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Stenger makes a Splash

Alice Yoo ‘27

Apr 19, 2024

Last week, Solie Stenger ’25 received accolades for her competitive water-skiing performance, despite its not being offered as a sport at Mercersburg Academy. After placing second in slalom and fourth in jump at the 2024 Melbourne Moomba Masters—an esteemed annual water-skiing competition hosted by the Victorian Water Ski Association in Melbourne, Australia—she shared her experiences in the school meeting recognizing various student accomplishments.

Stenger began her season early in the year, at the 2024 Moomba Masters March. Stenger said, “I have done relatively well, seeing that it is only April and the main season starts in the summer! I skied [the] Moomba [Masters] in Australia, which had always been on my bucket list.” Throughout her waterskiing career, she has trained in multiple locations. “We own a house on a lake in Gettysburg, P.A., where I sometimes train. However, my coach is based in Virginia, so oftentimes I’ll drive down there to ski on the weekends,” stated Stenger, “During the winter, I am often in Florida; then, in the summer, I work at waterski schools [where I] teach kids to ski, and get to ski myself while I’m at it.” 

Nonetheless, she mentioned that a struggle for her was maintaining a balance between school work and sports as a student-athlete. She explained, “I think it is definitely a harder thing to maintain, especially [since] it is a small sport not offered by Mercersburg. However, the school and my teachers have been extremely flexible in aiding me [in doing] online work, and [allowing me to] make up assignments when I leave to go train.” Stenger elaborated that although it was easier for her to balance school work and sports, it remained challenging nonetheless. “[It] is definitely doable, but [it] does take a lot of work trying to put an equal amount of focus [on] both,” commented Stenger.

In addition to thanking the school, Stenger recognized her coach, Corey Vaughn, for supporting and helping her start her waterskiing career. She said, “My coach is from Virginia and runs a water ski school called Peace Love and Waterskiing (PLW). He is not only my coach, but also one of the main people who first got me involved in the sport. He got me my first job and so much more.” Stenger added, “With that, [I would] definitely [thank] my parents, who gave me all these opportunities, and have been with me the whole way!” 

Stenger is looking forward to potential victory in upcoming summer tournaments. “First, I want to qualify for the US Masters in Georgia. This is the most prestigious tournament in waterskiing and the hardest to get into, so simply skiing in it would be a dream come true,” added Stenger “With this, I want to win nationals this year in August. I have taken home a lot of titles, but I am not a national champ yet, which would be a huge accomplishment for me!”

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