By Pat Mariboe
In their 20th year since elevating from a club to varsity sport, the Washington College sailing team is looking to achieve big things this season.
The team started off their campaign last week finishing 12th out of 18 teams at the Old Dominion’s Riley Cup. In the two-day regatta, lone junior skipper Paul Hart led his crew of sophomore Ellie Lienert and senior Bridgette Hindt to a 10th-place finish in Division A, improving on his 17th-place finish as skipper in the same regatta last year.
WC’s 12th-place overall finish was also an improvement from their 17th-place overall finish from the previous year as well. In Division B, sophomore Will Sunkler skippered his crew of senior Griffin Rodrigue to a 13th-place finish.
Hart was recognized for his heroics by the school with the Shoreman of the Week honor. The team hopes to see more positive performances from Hart in the upcoming Colony Cup and Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA) Central Fall Qualifier.
“I appreciate being nominated as Shoreman of the Week, however, I am more thrilled to see that the sailing team is being recognized for our hard work and dedication to the sport,” Hart said. “As a team, we are optimistic and confident that this will be a great season. We are sending some of our younger sailors this weekend to the Colony Cup, and we are looking forward to qualifying for the War Memorial regatta at the MAISA Central Fall Qualifier next weekend.”
With a long season of regattas ahead, Rodrigue, Hindt, and senior Allison Cochran make up the captain trio hoping to bring their team to glory. Rodrigue and Cochran think they can provide that and much more.
“As one of three captains, my goal is to leave my team stronger and more cohesive,” Rodrigue said. “It’s always been my thinking that captains work for their teammates. I want to be an example of how things should be done, a resource for the new sailors, and someone the team can rally around.”
“We have a strong team this year and are excited show all of our hard work by competing at the upcoming regattas,” Cochran said. “Thanks to Coach Jenkins we were able to continue and build on our strength training foundation and hit the ground running. Our goal is to improve on the successes of last season and to continue pushing ourselves both with the trainers and on the water. We’re working hard to qualify for Atlantic Coast Championship at the end of fall season and then return to our qualifier for Nationals in the spring.”
Rodrigue also touched on the importance of a strong performance at the Central Fall Qualifier and his expectations for the season.
“The Central Fall Qualifier is going to be a really tough regatta,” Rodrigue said. “It’s a qualifier for a really important regatta later. If we finish in the top four we qualify for the War Memorial regatta immediately. If we finish in spots five to 10 we have to try and qualify again at the Luce regatta. Sailing is unique in the sense that if we get fourth place at the Central Fall Qualifier, I will feel as if we won. It’s a great deal of trying to get your team in a good position for regattas later in the season. Going to nationals would be amazing. I want to finish first at every regatta.”