Bainbridge 18th in nation!
5/14/2016 - 5/15/2016
Bainbridge High School sailors competed at the national high school championships in "fleet racing" over the weekend of May 14th and 15th, after having qualified for the invitation by finishing as one of the top two teams in the Pacific Northwest. They competed in a field of the top 20 high school teams in the country for the Mallory Trophy, held this year at the College of Charleston, South Carolina.
Skippers Blake Bentzen and Co-Captain Caelan Juckniess, complemented by alternating crew members Co-Captain Karl Anderson, Nicole Sanford, Elizabeth Rolfes, and Sophia Kasper placed 18th, just edging their Pacific Northwest rivals North Kitsap High School in the process. Not only was the competition extremely challenging sailing against the country's best youth sailors, racing on the Cooper River required dealing with heavy river/tidal currents up to 3 knots at a 45-degree angle across the course, which tested the sailors' seamanship skills and at times generated significant chop that made racing physically grueling.
The regatta organizers took advantage of the ideal 15-knot westerly conditions on Saturday to pack in a very taxing day of 14 races. Despite the stiff competition the Bainbridge boats each had a number of top-10 finishes in these races, including as high as 3rd place, but the elite level of competition was unforgiving of even the smallest mistake.
Sunday's racing saw 6 more races in lighter winds, and the dominating current made aspects of the racing - like starts and mark roundings - very challenging. Even with the demanding competition, Bainbridge's two boats posted results showing increasing self-confidence and consistency as the regatta progressed with some excellent individual race results, allowing the sailors to maintain a positive outlook throughout, confident that they had accomplished all the goals they set for themselves. Blake Bentzen and his crews finished the regatta ranked 18th in "A" fleet and Caelan Juckniess also ranked 18th in the "B" fleet; the combined A and B Fleet scores gave Bainbridge an overall finish in 18th place.
The 2016 Mallory Trophy regatta marked the first time since 2003 that BHS has competed in the "fleet" racing national championships, having competed each year since 2004 in the "team" racing nationals.