By Julie WoodHoya Staff Writer
Capping off a spring season in which they had been ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in Georgetown history, the coed sailing team made Hoya history again on June 5 by capturing the 2001 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association/Ronstan North American Team Racing Championship.
The national title is the first for Georgetown since the basketball team won the NCAA Tournament in 1984.
“It was the first time that the sailing team has ever won a national championship, so it was pretty big for us,” Head Coach Mike Callahan said.
The championship, held on the Charles River in Massachusetts and co-hosted by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, featured twelve collegiate squads who received their bids through regional elimination.
The regatta began with a round robin between all twelve teams: College of Charleston, Dartmouth, Eckerd, Harvard, Old Dominion, University of Calif. at Santa Barbara, University of Hawaii, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Texas, University of Washington and Georgetown.
In this first round, sailors raced in Johnson Flying Juniors (FJs) and Parker Larks. The Hoyas won 10 of their 11 races, losing only to Hawaii. The field of competition was then narrowed to two groups of six, the championship division and the consolation division, with Georgetown competing in the former.
In this round, sailing in FJs, the Hoyas once again lost only one match, this time falling to Harvard. They were victorious against Charleston, Hawaii, Old Dominion, and Dartmouth. In the second championship division round robin, the Hoyas lost to Old Dominion, putting them in a must-win situation; they needed to win all of the other races in the round robin in order to win the championship, and they did.
The Georgetown sailors finished the three-day competition with a final record of 18-3, while Harvard took second with a 16-5 record, and Dartmouth ended up in third with 15 wins and 6 losses.
The Hoyas relied on the strength of 11 team members throughout the championship. Ryan Costello (COL ’01) and John Camera (COL ’01) and seniors Brian Bissell, Curtis Flood and Ken Ward all contributed. Georgetown’s crews were made up of Baye Emery (COL ’01), Dana Scalere (NUR ’01) and Gavin Weiss (COL ’01), senior Leah Williams, junior Shelly Wentworth and sophomore Eliza Ryan.
Bissell, Ward, Costello, Emery, Scalere and Williams were all named to the 2001 ICSA/ Ronstan All-American team.
Although the Hoyas were the favorites entering the race, they were sailing against a tough Harvard squad that was helped by their home course advantage. However, the strong Georgetown alumni contingent in Boston was helpful to the sailors, and one team supporter even managed to have a large “GO HOYAS” banner hoisted onto a prominent building on the Boston skyline, boosting the team’s spirit.