Georgetown Qualifies for National Championship

By Ed Przylucki Hoya Staff Writer

Despite the many accomplishments of the Georgetown University sailing teams over the past few years, there has been one goal the Hoyas had yet to attain: an invitation to the Team Race National Championship.

That all changed this past weekend.

With two regattas at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington College cancelled due to extreme conditions, all eyes were on the MAISA Team Race District Qualifier at the United States Naval Academy.

“We knew going in it was going to be our toughest test this year,” Head Coach Mike Callahan said. “Two teams we were up against finished first and third in the national regatta last year, and five of the eight teams at the regatta were ranked in the top ten nationally.”

Even with these overwhelming conditions, the Hoyas managed to pull off a come-from- behind victory to secure their first-ever trip to the national team race meet. Finishing with an overall record of 7-3, Georgetown’s showing was enough to place them ahead of third-place Hobart/William Smith College and fourth-place Old Dominion University. The Hobart team featured most of the same sailors who earned third place at last year’s Team Race National Championship.

“[Hobart] had some great sailors,” Callahan said. “We were pretty even with them going into the last set of races, and we were able to pull out the victory.”

Callahan’s claim that the two teams were “pretty even” is a severe understatement. After the original eight teams finished their set of round-robin races, only Georgetown, St. Mary’s, Hobart and Old Dominion remained. The Hoyas, needing only one win in the final three races to qualify, breathed a collective sigh of relief sensing their first ever trip to the national tournament. However, quick losses to Hobart and St. Mary’s put Georgetown in a must-win situation against Old Dominion in the final race.

“We rotated a lot of skippers over the weekend,” Callahan said. “It worked well enough to put us into the final four, so we decided to stick with it.”

One of those skippers rotated into the final race of the weekend was sophomore Curtis Flood. Although the other two skippers on the water for Georgetown in the final race had been sailing all weekend, Flood was seeing his first action of the tournament.

“Curtis did really well. Compared to another sport, what he did was like pinch hitting in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded,” Callahan said.

Flood and his teammates performed so well in the last race that Georgetown actually claimed first, second and third place, far more than what was needed to clinch the qualifying berth. Georgetown finished just behind eventual winner St. Mary’s College.

“We totally romped [Old Dominion] at the end,” Callahan said. “I think we showed them just how much depth we have and how good our crews are, too. Everyone sailed real well the entire weekend. Ryan Costello, Brian Bissell, Ken Ward, John Camera and Curtis Flood were our skippers and deserve a lot of credit. I thought Kate Hewson was our best crew during the regatta, and I was especially happy to see her qualify considering it’s her senior year.”

Georgetown will now prepare for the Team Race National Championship to be held May 31 through June 2 at St. Mary’s College.

“I’m pretty happy we’re sailing at St. Mary’s,” Callahan said. “We won a team race earlier there this season, and the conditions that time of the year in that part of the country should be perfect for us. If we had qualified for this in two years or so, we’d be heading off to Hawaii, but we’ll definitely take this one.”

Whether it’s St. Mary’s City, Maryland or Honolulu, Hawaii, rest assured the Hoyas will be ready to compete for the school’s first sailing national championship.

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