Stafford Leader

Southern Regional Sailors Making Plenty of Waves This Spring

Spring Sports Preview
Apr 13, 2018
Courtesy of: Southern Sailing Coach Steve Warren (right) and the Southern team are expecting another solid season, despite the graduation losses of several excellent sailors from last year.

Nor’easters wreak all kinds of havoc., and with so many popping up in March, the Southern Regional sailing team had no opportunities to get on the water prior to the start of the season. So when the Icebreaker Regatta in Toms River kicked off the season March 18, coach Steve Warren treated it “like a practice.”

The team finished second among the 15-team fleet. Not bad for the young Rams, who since the opener have been sailing really well heading into mid-April.

“We are coming off a strong fall season in which we finished in the top 10 in both the Mid-Atlantic Fleet Championship (eighth) and the Mid-Atlantic Team Race Championship (seventh), and capped off with a really impressive seventh in the Atlantic Coast Championship,” Warren said. “That said, we sail in a really competitive league, in which even qualifying for the larger regional regattas can be tough.

“I don’t have any set expectations. We know how good we are, and we know the people we are sailing against. We’ve spent a few years now sailing against really good teams from Virginia, Annapolis, New York and New Jersey. I’m just looking forward to a lot of good competition.”

The Rams should be in the mix amid all the good competition, given their returning crew from last year, including senior skipper Dana Haig, junior Tommy Green and sophomore Brielle Willoughby. Of course, with the graduation losses of standout skipper Emily Haig – now at Massachusetts Institute of Technology – and Paul Reiff and Emily Micciche, Southern technically could be considered a rebuilding team.

But that’s not completely accurate, since the Rams were quite successful last fall with a new cast of youngsters, including sophomores Joe Mrazek and Nate Ertle, and freshmen Bridget Green, a highly experienced sailor even as a ninth-grader, and Lyndsey Clarke.

“Our team will be led this spring by Tommy and Dana, our co-captains,” Warren said. “Dana will be skippering A Division with Tommy, who had a really strong fall season. Brielle and Bridget give us flexibility as both skippers and crews, as we mix to match conditions. Nate and Joe have improved immensely and are essential in our heavy-wind game. Joining the mix will be Lyndsey, who just started sailing in the fall but is learning fast and will play a bigger role going forward.”

On March 24, the Rams finished a solid third of 12 teams during the New Jersey Fleet Qualifier, earning a spot in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship regatta slated for April 14-15 in Christchurch, Va. Southern finished behind Ranney and Rumson-Fair Haven.

The Rams were back on the water Sunday, April 8, at SUNY-Maritime, and they continued to make waves. Without the services of Tommy Green, the Rams utilized Haig, Mrazek, Willoughby and Bridget Green in the 10-team intersectional event featuring schools from New Jersey and New York and arrived home with the first-place trophy.

David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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