For the seventh year in a row, the Stanford sailing team completed its sweep of the three PCCSC conference titles after recording victories in the coed and team racing championship regattas last weekend.
The Cardinal fought off reasonably strong challenges from UC Santa Barbara in both events to maintain their status as the dominant collegiate sailing program on the West Coast. Stanford led from the sixth race onward in the fleet racing championship and went undefeated in the team racing championship, adding two additional event wins to its convincing victory in the conference women’s championship last weekend.
The team began its defense of the fleet racing title on Friday, trading shots with the Gauchos early before a streak of eight consecutive race wins by sophomore and senior skippers Will La Dow and Antoine Screve and their crews, junior Nikki Obel and senior Samantha Steele, gave the Cardinal a 16-point lead.
Consistent results from UCSB’s boats kept them within reach of the title for much of the regatta, but the Cardinal maintained their double-digit lead throughout after continuing to receive consistent results from their replacement skippers, senior Axel Sly and junior Reinier Eenkema van Dijk, and crews sophomore Kennedy Placek and freshman Cassie Obel.
The team racing championship on Sunday saw slightly more drama than the fleet racing championship, if only because of the order of races. Both the Cardinal and the Gauchos won their first four contests in the five-race round robin before facing off for the title in a decisive head-to-head finale.
Any uncertainty was quickly voided, however, when Stanford’s three boats secured a perfect 1-2-3 result against the underdog Gauchos. The combination of Screve, La Dow and Sly and crews Steele, Obel and Placek managed to grab the top two spots in all five races in which they participated, allowing little room for the conference’s other teams to maneuver.
Stanford’s victories in each event have qualified it for the national coed and team racing championships, which will take place in San Diego from May 29 to June 3. The Cardinal haven’t faired better than third in either of these events since at least 2006, but, with a sixth-place national ranking in the coed format and a third-place ranking in the team racing format, they figure to contend for the titles when their East Coast-based foes head to California next month.
Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.