U.S. Sailing, the Olympic Sailing Committee, recognized Georgetown freshman Andrew Campbell and four others as the sport’s Athletes of the Year Friday. The awards, conferred annually, are based upon outstanding performances in competition.

“This award is quite an honor,” sailing Head Coach ike Callahan said. “Many of his competitors [for this award] had 10 or 20 more years of experience, and some have competed in the Olympics. This is something really special.”

Campbell attended The Bishop’s School in San Diego, Calif., before deciding to matriculate into the SFS. He is the first Georgetown student ever to win the national championship.

“He is by far the best sailor ever coming out of high school,” Callahan said of his world-renowned freshman.

Though Campbell had much success in his first semester as a Hoya, winning, among other events, the ICSA/Vanguard Singlehanded Championship in November, his sailing career prior to college is what garnered him the award. In January, Campbell finished second in the 63-boat Laser fleet at the 2002 Rolex Miami OCR. After that race, he received the number one ranking in the Laser class on the 2002 U.S. Sailing Team. Five months later, Campbell captured his third consecutive U.S. Youth Championship, becoming the first sailor in history to win the U.S. singlehanded championship three times.

Eighteen-year-old Campbell competed in his final race before moving to the collegiate level – the 2002 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships – in July at the Lunenburg Yacht Club in Nova Scotia. He mathematically secured victory in the 24-boat Laser fleet even before the final race of the series, earning the gold medal and his first world championship title.

U.S. Sailing Team Coach Skip Whyte acknowledged that Campbell’s father was a three-time All-American at the U.S. Naval Academy but was apprehensive in jumping to any conclusions about Campbell’s skills.

“Is it hereditary or is it learned?” Whyte wondered. “Either way, he’s damned good.”

Among the other honorees were 16-year-old Paige Railey and Yngling sailors Betsy Alison, Lee Icyda and Suzy Leech. Railey is ranked nationally as the top female in the Laser Radial and is being recognized as Female Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year.

“The notable performances of these sailors in 2002 is a perfect illustration of how success begets success,” Olympic Sailing Committee Chairman Fred Hagedorn said. “Campbell . helped place the U.S. third overall for the Volvo Trophy, the best showing in several years for U.S. sailors.”

Campbell and his fellow Hoya sailors begin the spring season the weekend of Feb. 8-9, for the Charleston Women’s Intersectional at the College of Charleston and the Tri Invite at Old Dominion.

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