Ashley T. Martin, 13, will be attending the nationals for the first time. In addition to her rigorous practice schedule, Ashley, an eighth grader at Excelsior Middle School, is also a 4.0 GPA student and a cast member in the upcoming Excelsior play, "The Velveteen Rabbit."
Jarred Smith, 17, is a senior at Liberty High School and will be attending the nationals for the third time. Jarred is also a gifted ice hockey player and a member of the Liberty tennis team.
The duo started skiing competitively when they were 6. Smith is now one of Martin's coaches as well as a competition water skier. Both young athletes are firmly committed to the sport, as are their dads, Steve Martin and Darrell Smith, who have been water skiing competitively for many years.
During the spring and summer, Martin and Smith spend at least four to five days skiing on the Delta at their home water ski club, "Berkeley."
In order to advance to the nationals, skiers must distinguish themselves by exceptional performances during the summer tournament season and by placement at the regional championships. Both Martin and Smith attended this summer's regional championship in El Centro.
Nearly 1,000 water skiers from across the United States will compete at the national competition in Boys and Girls divisions on three levels. Martin's division, Girls 2, comprises 51 competitors ranging in age from 10 to 13. The 58 skiers in Smith's division, Boys 3, range in age from 14 to 18.