CHESTERTOWN, MD -- After four consecutive berths in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Co-Ed Dinghy National Semifinals, the Washington College sailing team returns a great deal of collegiate experience and welcomes perhaps its deepest-ever recruiting class.
Sixteen sailors will take to the water this fall for Washington with nine of them being freshmen. Skippers Mike Whitford (Chicago, IL/Francis W. Parker School) and Mildred Conroy (Newton, MA/Tabor Academy) are the team's lone seniors.
Whitford emerged as the team's top skipper as a junior and recorded four top-three A Division finishes in 2010-11, including a pair of first-place finishes. Conroy, meanwhile, had three top-three divisional finishes a year ago and her clutch sailing in B Division on the second day of the America Trophy propelled the team into the ICSA Semifinals.
Junior crew Matt Lawler (Alexandria, VA/Christchurch School) was named the team's Most Valuable Sailor, recording three top-three divisional finishes. Junior skipper Sam Bedinger (Richmond, VA/St. Christopher's) followed up his Most Improved Sailor performance as a freshman with a solid sophomore season, helping the team to a paid of top-four divisional finishes.
Sophomore skipper and crew Sam Fitzgerald (Fairfield, CT/Green Farms Academy) earned the team's Most Improved Sailor award in 2010-11 and recorded a pair of top-three divisional finishes. Sophomore crew PJ Miller (Lawrenceville, NJ/Notre Dame) had a pair of top-four divisional finishes a year ago. Sophomore crew Erin McAuliffe (Germantown, MD/Good Counsel) joined the team last spring and helped the squad to a second-place finish in a team race.
The rest of the roster is comprised of freshmen, but the group includes accomplished and experienced high school sailors. Four hail from New Jersey - Ryan Bailey (Toms River, NJ/Toms River South), T.J. Heist (Ocean City, NJ/Ocean City), Dan Ricker (Fair Haven, NJ/Rumson-Fair Haven Regional), and Brogan Savage (Wall, NJ/Wall). Mackenzie Needham (Shelter Island, NY/Shelter Island) and Niko Snow (Glen Cove, NY/Portledge) join the team from New York. Eleanor Conroy (West Dennis, MA/Tabor Academy) joins her sister Mildred on the team, while Blair Towers (Goochland, VA/St. Anne's Belfield) joins Bedinger and Lawler as Washington's third Virginian. Dale Strong (Severna Park, MD/Gunston Day School) is the most "local" of the freshmen, having sailed at nearby Gunston Day School.
Third-year head coach Josh Putnam welcomes back assistants Tom Pierson and Mike Sipala to the coaching staff, both of whom helped coach the team last spring. 2011 graduate and forwer WC sailor Max Kurland takes on a new role at his alma mater as a new assistant coach.
The fall 2010 season gets underway for the Washington College sailing team September 10th and 11th at three regattas - Yale's Anderson Trophy, a Laser South Qualifier at Navy, and Navy's Women's Radial Open. Washington will host the second of two MAISA Central Qualifiers for the War Memorial October 15th and 16th in its only home regatta of the fall.