Southern Sailing Squad Has Bright Days Ahead
Repeating the success of last year, particularly when battling against the wind, certainly will be a difficult task for the Southern Regional sailing team. After all, the Rams had completed a season that coach Steve Warren described as “the best we’ve ever sailed.”
So what can the Rams do this year to top what they did last year? Well, time will tell, but it’s safe to say they have a good shot at doing big things again this spring, especially because Warren’s squad is loaded with experience and talent.
And it all starts with senior skipper Emily Haig, who last spring led the Rams to new heights while capturing the New Jersey Interscholastic Sailing Association girls state championship, then later in the year helped deliver a New Jersey State Fleet championship, along with a seventh-place spot in the Middle Atlantic States Championship and a sixth-place finish in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Championship.
Emily is set to graduate in June, so she won’t be around for the fall season, but with a couple of seasoned veterans alongside her, the young bunch coming up behind them will have plenty of opportunities to learn just a tad bit more this spring.
Along with senior crew members Paul Reiff and Emily Micciche, the Rams have plenty in the tank with the younger bunch featuring Emily’s sister, junior skipper Dana Haig; sophomore skipper Tommy Green; and freshmen Nate Ertle and Joe Mrazek. Also joining the team this year are eighth-graders Cole Johansen and Bridget Green, as well as seventh-grader Alex Klinov.
With the sailing action starting a bit earlier than the other spring sports, Southern’s sailors kicked off the campaign on March 18 with a second-place showing in the SUNY Maritime Invitational, which featured 13 scholastic teams from New Jersey and New York sailing the East River on a blustery day.
“We had lots of positives from the trip,” Warren posted to the Southern Sailing Facebook page the next day. “Emily, Dana and Tommy all showed flashes of good boat speed while driving. We had great crew work from Paul and Tommy as the day went on. We learned some lessons about sailing in current. All told, we see it as a solid start to the season.”
The following Saturday, on March 25, the Rams placed second of 14 teams in the Ocean County College Invitational, coming up short of Christian Brothers Academy by just two points in the 12-race series. Dana Haig and Tommy Green won the B Division, while Emily Haig and Micciche ended up third in the A Division.
On April 2, the Rams placed third overall in the New Jersey Fleet Championship, rebounding after a rough April Fool’s Day. The Haig sisters, along with Micciche, managed to win three of the four races the next day to easily win the A Division, while Dana Haig and Tommy Green had a solid four-race series to take fourth in the B Division. By finishing third, Southern qualified for the Mid-Atlantic Championship in Kings Point, N.Y., April 8-9. Unfortunately, the Rams didn’t qualify for the national regatta after placing 10th at Kings Point – the result of being overpowered by heavy wind the first day and having the regatta ended with no air and no races competed after a five-hour wait on the second day.
“On the one hand, we fell short of our goal of qualifying for the nationals,” Warren said in his standard Facebook summary following a regatta. “But our reward for battling back into the top-10 on Saturday was qualification to a highly competitive intersectional at Annapolis with schools from New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, New England and the Midwest. As always, I’m super proud of how hard our kids sailed.”
Of course, the Rams will have plenty more opportunities during the coming months, and hopefully more big finishes.
— David Biggy