Southern Regional Sailing Team Swipes Top Spot in NJ Fall Fleet Championship
A week after sailing to a second-place finish in the Ocean County College Invitational, the Southern Regional High School sailing team grabbed hold of a championship and in the process qualified for the Middle Atlantic States Championship slated in Hampton Roads, Va., later this month.
The tandems of Emily Haig and Paul Reiff and Tommy Green and Emily Micciche scored victory in the New Jersey Fall Fleet Championship on Oct. 1, finishing five points ahead of the Ranney School with 37 points, as Green and Micciche swiped the second spot in the final B Division run to secure the title for the sailing Rams.
“It was so cool to see how excited these kids were,” said coach Steve Warren in his report on the team’s Facebook page. “We’ve done well the past four years, but CBA and Ranney are really tough competition and, mostly, we’ve had to settle for seconds and thirds. But Saturday was our day! And for seniors Emily Haig, Emily Micciche and Paul Reiff, it’s the biggest we’ve had in four years.”
Amid rainy and windy conditions, Haig and Reiff set the Rams in championship motion when they captured the top position in three of the first four A-Division races, while Green and Micciche took first in two of the first three. However, Ranney continued to pressure Southern, and during the stretch from Race 5 through Race 7 the Panthers were within striking distance of swiping the title from the Rams’ grip.
In the A-Division’s eighth race, Haig and Reiff won to push the Rams’ lead to five points ahead of the Panthers, but Southern was up against a time limit, as the race instructors were not allowing any races past 3 p.m. If the final two B-Division races couldn’t get in before then, the A-Division result from the eighth race would have been nullified.
With 40 minutes left to the day, the B Division started its second race, during which Ranney finished ahead of Green and Micciche, creating a tie for the overall top position, and the Panthers carried the tiebreaker. Fortunately, the last B-Division race got underway at 2:57 p.m., but unless Green and Micciche finished at least one spot ahead of Ranney, it meant at most second place for Southern.
“In a race that seemed to take forever, Tommy rounded the first mark in first with Ranney well back in fifth,” the coach described. “After holding his lead downwind, Tommy did a textbook job of covering as Cameron from Ranney took off to the unfavored side of the course. A boat passed Tommy, but that boat didn’t matter. As soon as Tommy sailed Ranney to the lay line, the series was over.”
Green and Micciche finished behind Christian Brothers Academy in second, a spot ahead of Ranney, clinching the title. Overall, CBA finished in third with 44 points, two behind Ranney, which a week earlier had won the OCC Invitational. Rumson-Fair Haven was fourth with 87 points, while Donovan Catholic was fifth with 101. Rounding out the top 10 were Summit, Toms River South, Toms River North, Chatham and Red Bank Catholic.
— David Biggy