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Northern duo finishes 1-2 at water ski nationals

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - New York’s place in the world of water skiing took a jump in status over the weekend thanks to the showing North Country training partners Matt Richardson of Ogdensburg and Nick Leuthauser of Hannawa Falls at the 70th annual Goode National Championship.

Richardson, 31, won the Men’s (25-34 years of age) Slalom Championship and Leuthauser, 25, placed second on Friday at the three-day grand stage of the sport at Okeeheelee Park located in West Palm Beach, Fla. The National Championships are hosted by the American Water Ski Association.

The nationals are the largest three-day water ski event in the world and involved competitors from all areas of the country. Competitors in all age groups competed for honors in Slalom, Trick and Jump and the Overall or combined titles.

Richardson and Leuthauser advanced to the nationals after placing one-two at Regionals at Canajoharie, N.Y. which involved competitors from Maine to Virginia.

At the nationals, the North Country duo made the race for the national M2 Slalom title a friendly two-man chase. Richardson finished with 945 points and Leuthauser 931 to outdistance the third place finisher in Brad Miller of Waxachacie, Tex.

Richardson, who has been competing at state and regional levels since childhood, practices on a course on the Oswegatchie River and Leuthauser has developed his skills on a course on Hannawa Pond.

They also practice together periodically in Sissonville on a course developed by Jonathan Murray. Practice beings in April, sometimes earlier, and normally ends in October with dry suits used in the cooler months.

The Oswegatchie River course is now the home of two Regional Champions as eight-year-old Tristan Richardson is off to a flying start in his water ski career.

Tristan recently won New York State Boys 1 titles in Slalom and Trick for a second straight year. He went on to place first in B1 Slalom in the Regionals at Canajoharie, moving up from a fifth-place finish the year before.

Brody Keller from New Hartford, CT., and Chase Gulick from Darien, CT., placed second and third in the regionals.

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