Annual Award Winners
Barb Diehl Memorial Award
for Showmanship (Female)
2019 Laura Lohrmann
2021 Paige Jacobs
2022 Laura Lohrmann
Meredythe Poltrock Memorial Award
for Showmanship (Male)
2019 Matt Kowalczyk
2021 Matt Kowalczyk
2022 James Finet
Margo Rhyan Memorial Award
for Sportsmanship (Female)
2019 Lily Dunklau
2021 Halee Peters
2022 Shawnda Peters & Caitlin Hare
Ronald Wolfe Memorial Award
for Sportsmanship (Male)
2019 Chris Peters
2021 Hunter Peters & Chris Berryhill
2022 Mike Maas
Frank & Alice Hoch Memorial
Award for MVP (Male)
2019 Rick Syverson
2021 Chris Peters
2022 Eric Gostomski
Walter & Elna Koerting Memorial
Award for MVP (Female)
2019 Julie Abramson
2021 Laura Lohrmann
2022 Nicole Tomomitsu
Most Improved Male Skier
2019 Jack Jacobs
2021 James Finet
2022 Mike Maas
Most Improved Female Skier
2019 Caitlin Hare
2021 Sara Wolfe
2022 Emma Maas & Nicole Severson
Most Valuable Junior Skier
2019 Jack Jacobs
2021 Sara Wolfe
2022 Emma Maas
2019 Leslie Gostomski & Rick Syverson
2021 Leslie Gostomski
2022 Leslie Gostomski
Barb Diehl Memorial Award for Showmanship
Barb Diehl was a devoted member of the Lauderdale Aqua Skiers who, like most ski team parents handled many behind-the-scenes tasks and held various board positions over the years. But, what she was truly known and remembered for was her passion for Showmanship. She went as far as recruiting senior members, reaching out to other teams and instructors, including Nancy Lynd, Tracy Porter, Skip Gilkerson. She did so not only with the intention of helping the team improve the level of skiing, but also with the goal of improving showmanship... show quality.
Many of us can still hear and see her running up and down the shoreline, cheering “SMILE!” throughout the entire practice. To her, it didn’t matter if it was free-ski or a show run-through, practicing showmanship was as important as practicing skiing! And, as a pick-up boat rider, she often saw the skiers in their worst moments, but she would urge you to buck-up, put on a happy face, smile and wave to the crowd as if to thank them for watching you face-plant — all because WE ARE HAVING FUN and the crowd needs to feel that!
Showmanship is primary, skiing is secondary, SMILING through it all is MANDATORY! She believed that great showmanship groomed great sportsmanship and a positive attitude can make or break everyone’s experience, from the skiers, drivers and dock crew to the entire crowd and the judges. Barb also believed that even the best skiers will fall, but showmanship could save the act and just because you’re not skiing doesn’t mean you’re not still on stage or still putting on a SHOW.
So, when Barb passed and the team wanted to honor her devotion and passion for LAS, it seemed very appropriate that an award for showmanship be given in her name. It's a legacy she’d surely cherish.
Meredyth Poltrock Memorial Award for Showmanship
Meredythe or Merzy as she was always known joined the Minneiska Water Ski Team in 1979. She joined with her husband Larry when her 2 children, Jennifer and Billy became involved. She supported the team enthusiastically until she passed away in 2006. Merzy was the costume lady for many years and loved to sew sequins on just about anything. She assisted Jane with the sound at times and was always taking pictures of the team. You never saw her without her camera. Her granddaughter Catherine has been a member of the team since 2009.
Margo Rhyan Memorial Award for Sportsmanship
Margo Rhyan was one of the founding members of the Lauderdale Lakes Aqua Skiers. Throughout the years, three generations of the Rhyan family skied on the club including her children and her grandchildren.
Between her and Louise Meike they were the first ones to get real costumes done. She was very inspirational, always supportive and model of what a parent should be. She always got things done no matter what. For example when Kathi was not even part of the ski team, she put her in a costume with make up on and made her go around and give out books in Janesville and collect donations. There was no telling her no!
Ronald Wolfe Memorial Award for Sportsmanship
Ron joined the Minneiska Water Ski Team sometime in the early 2000’s and was a constant until his passing in the spring of 2017. Although he didn’t have any other family involved with the team, he became part of the Minneiska family. Ron played many roles off the water for Minneiska throughout his years, from ‘sign-man’ to Pick up Boat driver and from Back Drop maker to Safety personnel. He truly enjoyed all aspects of the team and was an outstanding observer of all things related to the team and show, on and off the water.
Ron was very enthusiastic. Whether it was making the safety team shirts, to cheering on the team whether on the ground or from the safety boat. He had many visions of what the team could be and where the team could go and was a strong supporter for the merge of Whitewater and Lauderdale.
Frank & Alice Hoch Memorial Award for MVP
Family was very important to the Hochs and they firmly believed ski team was part of family. Frank used to ski in the show with his grandson Marc in a young and old act. They even skied together at the Lambs Farm Tournament. Frank & Alice also always opened house to their ski team friends. Frank always helped with team equipment repairs on just about anything! Alice loved watching shows and helping with costumes at the house. They also let the team store stuff at their lake house. They both really enjoyed seeing the team having fun and doing something they loved, and they were committed to providing a home to make that possible.
Walter & Elna Koerting Memorial Award for MVP
Wally was always involved in the team, helping out whenever he could, including making props and helping his son Craig with his ideas for the show themes. Elna was a great seamstress, creating costumes and even swimsuits as back then the only matching suits were speedos. She made the suits for the girls to their measurements.
Practice was off their pier on Ridge Road and there was always warm tomato soup for those cold days. She even made terry cloth robes for the skiers so they could warm up on those days.
They were both heavily involved in the team, doing whatever they could to help out.
SWU Award (team vote)
One member that has been an all-around outstanding representative of SWU, giving extra time and effort by going above and beyond without being asked, having the biggest impact on the team as a whole.