WMU News

Sailing team members named to U.S. crew

Nov. 9, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Two Western Michigan University students will be on the team when 28 of the nation's best collegiate sailors take to the water to challenge their Japanese counterparts in the annual U.S./Japan Goodwill Regatta Nov. 24-26 in Balboa, Calif.

David Johnson, a senior secondary education major from Hickory Corners, Mich., and David Oswald, a senior management major from Menominee, Mich., have been selected to represent the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association on this year's national team. They are the only Michigan students who will compete in the event, which also will feature sailing team members from such other schools as Georgetown, Boston College, Boston University, Dartmouth, Tufts and Stanford.

"Next to qualifying for nationals, this is the highest honor a college sailor can get," says Johnson.

"It was really exciting to be picked during our senior year," says Oswald. "This really caps off four great years of racing at Western."

Both students were part of the University's 1998-99 team, which earned a spot on the 1999 list of the nation's top-20 collegiate sailing teams. That milestone marked the first appearance by WMU on the list and made the Bronco sailors the only team to make the top 20 without the benefit of having a coached varsity program. The team was and remains a club team that coaches and finances its own competitions.

The Goodwill Regatta, now in its 11th year, will be held at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in Balboa. It is sponsored by sailing enthusiast Tadashi Sekiyama of Japan's Nikken Rentacom Group, which is comprised of 21 companies in that nation's leasing industry. The regatta is designed to promote goodwill and sportsmanship among the two nations' competitors.

Johnson says that interaction between the two teams is a major part of the appeal of the Regatta.

"The teams are actually housed together," he says. "We'll be together throughout the entire event."

The other major attraction, says Oswald, is just being there and having the WMU name linked to a top international competition.

"A lot of good sailors leave the Midwest when they go to college, because they don't realize the caliber of programs like ours," he says. "We'll be out there competing against the top sailors from two countries. The competition will be intense and just by being there we may get some people to look more carefully at sailing in the Midwest."

Each national team is made up of 14 two-person teams--10 of which are coed and four of which are women's teams. Johnson and Oswald will join the other teams in California on Nov. 21 so the entire group can practice together for two days before the regatta begins. Scoring for the event will be done on both an individual and overall team basis.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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