2011 Awards' Recipients Selected

Nov. 28, 2011, 9:25 a.m. (ET)
Freddy Krueger (Winter Garden, Fla.) and Jessica Radmilovic (Pine Grove, Calif.) have been selected USA Water Ski's 2011 Male Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively. The U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team earned USA Water Ski's 2011 Team of the Year honors and Matthew Oberholtz (Oroville, Calif.), the coach of the 2011 U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team, was selected USA Water Ski's National Coach of the Year. The USA Water Ski Awards Committee selected the award winners.

In addition, the USA Water Ski Awards Committee announced that Brenda Baldwin (Windermere, Fla.) is the recipient of USA Water Ski's Award of Merit, the organization's highest award for a volunteer. Bonnie Ruston (La Palma, Calif.) is the Volunteer of the Year and Noah Flegel (Lighthouse Point, Fla.) is the recipient of the organization's That’s Incredible Award.

Krueger, Radmilovic and the U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team will now be considered for the United States Olympic Committee's SportsMan, SportsWoman and Sports Team of the Year awards, which will be announced in January. Oberholtz will be considered for the USOC’s National Coach of the Year award, which also will be announced in January.

Freddy KruegerKrueger, now a nine-time recipient of the Male Athlete of the Year award, won the gold medal in men's jumping at the XVI Pan American Games, Oct. 20-23, in Chapala, Mexico. Krueger earned the top seed for the finals of men's jumping with a Pan American Games-record distance of 221 feet in the preliminary round. Krueger also won his fourth career men’s world jumping title and won titles at the Masters, LA Night Jam, Militia Sac-Town Gold Rush, Global Invitational, GOODE Water Ski National Championships, London Night Jump and Katy Ski Jam.

Jessica RadmilovicRadmilovic won five medals, including one gold medal and four silver medals at the 10th Disabled Water Ski World Championships. She won the gold medal in women's seated slalom (4.00/37), establishing a new women's MP2 world record. She earned silver medals in women's seated tricks (340 points), jumping (45 feet/13.6 meters) and overall (2,816.91 points). She also earned the silver medal in women's tournament overall (among all women competitors). In the preliminary round, Radmilovic tied the existing women's MP2 world tricks record with a score of 780 points. She also contributed a team-high 2,816.91 points to the U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team’s gold-medal winning tally of 12,129.90 points.

Matt Oberholtz, photo courtesy John LipscombThe U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team won the world team gold medal and five U.S. team members won individual medals at the 10th Disabled Water Ski World Championships. Ten athletes represented the 2011 U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team at the biennial event. A total of 38 athletes from 13 countries participated in the championships. The United States tallied 12,129.90 points in winning the gold medal for the second consecutive time and the sixth time in the history of the event. Within each event (slalom, tricks and jumping), athletes were grouped into the three categories of seated (paraplegics and quadriplegics), standing (arm and/or leg disabilities with or without prosthesis) and vision impaired (partially or totally blind). U.S. team members earned a total of 12 individual medals, including four gold medals, five silver medals and three bronze medals. Members of the U.S. Disabled Water Ski Team were: William Furbish (Atlanta, Ga.), MP1; Chad Guzman (Gilbert, Ariz.), MP3; Katie Mawby (Grand Haven, Mich.), V2/3; Matt Oberholtz (Oroville, Calif.), MP3; Robbie Parks (Lexington, N.C.), MP2; Jessica Radmilovic (Pine Grove, Calif.), MP2; Joe Ray (Wilsonville, Ala.), MP2; Daniel Reed (Indianapolis, Ind.), MP3; Mike Royal (Spring, Texas), V1 and Craig Timm (Center City, Minn.), A. Oberholtz, Rhonda Van Dyk (Belding, Mich.) and Dr. Keith Barbour (Monroe, Mich.) served as the team's coach, manager and physician, respectively. Eight of the 10 U.S. team members contributed points toward the team's scoring total. In addition to the medals won by Ray and Radmilovic, Mawby won gold medals in women's vision impaired slalom (3.00/28) and tricks (580 points); Guzman earned the silver medal in men's seated slalom (3.00/49); and Royal earned the bronze medal in men's vision impaired tricks (420 points). 

Brenda BaldwinBaldwin, the 1995 women's world jumping champion and former world record holder, is a longtime board member, committee member, judge and coach. She has served on the board of directors for the Florida Water Ski Federation, American Water Ski Association, USA Water Ski and the United States Olympic Committee. She holds USA Water Ski certifications as a Level 3 coach, trained driver, senior judge and senior scorer. She has served as a junior development clinic instructor since 1990 and was the coach of the 2008 U.S. Junior Water Ski Team. She has served as a judge at the Junior Water Ski World Championships, Can Am Invitational, Water Ski National Championships, U.S. Water Ski Team Trials, Collegiate Nationals, Junior U.S. Open, Southern Regionals, Masters Last Chance Qualifier and numerous local tournaments.

Ruston is an instrumental part of the National Water Ski Racing Association, having served as an officer and volunteer for more than 20 years. She is the chief timer and scorer at all NWSRA events and she assists with registration duties and serves as awards chairman for all NWSRA events.

Noah FlegelFlegel, a USA Water Ski member and member of the 2011 U.S. Wakeboard Team, was selected the 2011 SportsKid of the Year by Sports Illustrated Kids. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Kids and honored at the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Banquet in New York on Dec. 6. He also will be honored at the Cartoon Network Hall Of Game awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Calif., in February. As a member of the U.S. Wakeboard Team, Flegel, 14, won the gold medal in boys' wakeboarding at the 2011 IWWF Wakeboard World Championships, July 13-17, in Milan, Italy. He also won other major wakeboarding titles in 2010 as well as some local surf contests in Florida. His community service included fund-raising for an orphanage in El Salvador and feeding the homeless. He maintains a 3.5 grade-point average at North Broward Preparatory School.