WindCheck caught up with a very busy Kelly Stannard. The two-time collegiate All-American from Salem, CT had recently returned from a victory at the ICSA/APS Team Race Nationals in Cascade Locks,WA, where she and fellow RogerWilliams University Hawks teammates thrived under the guidance of Coach Amanda Callahan.
WindCheck (WC): What was the Gorge like?
Kelly Stannard: Everyone had talked up the Gorge and made it out to be one of the windiest venues Nationals could have been held. All I had heard was that the breeze funneled down though the mountains and that there was lots of adverse current making for windy and choppy conditions. However, when we arrived the day before Team Racing Nationals we went down to the venue to try and watch the last day of the women’s competition, and it was glassy with lots of current. The Columbia River certainly was not all that it was made out to be for their event.
The racing conditions were trying to say the least. The current was extremely strong and made the starts incredibly unique, for the first two minutes of the sequence, all competitors sailed away from the line against the current! Throughout the team-racing event we never saw the true “Gorge” conditions that were expected. Breeze was up and down and everyone on our team got a chance to sail; a true team effort for the win!
WC: What was the competition like?
KS: All throughout the season, there was never one school that was a clear cut leader going into Nationals. The top three places at the team race regattas were always being mixed up. Actually, the RogerWilliams A-team hadn’t won a single team racing event all season, just consistently in the top four. So no one really knew what to predict at Nationals.We just knew it could have been any of the teams that could win and that the competition would be tough. The other teams certainly delivered, making for exciting and close racing.
WC: What kind of fun occurred off the racecourse?
KS:We went roller-skating twice while we were in Oregon, which was hilarious.We found a roller-rink called the Oaks Amusement Park located in Portland and we fell so in love with it after the first visit that we came back for more the day before we left. It was great fun and made for great laughs as we watched out teammates struggle, slip, slide, and take diggers. Not only was it entertaining to watch our teammates flail, there were some very talented regulars on the rink that amazed us all! None of us knew how fun or hard roller-skating was!
WC: What did the Hawks do to win?
KS: I don’t think it was any one thing that we did to win, but rather a combination of many factors. To start we have an unbelievable coaching staff with Amanda Callahan and Colin Merrick, both Team Race World Champions.
WC: Who were your teammates?
KS: The teammates and coaches that came with us to Nationals were as follows:
Our Coach was Amanda Callahan
Our Athletic Director, Dave Kemmy, also made the trip to Oregon with his wife to come and watch, which was awesome of them! That kind of support from our University means so much to the team.
Also, back at school we have a wildly talented B-team to practice against on a daily basis. This makes our practice challenging and the B-team pushes us hard.Without them we would not be nearly as strong as we are, it was a whole team effort. Even those team members who did not come with us to the Gorge are responsible for the win.
So with our talented coaches and B-team pushing us all season, we got off to an extremely strong start.We went through our first gold round robin undefeated, we then lost a few before the final four but came back hard to win all of our final four races and take the title.We stayed focused and out sailed our competition. The entire team attitude on the water and on land was positive, which truly was the glue that held us together through the final four.