Lakers sail against local rivals in Presque Isle Bay contest

Fez Ur-Rahman, Staff writer

On Sept. 15 and 16, Mercyhurst Sailing Club participated in a regatta on Presque Isle Bay against other local schools for the very first time. Mercyhurst took fifth place in this intriguing race.

Mercyhurst, Gannon and Penn State Behrend came together at the Erie Yacht Club to host the Battle of Lake Erie Regatta at Presque Isle Bay over the weekend, as a new way to build community between the local schools.

The competition also hosted the visiting teams of Syracuse University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Buffalo, U.S. Military Academy, Rochester Institute of Technology and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

This was the first nationally sanctioned college regatta in Erie, approved by the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA) of the Intercollegiate Sailing Association and is expected to become an annual event.

The teams sailed in 14-foot Club 420s and used the Erie Yacht Club’s Rickloff Community Boathouse as a base for the race. Mercyhurst finished in fifth from the overall scores of the 12 races that took place on Saturday and four more that took place on Sunday.

The participating students representing Mercyhurst were Jordan Murray, senior Intelligence Studies major; Robert Schneider, freshman Hospitality Management major; Drew Hoover, sophomore Finance major; Kate Lightner, freshman Athletic Training major; and Mary Bauer, freshman Social Work major.

Murray, Schneider and Hoover serve as officers for the Mercyhurst Sailing Club, holding the roles of president, vice president and treasurer, respectively.

Hoover particularly enjoyed the social and competitive aspects of the event.
“It was challenging to be competitive with the high levels of experience from other sailing teams, compared to our club that was founded only a few years ago. This was Mercyhurst’s first official regatta, and we did really well for our club’s current experience,” Hoover said.

Robert Green, Hospitality Management professor, is the adviser for the Sailing Club.  He took part in the events and oversaw the Mercyhurst effort throughout the competition.

“Presque Isle Bay has some of the best sailing conditions on the East Coast, and the facilities provided by the Erie Yacht Club are phenomenal. We are fortunate to have their support of collegiate sailing in Erie. Mercyhurst’s team did remarkably well for their first outing in a competitive regatta, with the A team finishing 5th and the B team finishing 3rd. The Mercyhurst teams finished 5th overall, just four points behind 4th place Gannon,” Green said. “We’re looking forward to entering more regattas in the MAISA region next year and again co-hosting Battle of Lake Erie with Gannon and Penn State Behrend.”

The regatta was a success and the competing teams had an exciting weekend. It is hoped that this event will be a good starting point for the Mercyhurst Sailing Club to build on in future years.

“As time progresses, I look forward to building the club by participating with other schools and travelling to other races in the area,” Hoover said.