Lake Delhi-area water skiers thriving two years after dam break
Written by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
The Hartwick Huskys Water Ski Team hope to win the div. 2 national title this weekend
DELAWARE COUNTY (KWWL) -
It's been two years since the Lake Delhi dam failed under the pressure of flood water from heavy rains in late July of 2010.
The dam sent the water and contents of Lake Delhi, including boats and docks, crashing down the Maquoketa River. Despite that lack of water, the lake area's Hartwick Huskys Water Ski Team is thriving.
For 45 years, Lake Delhi was home base for the Huskys. Since the dam broke, the team has done more than just survive.
The day the Lake Delhi dam broke in July of 2010, the Hartwick Huskys Water Ski Team was supposed to compete in the regional division two tournament in Albert Lea, Minn.
Marty Pottebaum, team president, remembers the morning well.
"There's about five skiers on the team that actually have houses on the lake that found out they were under water, so we immediately left Albert Lea and struggled to get home," he recalled this week at his home. "Three and a half hours later, we had to watch the dam go away."
The team not only lost its place to water ski, but also its shot that year at the division two national title, which they'd won the year before in 2009.
"The team did a vote and we decided not to go to Warsaw, Indiana for nationals that year, so we took a break a helped with all the clean-up efforts of the 2010 flood of Lake Delhi," Pottebaum said. "It was a tough winter. Phone calls every day of skiers, 'What are we going to do? Marty, where are we going to go?'"
The team found a new home at Manchester's Schram Park, which has a pond.
"We couldn't have asked for a better site to go to. It's close. You know, it's only 10 minutes away from our old site, so the skiers didn't have to drive any further than what they did before," Pottebaum said.
The pond at Schram Park allowed the team, which was founded in 1965, to stay alive, but that's not all. Since the dam break, the team rallied and won the division two national title last summer.
"When you receive two national titles in a row from D2, you get the honor of moving up to D1 nationals, competing against bigger teams," Pottebaum said.
That's why the team is especially hopeful they'll defend that title this coming weekend at the division two national tournament in Rock Island, Ill.
This last weekend, the Hartwick Huskys won the regional tournament in Albert Lea, Minn. for division two. The Waterhawks Ski Team of Waterloo took first place in division one.
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