Mater Dei Sailing Team embarks on new season as #1 in the nation

The Mater Dei sailing team was previously a club sport, but as of this year, they are now officially recognized as a varsity sports team. Having worked hard all season, the sailing team not only became an official team but became #1 in the nation during last year’s season.

The sailing team and coaching staff have worked together diligently to form a solid and competitive team. With practice, hard work, and dedication, the team won their first-place victory, which was the leading factor in Mater Dei’s decision to make them an official sport.

Coach Aubrey Mayer has been a critical figure that led this team to success. Coach Mayer says that many vital things helped lead the team to victory.

“Recruiting, running good practice, putting together the right equipment, orchestrating great coaching and player development thanks to all of our assistant coaches- Greg Dair, Peter Sangmeister, and Jon Pinckney, [in addition to] focused game planning for each particular venue we compete in, great organizational effort thanks to our administrative team led by Arthur Hinojosa and Betsy Decker [were the key things that I did to lead the team],” Mayer said.

Over the years, Mayer has worked with many assistant coaches such as Dair, Sangmeister, and Pinckney. With their help, Mayer has seen the team expand and improve in many different aspects.

“Like all sports, sailing is about repetition, rhythm, and player confidence,” Mayer said. “When we started building the team in 2018 through a major recruiting initiative, we knew that we needed talent, which we got, but that talent has to be able to come together and pull in the same direction. And it has as the kids have matured. [I am] very proud of them and enjoying the ride with my seniors.”

Mayer knows that building a team from the ground up is a big responsibility that requires a lot of work. From the beginning, Mayer has been heavily involved in making the sailing team successful. From recruiting to practices to planning travel, he has done it all.

“It feels great to have taken over a Mater Dei team that had never qualified for a National Championship and to have built the team into a national powerhouse,” Mayer said. “I’m very proud and grateful for the opportunity and support of all our parents and the administration.”

Senior Vera Allen has been on the sailing team for four years, beginning her freshman year. Over the years, Allen has seen her team grow in both size and skill. She feels very proud to be a part of a team that has won many awards and the title of National Champion.

“It felt great to have so much success at our local competitions during the school year, and it helped our team gain a lot of recognition amongst other schools as well as within Mater Dei,” Allen said. “Winning both divisions of the National Championship last season was the greatest accomplishment we’ve experienced and we hope to continue to win the championship this year as well.”

Allen has been through a lot with her teammates and knows how much they have worked to earn their titles. Allen is grateful that sailing has been recognized as an official sport because she feels it deserves it.

“I think Mater Dei has made the sailing team an official varsity sport because the team has proven themselves to be on the same level as other sports in terms of time spent training and success at competitions,” Allen said.

As a senior this will be Allen’s last year on the sailing team. She truly has a love for this sport and has set personal goals she hopes to achieve this year. The team as a whole also has goals they hope to strive for and achieve.

“My team would like to go to all three national championships this year and hopefully place at each individual one,” Allen said. “As a personal goal, I would like to win each competition in my division for the year and sail at nationals and win again this year.”

With sailing being made an official sport, the team has been set in a new direction and has a new path to follow. They are determined to remain #1 in the nation and continue to improve each year. The team is still new though the members are determined to expand the team and recruit new sailors. Allen is very passionate about sailing, and she is very proud to be on a great team that has come a long way.

“Sailing is a really unique and fun sport that I hope to continue in college and think a lot of people should be open to trying out!” Allen said.