CHESTERTOWN, MD -- Coming off its fifth consecutive appearance in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Co-Ed Dinghy National Semifinals and its first-ever appearance in the ICSA Women's Dinghy National Semifinal, the Washington College sailing team is once again poised for an outstanding year in 2012-13.
One of the top challenges for head coach Josh Putnam this year will be replacing the team's top male and female skippers - Mike Whitford and Mildred Conroy - both of whom graduated in May. One of the top candidates to step in for Whitford is junior Sam Fitzgerald (Fairfield, CT/Greens Farms Academy), who sailed in B Division in Washington's 2012 ICSA Co-Ed Dinghy National Semifinal and skippered the team to a third-place finish at the America Trophy last spring. The team's most experienced skipper is senior co-captain Sam Bedinger (Richmond, VA/St. Christopher's). Bedinger saw time at crew at last year's ICSA Co-Ed National Semifinal, but has skippered at several regattas throughout his career.
Washington's three other returning skippers are all sophomores - Ryan Bailey (Toms River, NJ/Toms River South), Eleanor Conroy (West Dennis, MA/Tabor Academy), and Dan Ricker (Fair Haven, NJ/Rumson-Fair Haven Regional). Bailey had some success in single-handed regattas as a freshman, finishing sixth at the Carl Van Duyne Trophy - the MAISA Men's Singlehanded Championships. Conroy split skippering duties with her since-graduated older sister at last spring's ICSA Women's National Semifinal. Ricker, meanwhile, skippered the team to two top-five finishes in B Division.
Senior co-captain Matt Lawler (Alexandria, VA/Christchurch School) is the team's most experienced crew and is the only current member of the team to have sailed at each of the last three ICSA Co-Ed Dinghy National Semifinals. Fellow senior Maggie Smith (Annapolis, MD/Garrison Forest) joined the team last spring, but quickly became an integral member, sailing at the ICSA Women's National Semifinal. Sophomore crews TJ Heist (Ocean City, NJ/Ocean City) and Blair Towers (Goochland, VA/St. Anne's-Belfield) also sailed in the ICSA Co-Ed and Women's Semifinals, respectively, as freshmen. Junior crew Erin McAuliffe (Germantown, MD/Good Counsel) is taking this semester off from sailing, but is expected back in the spring.
Washington welcomes six new sailors into the fold this fall. Freshmen Eric Siegel (Kilmarnock, VA/Christchurch School) and Siobhan Ryan (Holmdel, NJ/St. John Vianney) can both skipper, while sophomore Courtney Fussell (Frederick, MD/Linganore) and freshmen Alexandra Crawford (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park), Richard Grouser (Bridgeton, NJ/Saint Augustine Prep), and Jacquelyn DeSoto (Port Tobacco, MD/Henry E. Lackey) have been added to the team's crews.
The Washington College sailing team will open its season tomorrow and Sunday at the Anderson Trophy (hosted by Yale) and the Riley Cup (hosted by Old Dominion).