After a strong start to the season, the USF sailing team will play host this weekend to the USF Women’s Intersectional in the waters off St. Petersburg.
The regatta is part of a busy weekend for the team as it will divide forces to compete in three separate events.Bulls coach Stephanie Doyle said the goal for the home regatta is to earn a top-3 finish.
“The women’s team that we have competing is fairly new,” she said. “It’s more of a regatta we want to get experience and not necessarily win.”
In addition to the USF regatta, team members will travel to Eckerd College and Stanford University to compete. Doyle said more experienced team members will travel to Stanford, where she hopes again to earn a finish of third or better. She said the goal at Stanford is to earn experience in a slightly different team racing format.
Thus far this season, the team has seen strong finishes, winning its first three South Points competitions. The South Points is a series of regattas among Southern regional teams in which the five best overall finishers advance into district competition.
The team has already earned a qualification position for the district championships, which are still more than a month away.In addition, the team has fared well against prestigious opponents. It finished 13th out of 18 at an event hosted by No. 3 Charleston two weeks ago against a number of ranked opponents. Last week, it finished fourth out of 10 at the University of Florida against Charleston and other Southeastern teams.
“I’m delighted with how well this team has done, and it makes the morale high going into district championships,” Doyle said.Doyle said competing in events with national powerhouses has given the team more recognition. The team received votes in the latest national top-20 poll.
“It’s great that we’re getting that national recognition and vote of confidence. It helps the team a lot with recruiting,” she said.
- Rob Brannon