Senior Jake Weaver and freshman Kaitlyn Rowland left the MCSA Midwinters conference in Grand Rapids with exciting news for their team of sailors.
Hillsdale’s sailing club was officially accepted into the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association on Saturday, January 27.
“We’re a real team now. After about a year and a half of working, it’s very exciting to have it come to fruition in terms of us being a real official team in every respect,” junior Pearce Pomerleau said.
This process began with Weaver and Pomerleau in late 2016. A little over a year later the club is ready to set sail as an official MCSA team in four regattas this spring.
“The first one is the freshman icebreaker at Notre Dame,” Weaver said. “We’ll probably send about six people down there.”
This competition will take place on March 24 – 25 and is to be followed consecutively by three more regattas, one of which is the Women’s Qualifier at the University of Michigan. Hillsdale’s sailing club currently has about 14 members, about half of which are women, according to Weaver.
“That was one of the nice things to put on our application to MCSA, that we had a lot of female interest,” Weaver said.
Freshman Kaitlyn Rowland is an important asset to this new team of sailors. She has been coaching since she was sixteen years old.
“She is a certified instructor,” Pomerleau explained. “She has a lot of experience not only with sailing and racing, but with teaching and coaching young sailors. We’re very lucky to have her.”
Winter’s preparation should set the sailing team up well for this upcoming spring. It recruited a great team and are looking to expand their resources to three used 420 club boats for practicing on Baw Beese Lake, as well to provide their skippers and crew members with the proper equipment. These purchases will be made possible by a $10,000 promise grant from an anonymous donor, Pomerleau wrote in a text.
“This semester we hit the ground running, recruited at The Source and tried to get people who hadn’t sailed get some experience so they could come with us and really build up a team,” Weaver said.
Weaver said there is much to look forward to for this new club. Their official membership of MCSA allows them to race in as many regattas as they want in a year, which will provide the experience this team needs.
“It’s a big deal for Hillsdale, and we have good numbers for sustainability,” Rowland said. “I’ve got lots of ideas for improving our racing.”
A lot of time and effort has gone into making this crew an official team, but their efforts have paid off and their season will soon set sail.