College Sailing Preseason Predictions

September 3, 2003
Courtesy Nwicsa

The 470 and Laser Olympic Trials in November could pull some talent away from several teams this fall. Most of these sailors, however, will be returning to boost their teams come spring.


The competition should be fierce in MAISA this season as the coed and women’s top spots are a wide open competition.


Hobart & William Smith looks to be the slight favorite in Coed sailing as they return honorable mention All-Americans Ed Norton and John Pierce. The graduation of Sam Rogers will hurt the Statesmen a bit but look for a talented group of juniors headlined by Eric Oppen and Lee Sacket to start winning some regattas. On the women’s side Hobart & William Smith will miss Amanda Callahan and Sonya Smith, but Senior Mora O’Malley will be tough to beat come the end of the season.

The big news out of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (a.k.a. Kings Point) is another coaching change. Former Old Dominion assistant coach Mark Zagol will take over the head coaching duties from Kim Logan while former ICSA All-American Matt Allen, Old Dominion ’02, is the new assistant coach. Zagol and Allen will have talented group of sailors to work with in senior Dave Wright and junior Peeter Must. Matt Schubert has exhausted his eligibility. New sailors for the Mariners include two female skippers Elise Houston and Abigail Robson, so look for KP to start making some noise in the women’s rankings.

Georgetown will be without the services of All-American and ICSA singlehanded champion Andrew Campbell, as he concentrates on his Laser campaign. The Hoyas will again look to seniors Tyler Haskell and Thatcher Spring to sail dinghies. Senior Bill Jorch and junior Steve Streit will also get a shot at the starting spots. The Hoyas have recruited a number of freshman skippers with JB Turney of Chicago leading the way. The Lady Hoyas were hurt by the graduations of four-year starters Elizabeth Sampson, Mimi Elliott, and 2003 All-American Shelly Wentworth, but they should challenge for the district championship with sophomore Derby Anderson and senior Eliza Ryan sailing in A and B. Look for Jackie Schmitz and Cordo Carraher to be sailing a number of women’s regattas as well.


For the second time in two years Washington College has a new head coach. Scott Leppert takes over for Geoff Becker as the leader of the Shoremen. Scott will have a talented group of sailors led by All-American Mike Buckley. With Buckley sailing A division, Washington College will look to Colin Robertson, Nathan St. Onge, or Carl Horrocks to sail B. If one of those sailors gets hot Washington College should be able to make nationals.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland, runner-up at the 2003 ICSA Team Racing Championship, lost a lot of talent to graduation. Gone are All-Americans Caleb Silsby, Galen Largay, and Jamie Smith. Danny Pletsch has a semester of eligibility left, which he’ll save for the Spring ’04 season. Don’t look for St. Mary’s to be out of the running for another National Championship though as Coach Adam Werblow has amassed an amazing array of freshman talent. Marc Sorbo, John Howell, Justin Law, and Andrew Watters will all be sailing for St. Mary’s this season. The coed team will look for Nick Ewenson and Jay Rhame to step into the starting spots. With All-American crews Paige Hannon and Jen Vandemoer returning, the coed team should still be strong. On the women’s side Katie Smith and Jenny Gervais will probably do most of the skippering.

Gavin O’Hare begins his first full season as head coach at the Naval Academy and he has brought in former St. Mary’s and Washington College coach Geoff Becker to serve as his assistant. Troy Treaccar and Ricky Lang graduated so the Midshipmen will look to Justin Smith and Spencer Weber to sail A and B. John Keith should also see a lot of tiller time. On the women’s side Emily duPont graduated, but Alexa Bestoso is back to lead the team.


Old Dominion graduated some key sailors this year. All-Americans Corrie Clement, Debbie Capozzi, Liz Bower, and Anna Cobb are all gone as is assistant coach Mark Zagol. All-American Anna Tunnicliffe will be expected to sail both coed and women’s. Senior Jack Kerr will be back and should be starting A division once again. Look for junior Bill Berg and sophomore Charles Higgins to start for the coed team as well. The ODU freshman class consists of includes David Tunnicliffe, Cara DiSanti, Patrick Ryan, and Tom Lewin, all strong regional sailors.

Other teams to keep an eye on in MAISA are Christopher Newport which returns most of its best sailors, Fordham, which continues to get stronger, Maryland, Columbia, Hampton and Cornell. Loyola is reviving its team under the direction of former KP and Boston College coach Tim Herzog and William and Mary, Virginia Tech, St. John’s (Annapolis) and SUNY Potsdam are all starting programs.



The sailing teams in the Midwest are club teams and as such recruiting is difficult. The top junior sailors are often recruited to varsity programs in other districts. Winnetka’s JB Turney, for example, is headed for Boston College. Nonetheless, there is good competition within the district. Over the last couple of years Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan have been the strongest but watch Northwestern and Ohio State this year. Ward Detwiler and Aaron Lasher lead Northwestern’s very deep team. Seniors Adam Dunki-Jacobs and Bryan Parker lead Ohio State. Wisconsin will still challenge for MCSA championships with John Porter, John Rather, and Teresa Phillips. Minnesota graduated Tim Krech but seniors Ben Burgum, Alex Symes, and Zach Coelius all return and will also compete for the coveted nationals berths. Mike Rhode may lead the way for a young Michigan team.

Both Jamie and Bridget Kraus have graduated from Marquette as did Katie Kaltz from Michigan. Top women’s sailors remaining include Mary Vorel from Michigan State, Teresa Phillips from Wisconsin and Nicole Finefrock from Miami University (Ohio).


Despite graduating two college-sailors-of-the-year in the last two years, Harvard could still be the top team in New England. Cardwell Potts and David Darst return as does Vince Porter. Freshman Clay Johnson is as good a Laser sailor as the graduated Clay Bischoff. Harvard also has at least six women’s skippers led by Genny Tulloch. Their depth should pay off during NE Women’s Singlehandeds again.

Dartmouth has the best recruiting class and some fine returnees including Scott Hogan and Andrew Loe. Dartmouth’s recruits include 420 ace Eric Storck and Smythe champion Mike Wilde. Lauren Padilla and Emily East are ready for the big women’s regattas.

Tufts graduated past dinghy champions Pete Levesque and Caroline Hall, so the Jumbos will rely heavily on Women’s All-Americans AJ Crane and Kristin Tysell, David Siegal and Katie Shuman, Zander Kirkland, and others.

Brown should improve on an already very good team with seniors Chris Ashley and Alison Berenbach, Patrick Rynne, and Chris Palmisano. The Bears’ women starters graduated, but Anne Davidson and freshman Katie Lovelace will do well in women’s regattas. Another freshman to watch is Charlie Enright.

Boston College lost their starting dinghy skippers to graduation. Stepping up will be juniors Frank Ustach, Jeff Bonnani, Ben Gent, and Julie Wilson.

Connecticut College will again feature Cooper Offenbecher and Kate Bogart while Amanda Clark continues her Olympic 470 campaign.

Yale will also lose their best, Stu McNay, to an Olympic campaign this year. Molly Carapiet and Julie Papanek can win women’s regattas and do well in coed. Top recruits include Phil Stemler and Matt Berry, both of whom can sail dinghies and Lasers.

Rhode Island could do well this year. Joey Mello, Sean Horrigan, and Morgan Paxhia will do particularly well if they can replace some graduated crews such as Bryan Eichorn.

MIT has another two years with the very talented JM Modisette. Coast Guard will rely on the veteran Tom Przybyla and upcoming Tom Leach and Matt Sexton. Boston University will improve when Joe Mattison returns to college sailing and their women will be lead by Chanz McManus. Roger Williams starts the brother combo of Bobby and Patrick Koar. Providence College has become a good team with Mary Horrigan leading the way. Mass Maritime should also improve with Tim Corbett and Pete Schwebach.


University of Washington

UW graduated Andy Schmidt, Katie Paciotti, Guy Fielding, Ryan Storkman, Cuyler Boad, and Erin Harkins. Notable incoming freshman include Trey Wattson of Newport Beach HS, Hayley Siegenthaler, and Jon Kelch. For the upcoming year the UW team captains will be Brian Irish and Brendan Fahey. They are very excited to be co-hosting the upcoming Spring NAs at the gorge with Western Washington University.

Western Washington

WWU again returns a majority of their team but will sorely miss graduated seniors Alexei Lissounov and Merrisa Moccia. With the motivation of sailing for a National Championship on home turf as a driving force, Western hopes to improve upon last year’s second place finish at the NWICSA Spring Coed and Women’s Championships and qualify for Nationals in The Gorge. The team’s sloops sailors are also looking to return to NAs to better last year’s 10th place finish. Western’s women’s team is also slowly gaining momentum under junior Annie Johnson’s strong leadership and enthusiasm. Strong alumni support has provided the team with coaching and financing to purchase two new Club Juniors this spring to bring their total to six.


Fall will be interesting as several All-American Red Shirts take time off. Their reappearance come spring will surely change things for nationals. Hawaii, Stanford, USC, and UC Irvine should all have strong top 20 teams with adequate talent to challenge for national titles.

Hawaii‘s top two returning All American’s, Bryan Lake and Joey Pasqualli, will red shirt fall but this will still leave a large and deep Rainbow team including returning skippers Willy Edwards and Matt Stine and several new arrivals including Eric Oppen (transfer from Hobart) and freshmen Jeff Brown and Jeff Boyd. Returning All-American (HM Women’s Skipper and AA Crew) Jen Warnock will lead the women’s team and mentor a host of crews including several new freshmen and transfers.

Southern California loses its captains (Colin Campbell and David Levy) to graduation and freshman All-American Mikee Andersen will red shirt at least the fall while trying to win the 470 U.S. Olympic Trials. But a fairly strong team and an outstanding incoming freshman class including recent CFJ Class Champion Alex Bernal, Laser/Radial star Greg Helias, and Youth Champion Crew and Women’s Sailor Melanie Roberts should keep the Trojans in the running. Top Women’s Skipper Katie Clausen returns for her final year looking for the new and returning Trojan ladies to provide the necessary support to achieve some long sought success for the Trojan women’s team.

Stanford also lost two starters, Ted Conrads and Dave Kenny, to graduation but returning Honorable Mention All-Americans Dave Phillips and Brian Haines and returnee Peter Deming should be plenty strong, particularly with the support of a large and deep team of crews and an outstanding incoming freshman class including US Youth Champion Emery Wager, US Youth World Team Member Caroline Young and crew/skipper Joanna Madsen. Stanford should also get a moral boost from finally completing its huge new boathouse and a new fleet of FJ’s and 420’s.

UC Irvine should continue its move back onto the national prominence scene under the second year direction of Coach Mike Pinckney. Only losing one crew to graduation, they return a strong squad and add top talent including incoming freshmen double handed champ Frank Tybor and Whitney Loufek.

UC Berkeley graduated 2003 ICSA sportswomen of the year and captain Abby Swann as well as Kevin Mullen and Katie Cochrane. Also missing for at least part of the year (traveling abroad) are Emery Sanford and Margaret Wilson. Incoming freshman include Crystal Bronte and Heather Nickerson. The Treasure Island Sailing Center, where UCB sails, has seen upgrades over the past months, including a new classroom with TV and video and shower facilities. Currently the team is halfway through its fund raising for 12 new boats. Former captain and 2002 ICSA Sportsman of the Year Blaine Pedlow will return as the Bears coach once again this season.

Cal Maritime Academy returns skippers Jesse Cartee and Griffin Patrick along with crew Kevin Moyer. Crew Kevin Campbell is back after taking a year off. Piet Van Os from Mission Bay is an incoming freshman.

The UCLA Sailing Team lost team captain Eve Cohen to graduation but returns current captain senior Tom Hartmann, junior Kristyn Kohut, and sophomores Lizzy Ziegler and Elaine Long. The team has put together a new blitz recruiting campaign and fund raising drive. The team looks to have four incoming freshman plus another six to 10 undergraduates joining in the fall. Total membership looks to be around 15 to 20 members, up from 10 last year.


SAISA looks to have three strong schools at the top with a number of programs improving at a fast pace.

The College of Charleston looks to be the favorite again this year despite the loss of coed starters Nathan Hollerbach and Cameron Brower. John Bowden and Jose Fuentes are the early favorites to start A and B. On the women’s side the Cougars graduated skipper Roseanne Monti, but return Sara Wilkerson. Look for Anne Bowden or Alana O’Reilly to skipper for the women’s team. A strong group of freshman recruits is expected to help the Cougars stay at the top.

Eckerd College graduated two starting women’s team sailors, Megan Ehlers and Sarah Schaill. Returning skippers for the co-ed dinghy team include Kevin Dooley, Carson Turowski, DJ Driscoll, and Kellen Bernard. That quartet will be paired with crews Karen Pickering, Leo Calzadilla, Kristen Mitchell, and Allison Cribbs. This year’s women’s team will have 3 skippers, Becca Thomas, Lindsey Nahmias and Maddy Eustis. New skippers to the team this year include Brett Buckingham, Robert Simmons, and Justin Van Denise. Freshmen crews include Gretchen Freye and Sarah Harwood. Eckerd College will host the 2003-04 ICSA/Vanguard North American Men’s and Women’s Singlehand Championships.

The South Florida coed team made huge strides last year winning the SAISA Fall Dinghy Championship and qualifying for team racing North Americans. Kevin Reali ’06 and Andrew Blom ’04 are two key skippers returning for the Bulls from last year’s team. The third skipper for the South Florida team racing squad is up for grabs after the graduation of Garth Reynolds in December. Look for freshman Matthew Cawley and Matt Hickman ’04 as possible team racers for USF. Crews Ashley Reynolds and Amber Cockburn will also be important players for the coed Bulls this year.

The Bulls’ women’s team also had a great season last year winning the SAISA Women’s Dinghy Championship in the fall and spring. USF graduated skippers Genoa Griffin and Ali Deese last spring leaving behind a new crop of underclassmen to fill their shoes. Sophomores Kristen Herman and Abby Ethington as well as freshman Lauren Sinclair will be skippering for USF at women’s regattas.

The Citadel is a team to watch in SAISA this season. Fresh off a season where they finished third at the SAISA spring champs, the Citadel didn’t lose any sailors to graduation. A new sailing facility should be completed soon and the Bulldogs should be contending for a trip to the post season in May.

Vanderbilt is another team to keep an eye on. In the midst of a campaign to buy new 420s, the student run Commodores have a number of talented sailors on campus who, if they can get some practice, will be as good as any other team in SAISA.


Texas A&M; Galveston graduated four members of the sailing team, from a 24-man roster. Two were regular women skippers and one was a starting B division skipper. Returning is an experienced group of sailors with some incoming freshman prospects. TAMUG budget is expected to increase 200 percent and they are building a boat ramp and boat slips suitable for keel boats, and expanding recreational facility to incorporate other forms of boating into the growing waterfront facility (e.g., recreational sailing, kayaking, rowing, motor boating, fishing). They expect the team to continue to grow in strength and depth, as they have incrementally done so in the previous seven years.

The Tulane Sailing Team looks to improve on its showing from last year. Losing only two seniors to graduation, Mike Quinn and John Greifzu, they have a strong experienced group returning this year. On the co-ed side, they return skippers senior Joe Quick, senior Rich Born, sophomore Patrick Hitchins, and sophomore Corinne Libby. They also return all crews from last year, including juniors Cookie Dupont, Mary Schmid, and Sarah Montgomery. For the women’s team, everyone is returning from their 12th place finish at nationals last year. To add to their brand new coach boat from a year ago, the team has built a brand new floating dock to their site to replace old docks.

The University of Texas is in good shape for the upcoming year with 25 new recruits and a new coach, and hopes to be on track to top SEISA finishes. They did graduate several notable sailors including Spencer Ogden, Jeannie Nguyen, Jessie Dawson, and Jennifer Cobb. Barett Fontenot, son of Quantum Sailmaker Farley Fontenot, is a top recruit. They indicate a lot of focus on preparing for NAs in ’05 as host and are committed to hosting a North American Championship that will surpass all expectations. They hope to have 18 new FJ’s by early ’05 and add a promotional regatta in the months preceding the NAs as a warm up event.

Texas A&M; Sailing Team has an excellent season to look forward to this fall. Senior and team captain Charles Shade ’04 and senior Michael Byrne ’04 are returning for their fourth and final year in college sailing. Returning with them are their crews Patricia Bristow ’05 and Kara Gostenhofer ’06 who skipper on the women’s team as well. Sophomore team captain Lindsay Migues ’06 will sail with crew Megan Chostowski ’06. This combination of old and new working together this year should produce outstanding results within SEISA, as well as two seasons from now when the team leadership matures. TAMU has acquired nine new 420s and three new lasers, and will be hosting 2003 SEISA Team Racing and 2003 SEISA Women’s Champs.

The University of South Alabama Sailing Team have all seven skippers returning this fall. Four experienced freshmen have joined the team, two of them women. This summer, they purchased three more 420s, which now gives them a total of six for practice.


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