21 MAY, 2016 – Sponsored by Dynamic Dollies, on the eve of the 2016 ICSA Team Race Nationals, here are our ICSA TR Coaches bold predictions and prognostications. Panelists include Ken Legler (Tufts University), Zach Marks, Clinton Hayes (Stanford), and Johnny Norfleet (Fordham) and Bill Healy (Yale). Follow the nationals live here: http://2016nationals.collegesailing.org/
APril 22, 2016 – Sponsored by Dynamic Dollies, this is the final installment of the 2016 ICSA Team Race Rankings. Panelists include Ken Legler (Tufts University), Ward Cromwell (College of Charleston), Clinton Hayes (Stanford), and Johnny Norfleet (Fordham) and Bill Healy (Yale).
March 13, 2016 – Sponsored by Dynamic Dollies, the first installment of the 2016 ICSA Team Race Rankings is now live! Panelists include Ken Legler (Tufts University), Ward Cromwell (College of Charleston), Clinton Hayes (Stanford), and Johnny Norfleet (Fordham). We missed Bill Healy (Yale) this week, but expect his return to the team soon.
Brought to you by Dynamic Dollies, Sail1Design is pleased to present the official ICSA Team Race Rankings! Welcome to the 2016 ICSA Team Race Rankings Preview & Prognostication! Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines, college team racing’s championship season is upon us!
By: Ken Legler(tufts) and Bill Healy(Yale)
Yale: Three time defending ICSA Team Race Champs will surely miss Graham Landy and Kate Gaumond but a deep roster with names like Belling, Doris, and Barrows, all current All Americans, the Bulldogs will be in the mix. Minus Landy and Gaumond, the rest of the team is intact plus some great freshman.
BC: Although only Rios returns from last year’s final-four squad, Charles Sinks is ready. Will former Opti world champ Sinclair Jones be their third skipper or will they rely on a more experienced but not quite as fast veteran.
Harvard: Mollerus, Zaleski, and Sertl will be tough. Nick DiGiovanni leads the B team and could sub in.
CGA: If you haven’t been paying attention lately, let me fill you in. The US Coast Guard Academy has a legit team. It’s clear they can succeed in fleet racing. They will be put to the test this Spring to see if they can translate that success into team racing. Avery Fanning and crew Robert Turley along with Nikki Barnes will be the backbone of this team. Crews on this squad look strong with Andrew Britton and Anna Morin along with Turley will only raise the bar for the Cadets.
Brown: The winners of the only team race inter conference regatta of the Fall season will lean heavily on Pearson Potts and teammate Marina Cano to get the most out of this team. 2/3 of this team finished 5th at the Hinman Trophy so they know how to do this, they just need to pull at all together when it counts.
RW: One of the best teams in the country last year lost 13 players to graduation. Returning starters Connor Corgard and All American Bre Baldino will have skippers Stuart Dreheim and Mack Bryan who saw some action at Nationals last year. They area very young team with exceptional crews so it will be interesting to see how they gel this Spring.
Boston University: NEISA’s most improved, perhaps, did not make NEISA’s top 12 last year but they have been terrific in dinghies starting right after TR champs last spring. Will that translate into a nationals berth? Probably not, but they are awfully fast.
Dartmouth: The early TR season hurts Dartmouth and their sailors lack big time TR experience. One skipper, however, has more match racing experience than anyone in NEISA. Look for Charles Lalumiere to lead a young group in New Englands.
Bowdoin: The polar Bears have never broken through in team racing but they have more talent this year than any in recent memory.
Tufts: Gone are all five skippers that made TR nationals last two years. Not only do have a high hill to climb but they might not have a consistent third boat.
MIT: MIT looks to build off their strong fleet race results and carry to momentum into the team racing season. They will rotate five skippers through the team race squad, but the strength of the team lies with the experienced crews. Junior standout crew Jordan Ladd, senior crew Christopher Ford, junior crew Paige Omura and senior crew Lisa Sukarev-Chuyan will give the Engineers solid boat-handling and team racing experience.The five skippers vying for a starting role at New Englands include seniors David Larson and Joe Paggi, junior Alec Stewart, but sophomores Cutter O’Connell and Ty Ingram are learning the game quickly and will be rotated through the A-squad.
URI: The Rams have one of the best women’s sailor in the county in Rachel Bryer who sails with Hannah Scanlon. IT’s not unusual to see the top women’s sailors in the team race mix and they often do quite well. But with URI’s limited TR schedule it will be hard to form a cohesive group. But senior Caleb Armstrong wants to prove that the Rams belong in the mix at the New England Champs. Bryer will be focusing on Womens events which will hurt their development as a team in the early Spring.
Conn: The Camels work really hard at the team racing discipline But this team is young and inexperienced at this level. i’m not saying they can’t succeed but it will be an uphill battle which Coach Bresnahan understands and he will get the most out of them at practice. Senior Bryce Kopp will lead this young group and just when you think that the Camels are out od top notch crews, more come out of the woodwork. Boat handling won’t be their problem.
By: Johnny Norfleet(Fordham)
Georgetown: A perennial MAISA powerhouse and contender at nationals, Georgetown will once again be one of the favorites to come out of MAISA. With an army of immensely talented crews (including Isabelle Ruiz De Luzuriaga ’16, Bettina Redway ’16, and Meaghan MacRae ’18) and a mostly returning group of skippers (including CSOTY Nevin Snow ’16, Sean Golden ’16, and some combination of AJ Reiter ’17, High School Nationals Champ Campbell D’Eliscu ’19, and transfer Roger Dorr ’18), Georgetown will be the team to beat in all conditions.
St. Mary’s: Expect this extremely well coached and disciplined team race group to start off slow, qualify out of MAISA, and then outperform your expectations at nationals. Crews Mariah Leffingwell ’16, Shelby Jacobs ’17, and Kaitlyn Noreen ’16 and skippers Alex Curtiss ’16, Mackenzie Cooper ’17 and either Markus Edegran ’16 or Chase Quinn ’17 should round out this team.
Navy: Always a contender and one of the teams coming out of MAISA last year, Navy will be one of the teams you need to beat at the Prosser Trophy if you want to get to the big dance. Though they lose speed demon Mary Hall, veteran team racers Patrick Snow ’17, and Michael Popp ’16 will whip their younger teammates into shape. They will have plenty of time to hone their skills as they will have to sail out of the Team Race Challenge and the Prosser Trophy to get to Nationals.
Fordham: Rounding out the group of MAISA teams to make it to nationals last spring, this team will have their work cut out for them as they also have to sail out of the uncharacteristically competitive Team Race Challenge this season. Returning all three skippers from last season (Connor Godfrey ’16, Alec Tayler ’17, and Will Holz ’17), with a strong group of young alternate skippers, and a group of talented crews (Connor Murphy ’16, JJ Monro ’16, Madeline Sims ’16, Evan Morgan ’18, and Katherine Jones ’18), Fordham will be one of the teams vying for a spot at nationals if they can work hard and make it through the Team Race Challenge.
Old Dominion: This team has been on both the winning and losing side of a tiebreaker to make it to nationals the past two years. Another team that will have to compete with Navy and Fordham for one of the two spots out of the Team Race Challenge, expect ODU to be a competitor and a team to beat if they can make it to the Prosser Trophy. Esteban Forrer ’16 and All-American crew Gabe Smith ’17 will lead a team of returning skippers Joe David ’16 and Augie Dale ’18 and crews Grace Mason ’16 and Kaylie Gallagher ’16.
George Washington: This young team that played spoiler at last year’s MAISA Champs will likely rise as a contender for one of the final spots to nationals. Though they lost their team race specialist Roger Dorr to transfer, they added a number of talented sailors to their roster that seems to grow significantly deeper and stronger each year. Expect to see Kai Friesecke ’18 and Brendan Shanahan ’17 lead a team likely rounded out by Andrew Sheerin ’18 and crews Mercedes McPhee ’19, Belle Strachan ’18, Henry Young ’16, and all-star skipper/crew Miranda Bakos ’18 when she isn’t competing on the women’s circuit.
Cornell: Though they did not compete in the MAISA Team Race Champs last spring, they are coming off a successful fall fleet race reason. With the weather looking to be on their side for an early practice start and a strong team race schedule set for this season, this well coached team could very well turn some heads. Expect to see Alex Woloshyn ’17, Shawn Kelter ’18, and Clark Uhl ’19 lead this young team race squad.
Hobart and William Smith: A longtime great in MAISA, this team just barely missed out on a spot to nationals last year. Expect this team led by Greiner Hobbs ’18, Eddie Cox ’16, and a group of talented crews to be a contender by the end of the team race season.
New York Maritime: Though they have not yet had much team race success, NY Maritime has emerged as a MAISA fleet racing powerhouse in the past two years with two podium finishes in the last three conference championships. Expect this team led by Zach Hill ’18, Nick Valente ’16 and crew Caitlin Cummings ’18 to use speed to their advantage and they could emerge as a dark horse contender.
With one of these top nine teams missing out on the Prosser Trophy this season, expect this to be the most competitive MAISA Team Race Championship in conference history.
UPenn: This team led by Mac Agnese ’17 and Drew Gallagher ’18 will be fast but will have their work cut out getting past two of Navy, Old Dominion, and UPenn at the Team Race Challenge.
KP: Like UPenn, this team led by Charlie Lomax ’18 will have their work cut out for them to get through the team race challenge. However, given their strong fleet race results the last two seasons and their emergence as a match racing contender, this team might just surprise you.
By: Ward Cromwell(Charleston)
University of Miami: After a few years hiatus from Team Racing the Hurricanes will compete at both the Mendelblatt and the SAISA Champs. U. Miami is getting back up to speed, fueled by an energetic freshman class!
Jacksonville University: The Dolphins will be competing in the Mendelblatt, John Jackson, and the SAISA Champs. JU will make its first push in Team Racing this spring with junior skippers Danny Lawless and Peter Hidley. Julia Wiesner (ODU ’14) joined the Dolphins coaching squad last year bringing a wealth of knowledge and a fun perspective to this teams development.
University of South Florida: The Bulls are slated to compete in the Mendelblatt, Bob Bavier, Graham Hall, and the SAISA Champs. Under the new leadership of Allan Caplain the team will look to find a cohesive game plan which will likely be leed by the senior team of Fernando Monllor and Rebecca Campbell.
Eckerd College: The Tritons have an aggressive Team Race schedule planed competing in the Mendelblatt, the Bob Bavier, the Graham Hall, the Admiral Moor, & SAISA Champs. Senior skipper Tim Siemers along with Junior Skipper Jason D’Agostino will lead this squad along with an impressive list of Senior crews. Overall this team has progressed tremendously under the guidance of their head coach, Kevin Reali. This team is very excited for some high level team racing and eager to clinch a berth to the Nationals.
The College of Charleston: The Cougars are excited to compete in the Mendelblatt, Bob Bavier, St. Mary’s, Graham Hall, Szambecki, and the SAISA Champs.Several team members will be returning from last year’s final four appearance in Newport. Senior skipper Jake Reynold will pair with junior crew Chloe Dapp to lead off a very impressive list of sailors. Look for this squad to be on the podium early and often this team race season.
By: Clinton Hayes(Stanford)
Stanford: Coming off 2 consecutive 3rd place finishes at Nationals Stanford will once again lead the team racing charge from the west coast. They suffered some key loses to graduation but will return key drivers from last season Antoine Screve ’16 and Will Ladow ’18. Look for senior Sammy Steele along juniors Nikki Obel and JP Cannistraro to make big contributions. The Cardinal’s biggest question this season will come with their 3rd boat. If they can build strength in that position they can be a final 4 team in San Diego.
Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara is enjoying solid team depth and is working hard to break thru this year in team racing. They have used the warm California winter to develop strategy and discipline in team race clinics with local rock-star sailors Willie McBride and Allie Blecher. The team will travel to the Mendleblatt team race in Florida in addition to sailing the McIntyre at Stanford. UCSB is filled with good sailors so if they can get their team race game together they will take wins off the best. They are the favorite for taking the 2nd PCCSC birth at Nationals.
Hawaii: Hawaii is coming off a strong fall of great west coast fleet race results. They can sail the FJ fast but might struggle to get 3 cohesive drivers together for team racing. Chuck Eaton will likely lead the team after good results in A-division and Match Racing.
USC: Like Hawaii, the Trojans had some really strong fleet racing results but aren’t quite deep enough to put together 3 really strong boats. They look to play the spoiler at qualifiers and steal that 2nd birth to Nationals. Senior Matthew Hecht looks like their strongest driver to lead the team.
By: Clinton Hayes(Stanford)
U Wisconsin: WISCO suffered some large loses to graduation and only retain driver Lauran Wefer ’16 and crew Jennifer Burke ’16 from their starting team at last year’s Nationals. Despite that, they are one of the only teams in the Midwest with a full time coach and will certainly make big improvements as they travel to compete against the countries best at the Marchiando and Szambecki team races later in the season. It’s also noteworthy that they picked up another sailor from the talented Kutschenreuter family so we’ll see how he continues to progress as a freshmen.
U Michigan: The Wolverines may very well have another solid year. They look to retain 5 out of 6 starters from last year and showed some decent results this fall when they sailed their top players. Michigan will attend the Mendleblatt Team Race this year and may be in line to pick up an invite birth to another. I would count them as a favorite to make a trip to San Diego.
Minnesota: The Gophers have put up some good results in conference this fall and bring what might be the midwest’s best women’s team to also start in team racing. With coach Cappy leading the way and a group of junior and senior drivers they will certainly challenge for a spot at Nationals.
Northwestern: Don’t count out this super organized team from the big city. They work hard in team racing and, once again, are making the trip out to Stanford for the McIntyre Team Race.
By: Clinton Hayes(Stanford)
Oregon State, U Washington, and Western Washington all have a reasonable chance of grabbing the Northwest’s lone spot at nationals. Oregon State qualified for births at both Singles and Match Racing this fall and had the conferences best result as Rose Bowl. They also return 2 out of 3 starters from last years Nationals appearance.
By: Clinton Hayes(Stanford)
Texas A&M Galveston has owned the Southeast birth at Nationals for a number of years. After winning much of their inconference events this fall they look likely to return.
Brought to you by Dynamic Dollies, Sail1Design is pleased to present the final ICSA Team Race Rankings entry for 2015. In this coaches poll system, we rank the teams based on the format of the ICSA Team Race Nationals, to be held 29-31 May in Newport, RI! Below our rankings, cast YOUR vote for whom you think will win!!!
4/16/2015– Here are the fourth rankings for the Spring 2015 Team Race Season!
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ICSA 2015 Team Racing Pre-Season Outlook – 10 FEB 2015
By: Clinton Hayes(Stanford), Brendan Healy(Navy), Ward Cromwell(Charleston), Bill Healy(Yale)
As always, New England features great depth in team racing. The big story in NEISA is Yale’s potential for a 3 peat at Nationals. Before the Bulldogs even think about that they will have to advance through their Conference Championship which is easier said then done. Most New England teams are short on practice in mid April so its anyone’s guess who will be ready with their A game. There are 13 teams profiled here with as many as 15 who might be in the mix for a spot at Conference Championships which has only 12 births.
Yale-The Bulldogs are returning many players from the 12-13 and 13-14 National Championship winning squads. seniors Kate Gaumond and Graham Landy, junior Charlotte Belling and sophomore Ian Barrows are all back to try and three peat. With the loss of Chris Segerblom, Will Feldman, Eugenia Custo-Greig and team race venom crew Marlena Fauer, the Bulldogs will have to look for skippers Mitchell Kiss ’17 and Malcolm Lamphere ’18 and crews Clara Robertson ’17 and Meredith MeGarry ’17 to try and fill that void. This team is deep and will have a great practice squad to scrimmage. This includes women’s All-American skipper Morgan Kiss.
BC– The Eagles finished a solid 4th at last years Team Race Nationals. They are returning ALL of their skippers! Seniors Katherine Wysocki and Beth Barnard in the front of the boat and Will Bailey on the helm with junior skippers Erika Reineke and Raul Rios have a ton of experience. This BC team is also deep and create great in house races as well. With a flock of very good crews at their disposal, this team will not skip a beat. Watch for Alex Palfrey, Allison Ferraris and Katherine Downey to see some action. And when the breeze is on look for Chris Dwyer and Dominic Bove be the difference makers. This team will contend for the national championship.
RW-The Hawks are the third team here that have all players returning. They had a difficult nationals but that was an anomaly. This team can get the job done and with another year under their belts they are, in my opinion, the favorite to repeat at the NE team race champs. Senior crews Wendy Reuss and Abby Preston along with senior skippers Will MacDonald and Henry Vogel will want to make the most out of their last year. Juniors Conner Corgard (sk) and Breanne Baldino (cr) will need to make the most of this opportunity. The Hawks have a fairly young 2nd squad and the upper classmen will need to get this group up to speed quick to make the most out of practice.
Tufts-The Jumbos might have the biggest loss here from graduation losing the skipper-crew pairing of Will Haeger and Paula Grasberger. These guys were a strong combo together. I don’t think Will ever needed a heavy! They were that good together. Add to that the loss of David Liebenberg and the Jumbos will be way behind where they were at this point last year. Senior Alejandro Ruiz-Ramon will most likely be flanked by skippers Dan Nickerson and Scott Barbano. A strong team of crews including Caroline Atwood and, Sam Madden and Janie Maffeo will be a strong backbone of the is team. Don’t get me wrong, even with the loss of last years seniors, this team will be well coached and ready.
Dartmouth-Here is another team that lost some great sailors from graduation. Looking to step in for Matt Wefer and Avery Plogh will be Women’s Sailor of the Year Deirdre Lambert and possibly Nathanial Greason as crew. Senior Scott Houck and Colin Murphy will be the logical skippers to support Lambert. Crews Hope Wilson and Sophie Kerr will be instrumental in this effort to reach the nationals.
Harvard – The Drumm brothers Brian and Michael are returning as well as skippers Andrew Mollerous and Graham Slattery. With Harvard hosting the 2015 Fowle Trophy, this team could be the wild card. But they won’t count on that. Mike and Bern will have them sailing better than ever this spring.
Brown-Pearson Potts and Lucas Adams are going to have to find a way to replace All Americans Tyler Rice and Judge Ryan. Big loss there. Add to that with the loss of All American crew Louisa Chafee and the Bears will need to have crews Jessica O’Dell and Lydia Whiteford really step up their game. Skippers Nathan Almann and James Barry will be vying for that third spot as will crews Marina Cano and Ragna Eide. The bears are potentially good enough to steal a spot but will have to work hard to gel as a tight team come New Englands.
UVM– All three skippers are returning for their senior year. Michael Zonnenberg is the clear leader of this team along with skippers Nate Jermain and Michael Booker and senior crew Bridget Murphy. The Catamounts finished pretty far outside the final four at last years qualifiers but this is a veteran group and should greatly improve upon that finish. Look for underclassman crews Megan Mackinnon and Lauren Jones along with Freshman Lilly Salveson to really improve the skill level of the Catamounts. BUT! The cold and frozen Lake Champlain will delay early season practice. This could hurt big time.
Bowdoin-The Polar Bears are another team where location could be an early season practice issue. But, Bowdoin does have some talent and coach Frank is doing a great job recruiting. They are returning Skippers Jack McGuire and Michael Croteau and all of their crews: Charlotte Williamson, Julia Rew and Mimi Paz. Freshman Harrison Hawk is the new guy at Bowdoin but brings with him some great team race experience finishing second at last years High School Nationals. This could be the most improved team from last year.
MIT– After a standout fall season, which saw the Engineers score numerous top 5 results, this spring might be more of a learning and rebuilding year for MIT in team racing. They have 3 strong younger drivers in Alexander Stewart, David Larson, and Ty Ingram that are supported by crews Lisa Sukharev-Chuyan, Jordan Ladd, Kyle Joba-Woodruff, Paige Omura, and Greta Farrell. Don’t count them out! MIT has an all star coaching staff with multi time Team Race World Champion Matt Lindblad, all around great sailor and coach Mike Kalin, and College Sailing Legend Fran Charles. These guys could be very good later in the season.
Coast Guard– The Bears have all of our returners from last year who started to learn the game and see some results. 1st at the Admiral Moore Trophy last year- the first time CGA has won a team race interconference in over a decade. Starters will be Avery Fanning, Nikole Barnes, and Dylan Finneran. They’ll be taking advantage of the strong “B-level” circuit sailing the Jackson, Geiger, Admiral Moore, Barque Eagle, and Fowle and looking to take some races away from the big dogs here and there.
Connecticut College– The Camels will be tested this year, graduating All New England and 4 year starter Kevin Martland and IG Schottlander. Returning skippers Jordan Bothwick and Bryce Kopp will work hard to help freshman Hugh McGullivary and senior Ellis Tonissi get up to Speed. All New England crew Lea Bushnell and senior Kim Bolick will keep the Skippers informed and lead a talented group of crews lead by Toti Allen, Ben Meyers and Eliza Gary. The Camels will be tough in each race but lack experience to make a run to the top of the New England list.
BU– The loss of last year’s team captain, Cam Fraser is definitely a hit for the BUDS, but with several other sailors returning for last year, the BUDS team racing team should improve relative to last season. A strong freshman class has certainly helped the BUDS, especially in the crew department. Connor Astwood finished 5th in B division at the New England Champs his freshman year, and had some strong events last fall. He will be the leader of the BUDS team race team. Freshman skipper Ravi Parent had some great F-18 results in high school, and finished 4th at the youth worlds in multihulls in 2013. He does not have tons of double handed dinghy experience, but may be contributing on the team racing team as the season progresses.
The Mid Atlantic Conference is notoriously strong at the top with at least 1 team in the final 4 at Nationals every year. They may not be quite as deep as NEISA but their teams are well coached and looking to turn heads in May. Like NEISA, 4 will advance through their Conference Championships to Nationals.
Georgetown– Hoyas are returning all of their starters from the 2014 season and looking to improve on their 5th place finish at last year’s nationals. With the same players, Georgetown is clearly the early favorite in MAISA looking to tighten up their game from last year.
Navy– The Goats are returning 2 of their 3 starting skippers from last season, led by Mary Hall and with the addition of Patrick Snow, the Midshipmen are looking to step it up a notch from last year’s 6th place Nationals finish.
Fordham– The Rams are young, talented, and wily and with newly appointed coach Johnny Norfleet, they should be a pretty solid contender in MAISA.
St. Mary’s– Following a very impressive 2nd place finish at nationals last season, the Seahawks have unfortunately graduated all three of their starting skippers. Adam and Bill shine in the team race arena however, and they’ll have their squad competition ready as the season moves on.
Old Dominion– Led by Esteban Forrer, the Monarchs may have their hands full tightening up their squad for championship season. A talented coaching staff however will ensure that they take wins off the heavy hitters in MAISA in the process of making a name for themselves.
HWS– Eddie Cox and Elliot Morrill are expected to lead a young team. With some strong talent and the leadership of Coach Scott Ikle, these guys should turn some heads.
Cornell– Another MAISA squad who could take some wins off of the stronger teams. Matt Schofield and Connor Kelter are young guns who, with the help of Coach Brian, could have an impact on MAISA.
SUNY– This squad has some talent but youth and inexperience may prove hard to overcome. First year team race Coach Zach Runcey may have his hands full but this squad is fast.
George Washington– Certainly an up-and-comer in MAISA and could take some wins off the big names under the right conditions. Coach John Pierce knows his team racing and will certainly have these guys executing some good plays this spring.
While SAISA has very solid participation in Fleet Racing it has unfortunately struggled to create consistent participation in team racing. The story in the South Atlantic Conference is which 2 of the 3 strong varsity teams will advance to Nationals
Charleston– The Charleston Cougars bring back all of their team members from last spring and should be the team to beat in the Southeast. They just missed out on the round of 8 at Nationals last year and will look to better that result. There starting drivers are senior Nick Johnston and juniors Ryan Davidson and Jake Reynolds. Crews will be senior Alicia Blumenthal and juniors Rebekah Schiff and Emily Stuart.
USF– The South Florida Bulls will be returning several key team members from last spring including the senior duo of Christopher Stocke and Ali Yarbrough. USF with Chris at the helm nearly won Match Race Nationals this fall and will look to take that momentum into the spring team racing season.
Eckerd– The Tritons will continue to develop their young talent and make an appearance in NEISA for the highly contested Marchiando Team Race at MIT. Coaches Kevin and Zach believe in the process of learning team racing and will show steady improvement throughout the year.
Other teams who may get in the mix could include U Miami and the Jacksonville Dolphins.
Stanford– The Cardinal loses some big team depth graduating 11 seniors but return drivers Kieran Chung and Hans Henken who contributed to last years 3rd place finish at Nationals. Crews are still coming together but senior All American Haley Kirk is sure to be in the mix. There are a number of talented younger sailors vying for a starting spot and only time will tell who gets the nod. Once again, Stanford will travel east to compete in ICSA’s top events and should be a strong contender near the top. They will easily advance to Nationals but the question always remains, can they put it together at the big event?
Santa Barbara- The Gauchos continue to attract good recruits and are working hard this year to step up their team racing game. Returning starters Stephen Long and Ian Stokes will likely be joined by one of their talented freshmen possibly Kristopher Swanson, Sterling Henken, or Simone Staff. I would definitely expect Ginger Luckey and Madisson Thomas to contribute as crews. If the Gauchos can master their plays they will definitely take wins off some very good teams. At this point, they are probably the favorites to take the 2nd PCCSC birth at Nationals
Hawaii– The Rainbows are coming off a strong Fall PCC victory and will challenge the top teams in the west. They lack some team racing depth but have the boatspeed to get around the course. The Rainbows benefit from 2 experienced full time coaches and will certainly improve throughout the year.
Other teams to watch in the PCCSC include Cal Maritime who have a strong team racing coach to work with, USC, and Long Beach.
In the Northwest both Western Washington and University of Washington are always near the top of their conference. They will fight it out for a birth at the big dance but I give the early edge to Western Washington based off stronger fleet race results this fall.
Top teams in the Midwest continue to mix it up with the best in college sailing. Like PCCSC and SAISA they get 2 births to Nationals based off conference population.
Wisconsin– The Badgers are lead by senior George Kutschenreuter, a legitimate contender in any ICSA event. Unfortunately they don’t return either of their other 2 drivers from 2014. Senior Conner Trepton is a likely starter. Wisco sailed 7 crews at Nationals last year and many others this fall so it’s unclear who will start for them in the front of the boat. These guys are definitely a favorite to win their Conference Championship and a spot at Nationals.
Michigan– Like Wisconsin, Michigan only returns 1 driver from last year but senior Alex Ramos has scored top 5 interconference results and can compete with anyone in college sailing. The Wolverines finished tied for 1st in the Big Ten Team Race this fall with drivers Thomas Etheridge and Christopher Cyr. They also have sailed a large number of different crews with these drivers this fall. Michigan is likely to take one of MCSA’s Nationals births and is probably the only team capable of challenging Wisconsin.
Northwestern– The Wildcats finished 3rd at the Big Ten Team Race and made the trip out west for the Rose Bowl. They will mix it with the top dogs in MCSA this spring.
Minnesota– Emily Oltrogge and Alison Kent are the Gopher’s Coed and Women’s starting drivers. They have better fleet race results then Northwestern but it’s unclear how they’ll stack up in team racing.
Texas A&M Galveston seem to be the team to beat in the south and likely to take the conference’s one birth to Nationals. University of West Florida and Texas A&M have shown some good results this fall and may challenge Galveston for a spot at the big dance.