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Sailing team qualifies for War Memorial Regatta for first time

Senior Vidar Minkovsky and sophomore Jeremy McCauley led the Stony Brook sailing team to new heights on Sept. 23 and 24. Their performance helped the team qualify for the War Memorial Regatta for the first time in program history. JAMES GILMORE/SBU SAILING TEAM

The Stony Brook sailing team has qualified for the War Memorial Regatta, an annual race between the top 18 team in its conference, for the first time in the their seven-year history. The team clinched a qualifying spot after its performance at the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Racing Association (MAISA) Central Fall Qualifier. Ocean County College hosted the qualifier at the Tom’s River Yacht Club in New Jersey. The qualifier took place on Sept. 23 and 24.

The A-team, consisting of senior Vidar Minkovsky and sophomore Jeremy McCauley, helped lift the Seawolves to a top-four finish with their performance. The team finished with a consistent score line, including a first-place finish in the second race.

The qualifying spot in the regatta was determined in a final B-Division race. Stony Brook was two points ahead of Stevens Institute of Technology and was in need of a strong performance from its B-team, consisting of junior Nicholas Manfredi and senior Sam Zito.

After the first two legs, Zito and Manfredi were trailing by one boat. In the second beat however, they were able to regroup and sailed a perfect beat. The team finished three boats ahead of Stevens and clinched the final spot for the regatta.

“We had to be smart, and the scores really showed that. There isn’t much difference in boat handling skills from the top five teams,” Zito said. “It was all about who could be smarter than the other — who knew what the wind was doing and going to do. We couldn’t have done it without Coach, who led us through every race, reminding us to just keep looking and thinking, we’ve been here before it’s time to execute everything we know.”

Head coach Geoff Loffredo, who has led the team since 2012, was satisfied with his team’s effort in the qualifier.

“I thought that everyone came into the regatta focused,” Loffredo said. “We’ve been close in the previous year or two, so those instances where we were so close was a driving force for our team.”

Going into the regatta, the sailors have high hopes for their team’s ability against their competition.

“We’re feeling confident, as we know that it’s no accident, or by any sense of luck that we finally qualified,” Zito said. “We’ve been on the edge of qualifying for a while, and it feels right that we finally get a chance to compete at this level. It’s difficult finding the sense of pressure that we used to keep our heads strong during the Qualifier, so it’s all about making new goals and just doing our absolute best.”

Stony Brook will be up against a competitive group at this year’s regatta. The United States Merchant Marine Academy’s sailing team is currently the reigning regatta champion and will look to defend its title in this year’s race.

The team that was revived with two 420s, a small dinghy and a handful of driven and passionate students back in Feb. 2012 will finally be sailing in the War Memorial Regatta, which will be held on the weekend of Oct. 28 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York.

 

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    Jay ROct 24, 2017 at 10:50 am

    This is awesome!!

    Reply