By SCOTT CHIUSANO
The Cornell women’s sailing team will participate in its first competition as a varsity team this weekend, when it hosts the Cornell Fall Open. The meet will begin on Saturday and extend through Sunday at the Merrill Family Sailing Center on Cayuga Lake.
Though it will be the first varsity competition for the team, senior Jenny Borshoff maintained that the Red has been here before and will not let nerves get in the way of training.
“We prepared the same way we have prepared for it in past years,” Borshoff said. “There are no nerves going into this weekend. The Cornell Fall Open has always been our opening event, just a week or two after we hold tryouts, so this weekend is all about getting on the water and tuning up for bigger events.
The new and improved sailing center is home to Borshoff and the rest of the team. According to Borshoff, they have been training in the same water for the past few years and have become comfortable on Cayuga Lake.
“Just like in other sports, you could say that there is a sort of home team advantage in sailing,” Borshoff said. “Because this competition takes place on Cayuga Lake, we have more knowledge about the general trends of the wind and the conditions. Also, the other teams have to sail our boats. The best sailors are able to quickly adapt to and figure out new conditions and boats, though, so the advantage only goes so far.”
The sailing team has only two seniors on the roster, Borshoff and senior Sonia Guior. They have the unique privilege of being given varsity status in their final year on the team.
“It has been really exciting having the varsity recognition for my senior year, and I am really grateful to our team’s alumni and the university for giving us this opportunity,” Borshoff said. “I love seeing the team take this big step forward, and even though it’s only for my last year, I’m glad that it’s happening for the younger girls on the team.”
Saturday’s meet marks the beginning of a long season that extends into mid-November. The Red will compete in two Ivy League meets at Princeton and Dartmouth.
Last season, the women’s sailing team advanced to the National Championships held at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, where they competed against a handful of varsity squads. Cornell finished third at the competition. Borshoff acknowledged that with Nationals still so far off in the distance, it will take time for the team to gel before they can recognize their potential.
“Out of the seven girls that competed in the 2013 National Championship, only two of us remain,” Borshoff said. “We also have a lot of new team members this year. I would say right now that the team is looking to improve our skills and do the best that we can this fall and spring, but we don’t know what that best is yet.”