Nov. 25, 2013
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University sailing team can add another national championship to the mantle, just two weeks following the addition of the 2013 Men's Singlehanded National Championship won by Greg Martinez (Houston, Texas/Kincaid). The Hoyas raced at the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Match Race National Championship for the Cornelius Shields Sr. Trophy this past weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla. The three-day affair started on Friday, November 22 with the Blue & Gray and the other competitors sailing out of the St. Petersburg Sailing Center and competition taking place on Tampa Bay, hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club and the University of South Florida.
The field featured 10 college sailing teams with each team featuring four crew members, one who was required to be female. The teams sailed 23-foot Sonar Sloops. Match racing pits one boat against another with a team of umpires to officiate each race. The regatta format featured five stages over three days. The Hoyas sent Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholis), freshman AJ Reiter (San Diego, Calif./Point Loma) and juniors Alexander Post (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) and Katia DaSilva (East Greenwich, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey).
After day one Yale was in the lead with only one loss to Georgetown. Boston College was in second with two losses followed by St. Mary's College of Maryland in third place also with two losses. The day featured all 10 teams competing in a single round robin. With winds out of the east at 8-10 knots. The breeze gradually decreased throughout the day and the light winds made for difficult conditions for match racing.
The Hoyas moved in to the top three following the second day of racing that featured the Gold Round, a round robin among the top six teams. The day started with similar winds (8 knots) but as the wind died down, it prompted a four-hour delay in racing. The breeze filled back in and built up to roughly 10-12 knots. The Gold Round determined the seeding of the quarterfinals while the second round robin advanced two teams to the quarterfinals. The Hoyas took the third seed and along with the rest of the Gold Round contestants, Michigan and the University of Wisconsin were added to the quarterfinal field.
On Sunday, the final day of racing, the sailors were lucky enough to have the strongest winds of the weekend, starting at 12 knots and building up to 18 knots throughout the day. With a regular bracket for the remainder of the races, the winner was the team to first score two points, or win two races. The Hoyas advanced to the semifinals after two races along with College of Charleston, St. Mary's College of Maryland and Yale.
Georgetown faced nearby St. Mary's College of Maryland, a familiar opponent in all sailing regattas. The Hoyas had previously lost twice to the Seahawks in the round robins. However, Georgetown defeated St. Mary's following some close racing to advance to the finals against the College of Charleston.
"St. Mary's was the best-prepared team there," Head Coach Mike Callahan said. "It was a confidence boost to beat them."
With both boats over the line early to start the race, Georgetown cleared the line first and had and started the race with a starboard tack advantage. The slight advantage at the beginning was all GU needed to as they held off the Cougars for the remainder of the race to win the ICSA Match Race National Championship and capturing the Cornelius Shield Sr. Trophy.
"We did not get much practice (in the Sonars)," Callahan explained. "But enough to feel ready for the event."
Callahan attributed the credit to Assistant Sailing Coach Janel Zarkowsky's ability to find Sonars for the Hoyas to practice in. Callahan further explained that much of their practice was in heavy wind making the first two days of the championship a struggle but proved advantageous for the final, and most critical, day of racing.
Top 6 of 10
2. College of Charleston
3. St. Mary's College of Maryland
6. Boston College