The chilly Seattle fall is becoming pretty hot for the Hoyas.

While Jeff Green was busy playing Robin to Kevin Durant’s Batman for the Seattle SuperSonics, freshman sailor Charlie Buckingham established himself as one of the nation’s best young laser sailors at the Seattle Marina.

“Charlie kind of threw a couple of points away on freshman mistakes,” Head Coach Mike Callahan said. “By the end of the regatta he was more comfortable. He probably could have finished as high as fourth if he hadn’t made some mistakes.”

Buckingham placed sixth in the ICSA singlehanded national championship and was the highest-placing freshman finisher. Yale junior Thomas Barrows won the event that was compressed to two days after light winds cancelled Friday races.

For his first national regatta, Buckingham had lots of help on the sideline. In addition to Callahan, Olympic qualifier Andrew Campbell (SFS ’06) was also coaching from shore. Campbell won the singlehanded championship three times while at Georgetown

“I was nervous,” Buckingham said. “But the second day, Andrew and Mike really helped me. Andrew gave me speed tips. He showed me how to get the boat to go faster on the water.”

Buckingham could have been in the running for a top finish but was slowed by several near-last finishes that forced him to play catch up for most of the regatta, according to Callahan.

Buckingham started inauspiciously with a 14th-place finish and did not finish in the top five until his sixth race. After race six, Buckingham righted his ship before two back-to-back bad finishes wrecked his chances for a top finish.

In race nine, Buckingham lagged to 10th place and upped his score to 58, knocking him out of contention for any of the top three spots. Things got worse in the next race when Buckingham was disqualified for hitting a mark on the finish line and failing to properly complete a penalty turn, picking up 19 heavy points, dragging his total to 77 and icing any chance he had of seeing the top five.

The finish line is defined by an anchored boat and a marker. Finishing closer to the marker was favorable because it was upwind, according to Buckingham. Buckingham and another competitor were fighting for position, and he hit the mark. According to the race committee, Buckingham completed his penalty turn after the finish line, disqualifying him from the race.

“It was just a mental mistake,” Callahan said. “It was typical Seattle weather, cold, and he just made a mistake.”

“To start the regatta I had some bad starts, and that led to bad finishes,” Buckingham said.

Buckingham recovered on Sunday, however, never finishing worse than fifth.

“It was a definitely a great learning experience, my first national regatta,” he said. “I knew it would be tough to qualify [for nationals], and I think this was a good start for my freshman year.”

The women’s team spent the weekend on the East Coast, at the MAISA women’s championships hosted by Hobart College.

Seniors Blaire Herron and Leigh Falwell* won the A division over several highly ranked teams. The two won by 11 points, never finishing worse than third, and winning five of the 11 races.

The duo took down the nation’s top team, St. Mary’s, and last year’s women’s college sailor of the year, junior Adrienne Patterson.

“The win was really great for [Herron and Falwell*],” Callahan said. “They’ve kind of been towards the middle of the pack all season but never won.”

Several times this season, the two led regattas but faded down the stretch, faltering when the weather changed or making mental errors as their competitors stayed focused down the stretch.

The B boat of junior Emily Babbitt and senior Jamie Loeks* finished third in their division over the St. Mary’s boat of sophomores Sarah Watters and Kelly Wilbur by six points.

The top finish guarantees Georgetown invitations to the top regattas next year and qualifies the team for the Atlantic Coast championships next weekend in New Haven, Conn., hosted by Yale University.

The coed team will split time next weekend between the North/South Intersectional in Irvine, Calif., and the Atlantic Coast championships in St. Petersburg, Fla.

*The article “Freshmen Finish Sixth in Seattle, Women Take Maisa” (THE HOYA, Nov. 6, 2007, A1) contained several inaccuracies. Senior Leigh Falwell, not Emily Siguler, teamed with senior Blaire Herron to win the A division at the MAISA women’s fall championship. Head Coach Mike Callahan (SFS ’97), in his quotation about the A flight competition, referred to Herron and Falwell, not Herron and Siguler. Additionally, the B boat, which finished third not second, consisted of junior Emily Babbitt and senior Jamie Loeks, not sophomores Christina Burke and Caila Johnson. The revised text of the article can be read online at www.thehoya.com.

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