St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s (SMCM) sailing team is starting the 2018-2019 year off strong with Leo Boucher, ‘22, earning a spot at nationals. Since sailing operates under a single division, the SMCM sailing team competes against the most athletically prestigious and competitive schools in the country. They are captained this year by seniors Liam McCarthy, Grace Papp and Casey “Suey” McCallion and led by experienced coaches Bill Ward and Adam Werblow, who will be celebrating his thirtieth year of coaching at SMCM on Sept. 7, 2018.
The Seahawks performed admirably from the very beginning of the season. One of the earliest regattas of the season, the Laser South Regatta hosted by the Naval Academy, saw Boucher place first in his first official race as a Seahawk with 27 points and senior captain McCarthy, ‘19, place eighth with 89 points. Unlike in most sports, sailing is based on a low-point scoring system. “You might race about fourteen times in a regatta.” Werblow, head coach of the team, explains, “If you get first place you get one point and if you get eighteenth, you get eighteen points. They tally the scores up in the end and the boat with the lowest score wins.” The event Boucher won was the men’s singlehanded races with a total of twenty different boats racing.
Boucher brought home another win for the team at Carl van Dutne Regatta at the Naval Academy when he placed first out of eighteen boats. Only the top eighteen men’s singlehanded athletes in the mid-Atlantic conference compete at this regatta, with only the top five advancing to nationals. His first place win qualifies him for the Laser Performance College Sailing Men’s Singlehanded Nationals. Boucher says “it felt incredible to win because the current Olympian for men’s singlehanded sailing won the same race when he was in college.” Nationals will take place Nov. 2 through Nov. 4 and will be hosted by Hope College in Holland, MI.
With this early-season highlight, the Seahawks are off to a great start. Werblow says they “have a small team” and “need to get better all around, but we have the people within our team to become good if we put in the work.” They have already attended and hosted several regattas including the Navy Women’s Open where skipper Ellie Ungar, ‘19, and crew Sophia Taczak, ‘21, placed third of eighteen boats and the LUCE Trophy regatta, hosted by SMCM, where the team placed third of sixteen boats.
According to Werblow, the team is “training up for this weekend’s showcase regatta.” This regatta will feature the best 36 teams in the mid-Atlantic conference. It is split up into four parts. The women’s showcase will occur the weekend of Sept. 29 and will be hosted by the Naval Academy and SMCM. The co-ed events will take place the following weekend at the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology and Harvard. The showcase will give the Seahawks a further opportunity to show their skills as they advance into the already promising season.