INTER-COLLEGIATE SAILING ASSOCIATION NAMES
2009/2010 ICSA ALL-AMERICA SAILING TEAM
Boston College Wins Fowle Trophy
NEWPORT, R.I. (June 9, 2010) – The Intercollegiate Sailing Association of North America (ICSA) has announced the members of its 2009/2010 ICSA All-America Sailing Team, along with the Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year, the College Sailor of the Year, Sportsman of the Year and the winner of the Leonard M. Fowle Memorial Trophy for the all-around best college team. The ICSA All-American honors are awarded to competitors who have demonstrated outstanding performance in competition during the college sailing year (fall and spring seasons) just concluded. A panel of representatives from each of the seven ICSA conferences reviews each sailor’s individual results and sailors are named to the team as All-Americans, Women’s All-Americans and/or All-American Crews. Their names will be added to the permanent ICSA Hall of Fame display located in the Robert Crown Sailing Center at the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.).
2010 College Sailor of the Year – Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI), a graduating senior from Yale University (New Haven, Conn.) and four-time recipient of ICSA All-American Honors (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010), has been named the ICSA’s 2010 College Sailor of the Year.
Barrows was recognized for his numerous wins in A-Division over the course of the 2009-2010 season, which, when combined with the scores from B-Division, earned Yale the overall win at the Harry Anderson Trophy , the Nevins Trophy, the Danmark Trophy and the Old Guard Regatta for the Owen Trophy. He was first in A-Division at the Truxtun Umsted Intersectional at which Yale finished fifth overall, and he placed third at the ICSA/Laser Performance Men’s Singlehanded National Championship. At the beginning of May he finished second in A-Division at the ICSA National Championship Western Semi-Finals, the event which qualified Yale to advance to the finals of the most important event of the college sailing year – the ICSA/Gill National Championship. At that event, held June 1-3, Barrows skippered to fifth in A-Division with the Bulldogs finishing sixth in the overall standings.
The review panel noted that “his wins were sometimes by a wide margin, combined with a strong team race record, and he had a level of consistency over a large record that was astonishing.”
“I never expected it to tell you the truth,” the soft-spoken Barrows remarked about receiving the College Sailor of the Year Award. “I was nominated last year, but it [the award] was never really a goal of mine. I set more of a goal to win each individual event. . . it was never about winning the award, but more about wining as a team.”
Barrows grew up in St. Thomas and was on-the-water cruising with his parents before learning to sail through the junior program at St. Thomas Yacht Club. Introduced to soccer at a very young age, he lettered in high school and was the team's leading scorer, while also playing volleyball and basketball. “I really enjoy competing,” he said.
Since his arrival at Yale in 2006 Barrows has been a key player and was named Team Captain in 2008 and 2009. He won the 2007 Laser North American Championship and competed at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil, placing ninth overall. He represented the US Virgin Islands in China at the 2008 Olympic Games, finishing 21st out of 43 competing nations in the Laser class.
Barrows thanked a number of people during the awards presentation and later explained that it was the help he received along the way that took him far in sailing. “It was great as a freshman to have a crew [Abigail Coplin, who crewed for Barrows his first two years at Yale] who could teach me about boat trim and boat handling. I was more of a Laser sailor in high school and she showed me the ropes. I thanked Blair Belling, who I sailed with for the last two years, and also Marla Menninger who has been heavy air crew and my crew in everything outside of college sailing.”
At age 12 Barrows met Zach Leonard, Yale’s Director of Sailing, when the latter spent four months in St. Thomas. Leonard had a significant influence on Barrows, especially after he left the island. “We weren’t sure what path to take, coaches to hire, events to enter. Zach was always very helpful in giving guidance, and pushing me to do well in school. I never thought about going to an Ivy, but he showed me that that was a realistic goal and I really fell in love with Yale when I came to visit. I’ll always feel indebted to him for allowing me to have this experience.”
Barrows majored in Sociology and thinks he may become a professional sailor in the future. His immediate plans, however, are to represent the USVI again in the Laser, this time at the 2012 Olympic Games. With that goal in mind, this summer he will be in the thick of international competition starting with the XXI Central American & Caribbean Sports Games in Puerto Rico, followed by Skandia Sail for Gold and the Laser World Championships, both in England. In the fall, he will return to New Haven as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs.
“It [the award] means a lot to me, but mostly it means that it puts the Yale program back on the map as one of the top teams in college sailing,” concluded Barrows. “Sailing only became a varsity sport in 2004 and since then the program has really taken off and had a lot of success. So wining this award is representative of how the program has developed into a great program. In sailing it is easy to recognize one person, but past team members have done well and not gotten rewarded. I’ve learned from some of them and I wouldn’t be here without them today.”
2010 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year – Allison Blecher (Fullerton, Calif.), a graduating senior from College of Charleston (Charleston, S.C.), has been named the 2010 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year. She is the second Lady Cougar to win the honor and, in addition, was named an ICSA All-American for the fourth consecutive year (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
“It’s still kind of shocking . . . it hasn’t set in yet,” remarked Blecher about 10 days after being named Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year at the conclusion of the ICSA Women’s National Championship on May 28. “I wanted it for such a long time and now I did it. Wow!”
The review panel praised Blecher’s exceptional and extensive record that spanned both fall and spring seasons and saw her always finishing in the top tier of A-Division. In particular, they noted that her performance as A-Division skipper not only helped win the ICSA Women’s National Championship for College of Charleston but also was “one of the truly dominate performances in the last 20 years at the women's championship.”
Blecher’s top performances during the 2009-2010 season included placing third at the ICSA/Laser Performance Women’s Singlehanded National Championship. Sailing A-Division, she won at the Navy Women’s Spring Intersectional, was second at St. Mary’s Women’s Intersectional and was sixth at the Atlantic Coast Women’s Championship contributing to those three regatta wins by College of Charleston when added to the scores from B-Division. The Cougars finished fifth at the Navy Women’s Fall Intersectional where Blecher was second in A-Division.
At the ICSA Women’s National Championship, Blecher and crew Alyssa Aitken won four races of the ten sailed to earn the win in A-Division with a low score of 22. When combined with 62 points from B-Division, College of Charleston was the winner of the women’s national title for the second time in five years by a convincing 25-point margin over Boston College.
“I wouldn’t say that I had a strategy,” said Blecher. “I put the whole award thing in the back of my mind. As a team we looked at every event as getting one step closer to nationals. We went prepared for events and felt comfortable in the breeze and in the end it helped basically with the whole season. And it paid off as we were able to be calm at nationals and it was an amazing regatta.”
The child of two sailors, Blecher grew up sailing in Marina del Rey at California Yacht Club. She is back in California and will spend the summer coaching at Cal YC to “ease her way out of college.” After majoring in corporate communications with a minor in global logistics, Blecher doesn’t think a desk job is in her immediate future. She may take a year off and then go back to grad school, but likely will get into college coaching before trying an Olympic campaign, most likely for 2016 as it would be “cutting it a little close” to try for 2012.
Blecher knew she was a finalist for the Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year honor, but said that when she heard her name called at the awards: “I didn’t think. I was just happy. A lot of the credit goes to my coaches and the team. The past four years have been a really interesting, fun journey. I met Alana O’Reilly (who won this award in 2006) when I went to visit the school. When I first got to Charleston my freshman year she told me she had high hopes for me. I didn’t have a high school team . . . I sailed singlehanded and wasn’t a rock star by any means. One thing just led to another.”
2010 ICSA Sportsman of the Year – Liz Powers (Wellesley, Mass.), a Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.) graduating senior, has been recognized as the 2010 ICSA Sportsman of the Year.
“She is without question one of the most outstanding people I have ever coached,” said Michael O’Connor, Head Coach at Harvard University, explaining that Powers was also selected the Sportsman of the Year by the women in the NEISA conference as well. “The inquisitive nature that she brings to everything rubs off on people. Everyone is always happy to see her. She competes at the highest level and anyone that ever sails against her knows that she is just a tremendous sport and a great athlete and just a great person to be around.”
Nominations for Powers described how she demonstrated week in and week out to her teammates, competitors, coaches, opposing coaches, race committees and regatta organizers “that you can battle for every point, race with and against the very best, but always have a smile and a good thought for everyone involved in the game we all enjoy so much. This year's selection for the prestigious Hobbs Trophy did not have one single act; but rather an elegance and drive that was infectious.”
Fowle Memorial Trophy – Boston College: The Leonard M. Fowle Memorial Trophy, recognizing the year’s best all-around performance in college sailing, has been awarded to Boston College (Chestnut Hill, Mass.). Presented since 1972, the award is determined by points accumulated at the major Intercollegiate Sailing Association Championships.
During the fall season, Boston College won both the ICSA/Vanguard Women’s Singlehanded Championship and the ICSA Sloop National Championship. Over the last two weeks, The Eagles finished second at both the ICSA Women’s National Championship and the ICSA/APS Team Race National Championship before crowning their year with victory at the ICSA/Gill National Championship. BC is now the sixth school in 42-years of Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association history to win all three spring championships (ICSA Women’s Nationals, ICSA/APS Team Race Nationals, and the ICSA/Gill National Championship).
For more on ICSA, visit www.collegesailing.org. A full list of the 2009/2010 ICSA All-America Sailing Team follows.