The No. 6 Stanford sailing team saw its championship season get off to a strong start last weekend as the team dominated the Pacific Coast Collegiate Sailing Conference Women’s Championship in Long Beach, successfully qualifying for women’s nationals on May 24-27 for the 13th consecutive season in the process.
Near perfect performances from skippers junior Lily Katz and freshman Maria El-Khazindar and their crews freshman Kathryn Booker and sophomore Elena VandenBerg saw the Cardinal take the Pacific Coast women’s title by a full 52 points. Katz and Booker won seven of their 10 races in division A, accruing a total of just 14 points, while El-Khazindar and VandenBerg were only edged out of the top spot once as the team quickly established an insurmountable margin between themselves and their closest competitors, UC Santa Clara and UC Santa Barbara.
Elsewhere, the team also sent three boats to participate in the Thompson Trophy, an inter-conference regatta at the Coast Guard Academy. Freshman Russell Clarida and crew junior John Cannistraro proved a highlight at this event, dominating division C by 30 points, but the boats in divisions A and B couldn’t match their success as Stanford fell to 6th place overall in the 17-boat field.
This weekend, it will be the coed and team racing teams’ turns to attempt to qualify for nationals. The Cardinal have won both of these qualifiers each of the last six years and will hope to continue this consistency when they head down to San Diego this Friday.
The team is in an excellent position to dominate these events, and it figures to be a bit disappointed if it can’t add to this streak. Stanford is the only team in the PCCSC to be ranked in the latest Sailing World poll, and its members have frequently shown themselves to be a league above local competitors in the events this year.
UC Santa Barbara is perhaps the Cardinal’s greatest threat in the race for these conference titles. The Gauchos received votes in the same Sailing World poll (albeit not the 39 required to be ranked) and showed some ability to top the defending champions in the St. Francis Interconference at the beginning of April, when Gaucho freshman Harrison Vandervort put on a clinic in the regatta’s division B. Stanford will hope to rely on consistency from veteran senior Antoine Screve in division A this weekend to hold off the Gauchos in the team’s last competitive fleet racing event before nationals begin at the end of May.
The Cardinal will begin their fleet racing qualification this Friday, while team racing qualification will occur on Sunday.
Contact Andrew Mather at [email protected].