Over the weekend, the dinghy sail team traveled back to Toms River, NJ, the site of their thrilling qualifier two weeks ago, to compete in the ISSA Mallory National Championship, the nation’s premier scholastic sailing competition. Last year, the Bears qualified for Nationals for the first time in team history and sailed to a 13th place finish in a field of 20. This year, they returned to Mallory with the goal of finishing in the top half of the field. Two weeks of practice, while their fellow Brookers were enjoying their first taste of summer break, prepared them well as they sailed to a historic 6th place finish among the best young mariners in the nation.
20 teams from seven different regions started from the Toms River Yacht Club on Saturday morning amid unseasonably cool temperatures in the low 60s and a northeast breeze. 20 races went off across two divisions, and the Bears showed poise and grit in shifty elements. At one point, the team was as high as #4 in the team rankings but slipped back after two DNFs, finishing the day in 8th place with 169 points. The Bears earned a total of eight top-5 finishes on the day, including a first-place finish for Gavin Hudson and Sean Beaver in Division A and a runner-up finish for Mauro Gonzalez and Amy Li in Division B.
Sunday dawned with sunny skies and a light breeze that allowed for two races to go off before disappearing entirely and prompting a half-hour delay. Before long, an easterly breeze picked up with 6-10 knot winds that allowed the remaining eight races to be completed before the 3:00pm cutoff. The Bears earned three more top-5 finishes, including a runner-up in the day’s final race from Gonzalez and Sean Beaver that allowed them to slip past Ransom Everglades School (FL) and secure a 6th place finish.
In Division A, Hudson, Beaver (races 1-6, 9-10), and Mairead Reitzel (races 7-8, 11-15) took 9th place with 156 points, while Gonzalez, Li (races 1-8), and Beaver (races 9-15) finished 5th with 113 points for a total team score of 269 points.
Photo Courtesy of Karl Hudson