By Jon Faudree/JU Head Sailing Coach
This past weekend, the JU sailing team traveled to Austin, Texas, to compete in its first inter-conference regatta, taking on 10 other teams including big name schools like the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas and Tulane. Once again, the JU team was made up of all freshmen. Saturday morning, the winds were a solid 5-8 knots; Danny Lawless and Mara Stroble-Lanka started in the A-Division, and Ian Ikeda and Anna Palmer were in the B-Division.
Lawless and Stroble-Lanka started with a fifth-place finish, then ran off three straight wins. As the wind increased to 10-14 knots, Victoria Caba rotated in, but the results didn’t change. The pair added four more wins in dominating form; winning by more than 20 boat lengths.
Racing in B-Division was much the same, with Ikeda and Palmer winning five out of the first six races and finishing in second place in the other race. As the day wore on, the breeze began to lighten up to under 6 knots. Hannah Knighton finished the day with Ikeda, and the two placed first and fourth in their two races.
Sunday, the winds were light and two races were completed in each division. Stroble-Lanka rejoined Lawless to finish out the regatta with first- and third-place finishes. Ikeda and Knighton added another second and first.
The team’s final score was a mere 31 points; JU won the regatta in dominating fashion by 37 points, finishing first in 15 of 20 races.
Winning in this fashion was a terrific confidence boost going into this weekend’s South Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association (SAISA) Fall Dinghy Championship, especially for a team made up entirely of freshman. It was a long way to travel for a regatta and a huge commitment for these student-athletes to leave Jacksonville on a Thursday and return on a Monday morning after an all-night drive.
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