Many Georgetown sailors rounded out their fall season in the past two weeks, competing at the LaserPerformance Singlehanded National Championships, followed by the Women’s Atlantic Coast Championship along with the 43rd Atlantic Coast Dinghy Championship.
The Singlehanded National Championships featured top competitors from schools across the country, representing a prime opportunity for Georgetown to demonstrate its elite abilities on a national stage.
The team entered the event — which was held in Galveston, Texas — unfamiliar with the venue and unsure of the conditions it would encounter in competition. With a physical advantage over most other squads, the Hoyas had hoped to take advantage of strong winds and high waters. When they arrived at the event, however, the sea was flat, the wind was mild, and the Georgetown crew appeared out of its element.
Poised to overcome the troubling conditions, sophomore Haddon Hughes looked to repeat for the women’s team after having won the event last year as a freshman. By the halfway point, she was in the running to do just that. However, she fell short in the latter half of the race and came up with a fourth-place finish overall.
Riding in Hughes’ wake, junior Lola Bushnell finished with an eighth-place finish. Bushnell, another veteran of the event, placed seventh in last year’s competition.
For the men, juniors Greg Martinez and Jack Marshall carried high expectations, having dominated the earlier qualifying rounds. However, the two finished in eighth and 13th places in their race, respectively, to put a cap on the singlehanded racing fall season.
“We’re a little disappointed, because we thought we could have done better,” Head Coach Michael Callahan said. “But the kids tried really hard, so we can’t feel too bad about it.”
Back in Charleston, S.C., a handful of Hoya sailors competed in the Women’s Atlantic Coast Championship.
Hughes was once again a difference-maker for Georgetown, leading all three crews and demonstrating, according to Callahan, her best double-handed regatta of the season.
In the A division, Hughes, along with sailors junior Rose Edwards, Bushnell, sophomore Maryn Cannon, sophomore Hannah Hess and senior Emily Fung battled the breezy conditions all weekend, placing 12th overall. The B division fared much better, finishing second and lifting Georgetown to a seventh place overall for the event, within just four points of the top five finishers.
According to Callahan, the B division’s performance sets a positive tone for the women’s team going forward into latter portions of its 2016-17 campaign.
“Going into the spring, it gives us some confidence that we can do well,” Callahan said. “But it also shows that there is a lot of work left to be done.”
Meanwhile, MIT hosted a co-ed regatta at the Atlantic Coast Championships, in which Georgetown finished in 10th place overall.
The Charles River in Boston, Mass., is notorious for its capricious winds, often making races difficult for teams that do not know the venue well.
“You have to sail there a bunch to get used to it, and we only go there about once a year,” Callahan said.
Senior AJ Reiter and junior Meaghan MacRae had a hard time adjusting to the foreign conditions and placed 13th overall for the A division. The struggle continued in B division, as senior Jack Gerli, junior Roger Dorr and sophomore Claire Mohun came away with a 10th-place finish.
While 10th place overall out of 18 competitors demonstrates an admirable effort on the part of Georgetown, the sailors and coaches see themselves as a team that should be on top in every race.
“We beat some good teams, but it wasn’t a great way to finish,” Callahan said. “So we have a lot of work to do going into the spring season.”
Next weekend, Georgetown will compete in San Diego for the ICSA Match-Racing National Championship. There will be a few athletes who grew up in the area, including Reiter, who will hopefully use his local knowledge return to the East Coast with a win.
The strategy, according to Callahan, is to minimize the mistakes that have been costing them valuable points in recent weeks.
“It’s the national championship, so the team that makes the least number of mistakes will take it,” Callahan said. “I think we’re confident going in, but anything can happen.”
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.