Sailing Season Preview

CHESTERTOWN, Md. -- The 2013-14 intercollegiate sailing season begins this weekend and Washington College will embark on the campaign with a familiar face as its new head coach.  Conner Blouin, a two-time All-America honorable mention skipper and 2010 graduate of the school, was hired on as the team's head coach just last week.  He will guide a team which will open the fall with seven returning sailors on its roster.

With no seniors on the roster, Washington will be led by junior captains Ryan Bailey (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) and Eleanor Conroy (West Dennis, Mass./Tabor Academy). Bailey was named the team's Most Valuable Sailor a year ago, finishing fourth at the MAISA Laser Qualifier and 13th at the Carl Van Duyne Trophy (the MAISA Men's Singles Championships). He was also a skipper during the team's first-place finishes in the Tom Noble Team Race and Team Race Challenge and served as the B Division skipper at both the fall and spring MAISA Co-Ed Dinghy Championships. 

Conroy, like Bailey, had a hand in two team race regatta wins last spring. She also served as a crew in the team's third-place B Division finish at the Kings Point Dinghy Open and fourth-place B Division finish at the MAISA Spring Open. Blair Towers (Goochland, Va./St. Anne's-Belfield) joins Bailey and Conroy to complete the team's junior class. She also helped the team to those two team race regatta wins last spring. A crew, she finished third in B Division at last year's Riley Cup in seventh in A Division at the Admiral's Cup. She was the team's Most Improved Sailor two years ago.

Skipper Eric Siegel (Kilmarnock, Va./Christchurch School) and crews Alex Crawford (Annapolis, Md./Severna Park), Jackie DeSoto (Port Tobacco, Md./Henry E. Lackey), and Siobhan Ryan (Aberdeen, N.J./St. John Vianney) comprise the sophomore class. All but DeSoto sailed in the team's two team race victories last spring. Siegel was named the team's Most Improved Sailor, racking up a third-place A Division finish at the MAISA Spring Open and third-place B Division finishes at the Central Fall #1 and Kings Point Dinghy Open. Crawford helped Washington to third-place A Division finishes at the Riley Cup and MAISA Spring Open, DeSoto helped the team to a third-place B Division finish at the Kings Point Dinghy Open, and Ryan placed fourth in B Division at the MAISA Spring Open.

Among the team's new additions are four recruited sailors who could see time as both skippers and crews - Matt McDermaid (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach), Hannah Schmidt (Trappe, Md./Easton), Mason Sheen (Mandeville, La./Christ Episcopal School), and Alex Smith (Wantagh, N.Y./General Douglas MacArthur)

In the spring, the Washington College sailing team will be looking to earn its sixth ICSA Co-Ed National Semifinal bid in seven years. The team missed out on its sixth consecutive bid last spring by one place at the America Trophy, the MAISA Spring Co-Ed Dinghy Championships. Washington finished ninth in the field, one spot behind Fordham, the eighth and final MAISA team to qualify for the national semifinals. This fall, the team will look to better its seventh-place finish at last year's War Memorial (MAISA Fall Co-Ed Dinghy Championships). This year's War Memorial will be held November 2nd and 3rd at Old Dominion. 

Washington will open its schedule this weekend at a pair of regattas, Yale's Anderson Trophy and Old Dominion's Riley Cup. Washington finished 11th at last year's Anderson Trophy and second at last year's Riley Cup - behind only the host Monarchs. The second weekend of the season will have the team competing at the Central Fall #1, hosted by Ocean County, and at the Nevins Trophy, hosted by Merchant Marine. The Central Fall #1 is the first of two regattas at which MAISA Central teams can qualify for this year's War Memorial. The second of those two qualifiers will be Washington's lone home regatta of the fall - the Washington College Open (Central Fall #2) on October 19th and 20th.