksey said. “So I’m always practicing with them over the summer.”

Freshman lacrosse player Greg Cameron said as a traditionally seasoned athlete in a club sport, he admires the sacrifices these athletes make in order to practice successfully over the summer.

“You have to sort of step back and realize that there’s nothing forcing them to be here during the summer,” Cameron said. “They could be home with their family but a lot of these athletes put forth the time to make their sport happen.”

Right now, the river is swelling, and so is the anticipation of these summer athletes as their season begins full swing.

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Summer sports on the horizon