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 berths.
Photo by Rob Migliaccio
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 phenom 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.
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