NHHS sailors clinch national tourney spot

This weekend of April 21 and 22 was a big one for the local high school sailing teams competing in the Gold and Silver Pacific Coast championships.

Newport Harbor High School qualified for the National Championship with a fifth place overall finish in the Pacific Coast Interscholastic Sailing Assn. (PCISA), narrowly beating out rival Corona del Mar after a close regatta at the Gold Pacific Coast Championship (PCC) in San Francisco.

In the Gold PCC Regatta at Treasure Island, Corona del Mar placed fifth and trophied, finishing just ahead of Newport Harbor, which placed 6th. But the course wasn't enough for CdM to go on to the national championship.

Because of Newport Harbor's third-place standing in the PCISA, the combined scores of all of the regattas of the year, plus the Gold PCC score, launched Newport Harbor above its rival CdM by one point.

On May 12 and 13 in Seattle, Newport Harbor will join three San Diego teams, Point Loma, Cathedral Catholic and Coronado, as well as the San Francisco team of Branson, to represent the Pacific Coast Region in the High School National Double Handed Sailing Championship — the Mallory Cup.

Newport Harbor High School also placed first, second and third at the Silver PCC in Cabrillo Beach, sweeping the event with all three of its Silver teams. Only one Gold team is allowed at the Gold PCC. CdM's Silver teams placed seventh and 17th.

The Gold PCC was a very challenging and competitive regatta with dramatically different wind conditions and weather each day. Saturday, April 21, was a beautiful and sunny day in the Bay Area, with temperatures in the 80s, and a light but steady breeze from the west at 8 to 10 knots through most of the day.

There were eight races in each division on Saturday, and Cathedral Catholic and Branson were tied for the overnight lead. Newport Harbor was in fifth with 89 points, with sailors Ryan Davidson and Greer Watson in A Division and Daniel Segerblom and Francesca Cappellini in B Division. CdM was in sixth with 109 points, with sailors Michael Madigan and Chloe Dapp in A Division and Conner Ketler and Caitlyn Johnson in B Division.

Like the wind, the competition became fiercer, and like all good rivalries, the bragging rights between Newport Harbor and CdM of who would beat whom at the regatta came down to the last race.

With the top four places secured, Newport Harbor was leading CdM while vying for fifth place until the fourth race. Michael Madigan and his brother Jimmy of CdM, and Conner Kelter and Christophe Killian sailed with consistency and speed to help improve CdM's score. CdM came on strong and led Newport Harbor by five points.

Keenen Chung came in as Ryan Davidson's crew in the next race and they placed fifth. Then Daniel Segerblom and Erik Higbie came in third, so Newport Harbor was now tied with CdM with 163 points after after races.

Newport Harbor continued to sail strong in the sixth race on Sunday, by scoring 4th place in both the A and B divisions, which gave them the lead over CdM by eight points.

The Madigan brothers of CdM scored a second place in the A division, and Ryan Davidson and Keenan Chung of Newport Harbor scored a fourth. This brought CdM closer to NHHS's fifth place. Now, the Sailors only led the Sea Kings by a six-point margin.

Conner Kelter and Christophe Killian of CdM came in fourth, which gave CdM a five-point over Newport Harbor, thus taking the fifth-place trophy from their rivals. Kelter, who also sailed with Clare Dahl, came in third overall in the B division.

Michael Madigan of CdM and Ryan Davidson of Newport Harbor tied for fifth place in the A division. Daniel Segerblom ended up fourth in the B division. Jackie Cappellini and Chase Wells were alternates for Newport Harbor's team. And Jack Thompson was an alternate for CdM's team.

Meanwhile, the Silver Pacific Coast Championship was held in Cabrillo Beach at the mouth of Long Beach Harbor. With 21 teams competing, Newport Harbor High School dominated the event.

The team of Wills Johnson and Megan Roach in A Division and Harrison Vandervort and Kristina Miller in B division came in first with 102 points. Newport Harbor's team of Davis Hanscom and Kappy Fuller in A Division and Bayley Davidson, Victoria Roach, and Nathan Mayhugh in B Division came in second with 139 points.

In third place overall was Newport Harbor's team of Jack Martin, Katie Calder and Baron Yahn in A Division and Camden Daily, Finn Dobkin and Colin Duffy in B Division with 156 points.

MARY CAPPELLINI is a Newport Harbor High School sailing team parent.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World