As the cooler weather approaches, it signifies the completion of the fall college sailing season. Nevertheless, the chilly temperatures couldn’t slow down the red-hot College of Charleston’s pursuit of its seventh Leonard B. Fowle Trophy.
The Cougars’ quest got a big boost over the weekend as it won the ICSA Match Race Nationals for the first time ever, held in Charleston and raced in J/22s. The Cougars — led by skipper Christophe Killian, Reed Baldridge, Jake Reynolds and Beka Shiff — held off Dartmouth in the final series of races for the title.
“We are very proud to have won the Cornelius Shields Trophy for match racing for the first time after placing in the top 5 the past two years,” assistant coach Mitch Hall said. The regatta was a true reflection of their hard work during the offseason and the combined efforts of the entire team to make an event like this possible.”
The Cougars last won this title during the 2006-07 season, when the championship was contested as a fleet racing event (ICSA Sloop Nationals). This is their first time to claim the national title since the format was changed to match racing.
College of Charleston is bidding to win the Leonard B. Fowle Trophy, awarded annually to the best overall sailing team in the country based on finishes at national championships, for the third time in the last five years. The Cougars won the trophy in 1986, ’88, ’98, 2007, ’12 and ’15.
College of Charleston trails only the U.S. Navy (10) and Tufts University (8) for most victories overall.
Also helping its chase was its performance at the singlehanded national championships held in Norfolk, Va., in early November.
Enrique Arathoon and Stefano Peschiera — who will sail in the 2016 Summer Olympics for his home country of Peru — finished third and fourth, respectively, for the Cougars. Senior Reed Baldridge finished 10th in the 18-boat men’s field.
During Schiff’s third consecutive appearance at the singlehanded nationals, the senior who won the SAISA title finished 10th for the Cougars in the field of 18 women.
The Cougars also claimed several over events during another successful fall season.
The coed sailing team won its eighth consecutive SAISA Fall Coed Dinghy Championship as well as the Truxtun Umsted Memorial Trophy — a four-division regatta held in Annapolis, Md.
“It was a very successful fall season, and I know our team will be eager to get back on the water for the spring competitions,” head coach Ward Cromwell said.
To officially close out the season, College of Charleston will once again participate in the annual Rose Bowl Regatta hosted by Southern Cal in Long Beach, Calif., on Jan. 2-3.
Follow Luke Reasoner on Twitter @lukereasoner