Crimson Freshmen Find Spotty Success in Debuts

FRESH FISH
Angeline L. Baniqued

Spending the long weekend competing at the Moody Trophy regatta hosted by the University of Rhode Island, the Harvard sailing co-eds took last place in a 16-team field—Roger Williams was the eventual winner—but came away satisfied that its four freshmen gained experience.

Having reached the midpoint of its fall season, the Harvard sailing team spent the long holiday weekend on the waters in Kingston, R.I., competing in the Moody Trophy regatta.

The Crimson only competed in one event rather than the typical two or three, as for the second weekend in a row, the women’s team did not compete, and the co-eds only sent out one squad to sail at the University of Rhode Island.

The Harvard co-eds found themselves in a particularly unusual situation this past weekend. With the main sailors of the co-ed team taking the weekend off, the Moody Trophy regatta featured mostly collegiate sailing newcomers. Four of the five Crimson sailors that competed are freshmen.

“Having mostly freshmen compete shows how much faith and trust the rest of the team and the coaches have in us and our abilities,” freshman Gram Slattery said. “Being able to compete against opponents at such a high level will only make us better sailors in the future.”

The team would go on to a last-place finish out of the field of 18 schools. But with the more experienced members of the squad not competing this weekend, the freshmen saw this as an opportunity to not only gain experience on the collegiate level but also a way to prove themselves as competitive and capable sailors in a top regatta.

“This is the first time that we’ve competed in such a major regatta without having our seniors to take charge,” Slattery said. “Usually we have [captain] Brendan [Kopp] and Sarah [Pierson] sail for our A-division, and Emily [Lambert] and Alex [Jumper] for the B, but having mostly freshmen compete this time was a great experience.”

In the A-division, the freshman duo of Gram Slattery and Brian Drumm teamed up for the second time this season, as the two captured two top-10 finishes out of nine races on their way to a 16th-place finish with 120 points.

The B-division sailors also finished the weekend with 120 points of their own, as a combination of four Harvard sailors contributed to the effort. Freshman Olenka Polak made her debut for the Crimson, competing in her first regatta of the season. Classmate Richard Bergsund skippered the first eight races in the B-division for Harvard, while Drumm took over the skippering duties for the ninth and final race of the weekend. Senior and Crimson editor William White was the only non-freshman to compete in the Moody Trophy regatta, as he and Polak served as crew for the B-division.

“It’s always our goal to try to win, regardless of if we have our very best combinations of sailors out there or if it’s two of us that have never sailed together in a regatta before,” Bergsund said. “The fact that we managed to get a second- and third-place finish is great for us, because success against this type of competition means that we can sail at this level.”

The B-division squad did see a bit more success in individual races than its A-division counterparts did, as Bergsund and Polak grabbed a third-place finish in the second race of the regatta and their second race working together as a skipper and crew. Drumm and White had the highest finish of any Harvard pairing in a single race on the weekend, taking home a second-place finish in the very last race of the regatta.

Despite seeing success with top top-three finishes in two of its nine races, the B-division Crimson contingent finished in last place in its division, matching the point total of Harvard’s A-division sailors.

The Hawks of Roger Williams University claimed the Moody Trophy and an overall first-place finish with a total of 99 points, with the Tufts University Jumbos in a close second place, only four points behind. Ivy League rivals Yale came in third place in the regatta with 112 points.

The Crimson will start off the second half of its season next weekend, competing in two Ancient Eight venues. The co-ed squad travels north to Dartmouth to sail in the Captain Hurst Bowl, while the women’s team will see its first action in three weeks as it heads to Yale to compete in the Yale Women’s Intersectional.

—Staff writer Ricky Liu can be reached at ricky.liu12@college.harvard.edu.

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