Smooth sailing for Charlie

The fourth time proved to be the charm for Georgetown University sailor Charlie Buckingham, a former Newport Harbor High standout.

After finishing sixth the last three years, Buckingham finally pulled out a hard-fought win at the ICSA Men's Singlehanded National Championship Nov 7.

This championship was at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Buckingham edged Cy Thompson of Roger Williams University as the two battled throughout the three-day event. Thompson led after the first day, but Bucking finished as the leader winning with 69 points, while Thompson ended the regatta with 73 points.

Chris Barnard, a former Newport Harbor sailor, also competed for the Hoyas. He finished fourth at this regatta last year, but a rough first day put him in 16th overall. Over the course of the next two days Barnard found his speed again and was able to finish 10th overall.

— From staff reports

Lofgren a winner

Esther Lofgren, a Newport Harbor High alumna, helped lead the U.S. women's eight to its fifth consecutive world title Nov. 7 on Lake Karapiro in New Zealand.

Lofgren and the U.S. women's eight went to the 2010 World Rowing Championships as the favorite to win. In the heat the U.S. backed those expectations with the fastest time of the day and moved straight to final. Staying focused and on target during four days off, they came to the line in the final prepared.

The start was a bit off and they rowed through the opening 200 meters fighting in the pack. The U.S. had the lead by the first quarter buoy, and just kept building until they pushed into open water, finishing nearly four seconds ahead of second-place Canada with a time of 6:12.42.

Canada finished with a time of 6:16.12 and Romania took bronze in a time of 6:18.96.

— From staff reports

UCI's Johnson earns MPSF weekly honor

UC Irvine senior goalkeeper Matt Johnson has been named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Mikasa Player of the Week in men's water polo.

Johnson recorded 17 saves in a 7-6 home win over UC Santa Barbara Saturday, marking a season-high total for him and second-best in his career. The 17 saves are also the second-highest total in the MPSF this season.

He had six saves in the first quarter when the Gauchos were held scoreless and had two stops in the fourth quarter when UCI rallied from a 5-4 deficit for the victory.

Johnson has 161 saves in 22 starts this season, ranking fourth in the MPSF with an average of 7.32 stops per game.

Fifth-ranked UCI (16-6, 4-3 in the MPSF) will play host to USC Saturday at noon in the regular-season and home finale.

The 'Eaters compete in the MPSF Tournament Nov. 26-28 at Stanford.

— From staff reports

Valero top golfer

UC Irvine freshman Ronnie Valerio earned Big West Conference Women's Golfer of the Month accolades for the month of November. It is Valerio's first conference honor and the first for an UC Irvine athlete this season.

Valerio posted her best collegiate performance at the Turtle Bay Collegiate Invitational with a second-place finish. She carded a three-round score of 220 (73-74-73) to lead UCI to a fourth place finish. The Temecula native recorded a score of 10 birdies during the rain-soaked event.

She currently owns a team-low 74.75 scoring average to conclude the fall schedule and led UC Irvine in two of its four tournaments.

— From staff reports

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