Aiming for a national championship is a lofty goal, but when you have Andrew Campbell on your team, it becomes a lot easier.

Back again for the fall season, junior Campbell picked up his second title at the Intercollegiate Sailing Association Men’s Singlehanded National Championship last weekend at Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata, Minn. Campbell will add this win to his freshman-year success, and the Georgetown sailing team can now boast a third national championship.

Campbell won the regatta with an overwhelming 36-point lead. He finished in the top three in 15 of the event’s 16 races, garnering only 32 points. He dominated his closest competitor, sophomore Clay Johnson of Harvard, who tallied 68 points.

Points are accorded in order of the boats’ finish and then tallied for a total, with the lowest score winning. Campbell also won six of the 16 individual races, the most of any competitor.

“He did an Olympic campaign in that boat, so he sails the boat really well. He was up against a couple of kids that he sailed against before that are really good, that are members of the U.S. sailing team,” Head Coach Mike Callahan said. “He just needed to sail a good regatta that didn’t make any errors, and that’s what he did.”

While Campbell missed last year’s fall sailing season to train for an Olympic berth, he has returned in fine form, joining only two other sailors who have won two national championships.

Despite not qualifying for the Olympic team, Campbell can look forward to competing for Team USA at the World University Games next summer. He could also make collegiate sailing history next fall by claiming a third national singlehanded title.

Campbell may have grabbed much of the attention, but the other Georgetown sailors have not been sitting idly on the docks.

The co-ed team sits at No. 9 in the Sailing World rankings, while the women’s team jumped up five spots to No. 5 in the most recent poll. The Hoyas have spread out to over 20 regattas in the past two months, gaining experience on the water and working their way up to the bigger championship meets of the late fall. The season will reach a crescendo at the Atlantic Coast Championships on Nov. 13-14 before the team hunkers down for the winter.

“You have to do a bunch of ladder events, start from the local level all the way up to the regional and then the national level. So that’s kind of the goal in the fall is those regattas,” Callahan said.

Apart from grinding out regattas in preparation for the season’s closing events, the team has had to adjust to the loss of several of its top sailors to graduation as well as train the newest crop of freshmen.

“There’s some turnover with people. We had a lot of people graduate last year, so there’s getting the younger kids up and running. Right now, we just want to make sure they sail well and stay ranked in the top 10, which we are right now,” Callahan said.

The Hoyas have stayed in the top 10 nationally due to a number of wins or top-flight finishes at the various regattas they have entered. The team took the top prize at a number of events, including the Ocean County Fall College Regatta, the Jesuit Cup and the Intercollegiate Offshore Sailing Regatta.

In the singlehanded category, senior Cordo Carraher represented the Georgetown women at the national championships alongside Campbell. Carraher finished in 10th out of the 16 competitors with a total of 152 points.

Now that the Hoyas have laid much of the groundwork, they can begin their hunt for a season-ending capstone. The women will host the conference championship on the Potomac while Navy hosts the co-ed championship on Nov. 6-7. The Atlantic Coast Championships for women and co-ed teams follow the next week. The sloop national championships take place a week later in California if the team grabs one of the two spots open to the conference.

“Doing well at our fall championship regattas is a good way to go into the spring. We need to end the fall season well,” Callahan said. “We had our national championship already for the fall, so right now we’ve got a couple of good regattas left.”

Although the sailing program has consistently performed on a national level, finishing second in the national team championships last spring, the team will have to work hard in the upcoming weeks and months to stay near the top.

“We returned Andrew Campbell, and that’s great, but we lost three seniors that were our next three best sailors. Basically we need one person to step up and be the second-best sailor on the team and be able to sail the second division at the big regattas,” Callahan said.

Adding to that difficulty is the constant problem of managing a large team with one coach and the consistent funding and facilities problems that plague most of Georgetown’s athletic programs.

“The biggest challenge is that there are 50 people on the team and one coach. So it’s hard to be able to coach, especially some of the younger kids, to make sure that they are taught the right things and to make sure everyone gets a fair shake at regattas to see who’s going to step up and be a really good sailor in the spring,” Callahan said.

Georgetown has so far steered clear of problems and has not let its obstacles sink its elite standing.

Callahan said that the program’s goal this fall “was to have Andrew [Campbell] win a national championship.” That accomplished, the team may hope it provides a strong wind to blow them onward as they head toward the toughest regattas of the season.

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