KCHS grad Sunkler is one of 3 senior sailors at Washington

Kent County High School graduate Will Sunkler, left, returns for a fourth year as a member of the Washington College sailing team. He sailed in five regattas as the A Division skipper last fall before being sidelined with an injury.

NORFOLK, Va. — In his collegiate debut last weekend, Washington freshman skipper Stewart Gurnell placed fourth in B Division of the Riley Cup. With senior Andrew Vernon as his crew, Gurnell won the first race. His other place-finishes, in order, were third, ninth, fourth, sixth and eighth.

Overall, Washington finished 11th in the 17-school fleet. This was its best finish at the Riley Cup since taking second in 2012.

Also for Washington, the senior boat of skipper Will Sunkler and crew Ellie Lienert placed 15th in A Division. Their best finish was eighth in the final race.

George Washington (47), New York Maritime (54) and Georgetown (58) finished first, second and third, respectively. Navy (76) edged the Merchant Marine Academy (78) for fourth.

Host Old Dominion (82) was sixth.

With a late start due to the hurricane affecting travel, racing began around 1 p.m. Saturday in a light northerly. A Division completed three races in north-northeast winds of 4 to 6 knots. The wind shut off and the waiting game for the sea breeze began. Around 5 p.m., it arrived out of the east-southeast at 7 to 9 knots. B Division completed three races, and A Division went out for one more race as the sun was setting in the same sea breeze.

On Sunday, two A Division races sailed in a 4- to 6-knot northwesterly breeze. The wind then died until a north wind, progressing into a northeast wind, filled in and B Division was able to sail its final three races.

This is the second season for Bradley Adam as the Shoremen’s head coach.

Returning seniors are Will Sunkler (Rock Hall, Kent County High School), Ellie Lienert (Brunswick, Maine) and Andrew Vernon (Severna Park, Severna Park).

Sunkler sailed in five regattas as the A Division skipper last fall before being sidelined with an injury.

Lienert and Vernon are skippers and crews. Vernon was named the 2018-19 MVP after competing in a team-high 15 regattas.

The junior class consists of skipper and crew Henry Proud (Manheim, Pa.) and crew Jack Mecca (Kennedyville, Charter School of Wilmington, Del.) Proud was the team’s most improved sailor last year, recording a pair of top-five divisional finishes as a skipper and competing at both the War Memorial and America Trophy regattas. Mecca saw time as crew at the America Trophy.

The newcomers are: sophomore crew Izze Rios (Wilmington, Del., Wilmington Friends), a transfer from the University of Delaware; freshman skipper Stewart Gurnell (Old Saybrook, Conn.), who was a league championship sailor in Connecticut; and freshman crew Jodi Eren (Arnold, Learning Community International), Jon Kelly (Cambridge, Cambridge-South Dorchester), Gage Mandrell (Lititz, Pa.) and Andrew Tran (Bel Air, Bel Air).

Washington’s only home regatta is Oct. 12-13.

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