With only two weekends left in the regular season, the Georgetown sailing team remains in prime position to compete for national championships across all three sailing disciplines.
The women’s team qualified for next month’s national championship after finishing in second place in this past weekend’s Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women’s Championships, held at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Team members also received individual hardware, as senior Mary Kate Mezzetti was named the MAISA Women’s Sailor of the Year, sophomore Rose Edwards was selected to the First Team All-MAISA Skippers of the Year and freshman Haddon Hughes was named to the Second Team.
Head Coach Michael Callahan believed the team belied its ranking entering the conference championship regatta, in which only George Washington University out-sailed them.
“They’re currently ranked number seven in the country. They’re better than that. They’re better than the ranking,” Callahan said. “We’re excited about the prospects for a national championship with them.”
The starters, sophomore Rose Edwards, junior Emily Fung and seniors Mary Kate Mezzetti and Tina Redway, have all performed well, and standout fill-in senior Madeline Higgins seems to improve the performance of any member paired with her.
“It’s just a consistency thing for them,” Callahan said. “Typically when one division goes out on the water and sails poorly, the other division will sail well, and then when that division will sail poorly the other division sails well. It would be great if they just sailed well together. The few times we’ve had that, they’ve done great.”
For co-ed team racing, the Hoyas qualified for May’s National Championships, winning the MAISA championships two weekends ago at Old Dominion. The win wrapped up a dominant regular season, which saw them finish second in team racing rankings, according to multiple polls like the Sailing World College Rankings and the Sail1Design Intercollegiate Sailing Association College Team Race Rankings.
Senior Nevin Snow and sophomore Meaghan MacRae have not lost a fleet regatta all season and look to carry this momentum into the national championship by focusing on consistency heading into the upcoming weekend’s MAISA championships.
“We’ve sailed extremely well against what we might say is the best competition, but one of the toughest parts about sailing is that you’re sailing all day, and the initial round is a round robin against all the teams,” Snow said. “One of the toughest parts for any team is to continue to win the races you should, in theory, win. … We had troubles with that early on where we would sail down to our opponents’ level at times.”
Snow, who plans to keep sailing after graduation and ease into an Olympic campaign for Tokyo 2020, had high praise for MacRae.
“She is so eager to learn, and really understands where I’m at as a senior and really wanting to do well,” Snow said. “She brings maximum effort every day to practice, which is the best thing I could have asked for.”
Much of the team’s success stems from its core group of eighteen seniors; however, impressive depth along with a strong recruiting class, including two of the top co-ed skippers in the country, will look to sustain the program in coming years.
When asked about the sparse media coverage surrounding Georgetown sailing’s remarkable success in recent years, especially when compared to basketball and soccer, Callahan pointed to what his squad has accomplished, including winning six of the last ten ICSA College Sailor of the Year awards.
“We’re not looking to the glory or anything like that,” Callahan said. “I’m a fan of all sports teams at Georgetown, so we all deserve coverage. But I think sailing has been remarkably consistent over the last sixteen years, with national championships and All-Americans and sailors going to the Olympics, so I think we’ve been a very successful program.”
This year’s national championships will be held in San Diego, Calif., from May 24 to June 3. Callahan said he recognizes the difficulties in setting sights so high, and acknowledges there remains room for improvement — but ultimately believes in his team’s ability.
“It’s realistic for us to try to win a national championship,” Callahan said. “It’s hard: you have to basically sail the best you’ve sailed in conditions you’re not used to. … Luckily some of our sailors are from there but I’ve never coached there before, so you have to be ready for all different types of conditions. And you literally have to sail flawlessly at those events.”
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.