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Newport Harbor’s Hou among locals to commit to Ivy League schools

Newport Harbor High senior Joseph Hou will continue his sailing career at Yale next year.
(Courtesy of Joseph Hou)

Joseph Hou called Yale University a dream school.

Next year, the Newport Harbor High senior will get to make that dream a reality.

Hou has committed to Yale for sailing. He’s one of a handful of local senior student-athletes who have committed to Ivy League colleges and were honored at Wednesday’s signing day festivities.

Technically, Ivy League commits do not sign national letters of intent. Ivy League colleges don’t use that system, as they do not offer athletic scholarships. Instead, they send out “Likely Letters” and they act as unofficial offers of acceptance.


Hou is an elite high school sailor, who also represents Newport Harbor Yacht Club and Long Beach’s Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in club sailing.

“Yale’s sailing team is one of the top teams in the nation, so it helps out a lot when you can go from a good team at Harbor to another good team at Yale,” Hou said. “Also, through Yale, they give you a really good pathway to progress on to Olympic sailing or sailing after college, if that’s what you are looking for. For me, that’s my goal. I’ll hopefully be doing the Olympics in 2024.”

Hou is a good get for Yale. He recently won the High School Singlehanded National Championships, completed Oct. 29 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hou came out on top in the full rig radial class for the Sailors. Two years ago as a sophomore, he also won the laser radial class national title.

“High school sailing is pretty different from the club sailing that I do,” Hou said. “There [are] a lot of kids in high school sailing who do very little club sailing, then there [are] people like me who do almost solely club sailing and kind of dabble in high school sailing. But it’s still the feeling of winning a national championship. Nothing really compares to that.”


Hou is now preparing for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, which start Dec. 9 in Sanya, China. He qualified to represent Team USA as the top Singlehanded Dingy sailor.

Laguna Beach also has five female student-athletes headed to the Ivy League, including a trio of water polo players. Alana Evans has committed to Princeton, Isabel Riches to Brown and Evan Tingler to Harvard.

The Breakers also have swimmer Kasey Karkoska headed to Columbia, and diver Liv Mitchell is going to Brown.

Corona del Mar senior Jake Marlo has committed to Harvard for lightweight rowing.

Twitter: @mjszabo