Sports -- May 31, 2007

Published on Thu, May 31, 2007
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by Jack Kintner

Blaine sailor wins national championship

Blaine’s Mattie Farrar, a junior at St. Mary’s College in Maryland, won the women’s national intercollegiate sailing title last weekend in a three-day regatta hosted by Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

The highly competitive event involved teams of five sailors divided into two boats with a skipper and crew each plus one alternate from 18 colleges and universities, many of them prestigious division 1 schools like Stanford, Harvard, the University of Michigan and the Naval Academy. Each had scored well enough in regional competition to advance to the nationals.

Among northwest schools, Western Washington University was edged out in regional competition by the University of Washington, who finished next to last in 17th place at the nationals.

Sailing out of host Old Dominion University’s facility on the broad and shallow Elizabeth River near where it empties into Chesapeake Bay, 16 round-the-buoys races of about a half hour each were sailed over the three day event in 13-foot two-man Flying Junior class sloops, rotated among the teams to offset any speed advantages one boat might have over another. Flying Juniors are light (250 pounds) and simple – no spinnakers – which puts a premium on racing tactics in order to win.
“Winds were light, and got lighter,” said Farrar’s dad Gus, who went to the east coast competition along with his son Ian.

“The wind was about six [knots] gusting up to maybe 12 the first day out of the south, then five to 10 knots out of the northwest the second day, and then out of the west at maybe 3 to 8 knots the third day,” he said.

Farrar, a 20-year-old junior, sailed in the St. Mary’s B division as crew with her skipper, freshman Sara Morgan Watters of nearby Oxford, Maryland.

Two-time and eventual female college sailor of the year junior Adrienne Patterson of Newport Beach, California, was St. Mary’s A-Division skipper along with her crew senior Melissa Pumphrey of Annapolis. The team came into the contest ranked number 1 nationally but was picked to finish no higher than third behind the host Old Dominion team and Harvard.

St. Mary’s Varsity sailing coach Adam Werblow told his team the boats could win it all by maintaining an average finish of sixth place or better.
“For us the whole goal has been to keep banging out the fours and fives and be consistent to force our opponents to stay with us,” he said.

After a morning of practice on the first day in the two boats completed four races each with finishes of 2-3-6-3 for Patterson’s A division boat and 2-8-3-4 for Farrar and Watters B division boat for a total score of 31 and a one-point lead over Charleston.

Competition remained close on the second day as Charleston overtook St. Mary’s and actually led in the standings after five races.

But at the end of the day St. Mary’s regained a slim seven point lead with finishes of 3-10-2-1-11-3 for Patterson and 10-6-2-4-6-9 for Farrar and her skipper.

Farrar, who was first taught to sail by her father on lakes and reservoirs near her home town of Pueblo, Colorado, teamed up with Watters to finish with two firsts, three seconds, two thirds and three fourths on their way to a score of 70 for the 18 races.

They were outsailed only by the runner-up B team from Charleston and the other St. Mary’s boat, with whom their combined score was enough to easily win the championship.

Slivers from the bench

Eight of 10 Blaine thinclads medal at state

Blaine sent eight track athletes, three boys and five girls, to the state AA track meet at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma, eight of whom came back with some brass:

Douglas Ramirez placed 3rd in the 800, five and a half seconds off the pace at 1:58.0. Tygr Cain placed 4th in the pole vault, just three inches below the winning height at 13 feet nine inches. Robin Taylor placed 6th in the pole vault with 10 feet six inches.
Julie Meaker placed 6th in the 400 meters a little over two seconds behind the winner with a 60.08.

Bryant Williams placed 7th in the 110 hurdles one and a half seconds behind the winner at 16.3, and the team of Cassie Acidera, Breanna Olason, Alison Raine, and Julie Meaker placed 7th in the 4 x 200 relay, three seconds off the pace at 1:48.47.

“The trip was a lot of fun, even though we wanted to do better,” said Lacey Montgomery, “but stopping at the mall in Burlington, that helped.”

Dudley, Bland place in state tourney

Senior John Dudley had a second day 75 to go with his opening round of 77 for a total score of 152, 11 strokes off the blistering pace set by Lynden’s Will Holdridge and Hockinson’s Gaston de la Torre, who won the tournament in a playoff. Dudley’s score put him in a tie with Pullman’s Dillon Williams for 16th.

Senior Karissa Bland played par golf for all but two bad holes, finishing with a 90 the second day for an over-all score of 177, 29 strokes behind Bellingham phenom Katie Sharpe but still good enough for 10th place.
“The scores seemed kind of high to me,” said girls head coach Kelly Brown. “Still, we’re very proud of Karissa and the way she played. Tenth place is very good in this field.”