The greatest athletes approach competition constantly anticipating their next challenge and their next move. In challenging current against the toughest teams in the nation, the Cougars excelled at predicting the best plays on the race course and keeping their focus, dethroning four-year reigning champions Yale and bringing the Walter C. Wood perpetual trophy back to Charleston. “Going into the final set, we knew that we had to win every race to have a chance to win this, because we would lose a tiebreaker against Georgetown. We went into every race acting like our back was against the wall and tried to come out on top of it. It ended up working out.” Says skipper Jack Cusick. Upon winning, Cusick grabbed his teammate, crew, and close friend, Chloe Dapp and dove into the water. The win held extra weight for the pair, recent graduates, who have been pursuing this award since being recruited to the College of Charleston in 2013. “By far Jack is the calmest person I’ve ever sailed with. It’s usually super high intensity but we get along really well because we have been friends for such a long time,” says Dapp of her skipper.
The Wood perpetual trophy is given in honor of Jack Wood, who was M.I.T.’s first sailing director and the co-founder of college racing. Since 1977, teams from across the country have coveted the victory and the esteemed award that comes with it. To win the Wood trophy alone is an honor; Coach Ward Cromwell says, “Winning this event is a great accomplishment and winning it twice in 12 years is good, but winning it at home is even better.” The Cougars finished with a score of 21-4, compared to second place finisher Yale who scored 19-6. Yale was followed by Boston College and then Georgetown. This year’s racing was especially close, with the top four teams finding themselves tied in the leaderboards at several instances during the weekend. “We took a loss to Georgetown right off the bat, but that didn’t hold us back at all, the gang all has a really good mindset right now and is getting it done!” said team captain, Mac Dickinson, going into the semi-finals.
The College of Charleston Cougars footed an impressive roster, skippers for the team were Stefano Peschiera (junior), Jack Cusick (senior), and Christophe Killian (junior) with crews Grace McCarthy (junior), Chloe Dapp (senior), Annabel Carrington (sophomore), and Elizabeth Pemberton (junior). Cusick also sights their B-team as playing a huge role, “We had a really strong practice the night before the first day of team racing [against our teammates.] We felt really fast going into it.“ Cusick and Dapp look forward to another successful few days of racing as they represent the Cougars in the Gill Coed National Championship, which kicked off today in Charleston Harbor.