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Freshman Thomas "T.J." Jung (St. Al's on the Ohio) started wakeboarding at the young age of five years-old on Norris Lake in Tennessee. He was immediately hooked and couldn't wait until he was able to shred behind a boat (that's wakeboarder-speak for "ride hard").

T.J.'s father, a wakeboarder himself, influenced T.J. at an early age, teaching him the basic tricks and then sitting back and watching him conquer trick after trick. But dad could only get him so far, and at the age of ten, T.J. started riding at Wake Nation Cincinnati cable park at Joyce Park in Fairfield, OH. At Wake Nation, a cable system, instead of a boat, pulls you around a small lake filled with ramps (called "kickers"), rails, and iceberg-looking features upon which riders can get creative -- combining spins, ollies, and flips. T.J. loved the sport so much, he began competing at age twelve.

Fast-forward two years to 2017. T.J.'s wakeboarding prowess took him to Grand Rapids, MI every weekend in June -- a twelve-hour round trip to face off with other riders from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois -- and his efforts paid off. T.J. finished first in these regional qualifiers and earned a high seed at the national level!

A few weeks later, the family packed up and made the 15-hour drive to Waco, TX where 375 riders from across the country would compete on the national stage. T.J.'s quarterfinal run was so good (probably his best run during a competition to date), that the judges awarded him first place in his heat! In the semifinals, T.J. took on harder features in the water and completed even more advanced tricks. Another great run, but his third place finish wasn't enough to advance to the finals; however, T.J. finished 8th overall in the novice class and put on a great show for the spectators, including has family and grandparents (Ed and Lin Jung) who had made the trip.

T.J. is the son of Marci and Tom Jung '88 of Sayler Park, and you can catch him on weekends at Wake Nation Cincinnati doing what he does best...shredding!