Wed May 18, 2022
The Lake Forest High School (LFHS) Sailing Team is enjoying another very successful spring competitive sailing season. Out of 160 active Midwest regional high school sailing teams, the LFHS Sailing Team qualified for both Team and Fleet Spring Nationals this year and are headed to Seabrook, Texas from May 20-22 for team race nationals and San Diego, California from June 3-5 for fleet race nationals.
While high school sailing takes place in spring and fall, the spring season is considered championship season. Teams participate in a two-stage qualifying series for each national championship: fleet racing and team racing. LFHS qualified for Fleet Racing Nationals by placing 2nd at the Midwest Qualifier at Chicago Yacht Club in late April and for Team Racing Nationals by winning the Midwest Qualifier at Pontiac Yacht Club outside of Detroit in early May. This impressive accomplishment has been years in the making.
“Last spring none of our skippers had been through a championship season before and only qualified for Fleet Race Nationals. Since we are a young team, the freshmen are new and the sophomores missed their first season because of covid, winning the qualifier for Team Race Nationals this season was a big victory for us,” Coach Will Howard said.
With a championship season under their belts, the sailing scouts hit the water early this March with a specific goal in mind. The goal was not just to qualify for both nationals, but to do well at them. Practicing every day after school and competing every weekend, the Scouts rose to the top through a rigorous training regime and complete team dedication.
The LFHS sailors rostered for nationals are Henry Scholz ‘23, Mary Carter ’24, Charlie Gish ’24, Paige Roby ’22, Tristan McDonald ’24, Rachel Pogany ’22, Josie Janowicz ’23, Owen Kohut ’25, Keegan Chatburn ’25, and Jackson Schwartz ’25.
“Sailing on Lake Michigan in the spring builds tough kids and good sailors. It is often super gnarly, but the range of weather conditions on the lake prepare our team for any venue,” said Coach Will Howard. “I wrestled, swam, and played water polo at LFHS, and I run our practices more like a wrestling team than a sailing team. I push the kids very hard every day and we perfect fundamentals and plays with immense attention to detail.”
The results speak for themselves. Last spring Charlie Gish was the top freshman skipper at The Fleet Race National Championship, and Henry Scholz is the only Midwest sailor to qualify for all 3 National Championships this school year (Singlehanded Nationals in the fall season). This team is not only carrying strong traditions of Lake Forest Sailing’s (LFS) race team successes but pushing the upper limits. LFS is set to continue this success for the years to come.
Coach Will Howard, who has a deep respect for his team, says “Our team is so deep with talent that our practices are often more competitive than most regattas in the Midwest. We sent our freshmen sailors to the all-ages state championship earlier this May where they placed 2nd, missing 1st by only 4 points. Freshmen Owen Kohut and Jackson Schwartz won the A division at the Illinois State Championships. This is a very big deal. The top roster understands this depth of talent is a competitive advantage as well as a responsibility to maintain. The upper-class athletes help coach the younger ones and enjoy their successes all the same.”
Most of the LFS sailors grew up in the Lake Forest Sailing Program from a young age. Over the years they have spent more time on the lake than many will in a lifetime. Eventually, these sailors take their sailing careers into their own hands and travel frequently year-round to compete against the nation’s best.
To watch the LFS Scouts close out another successful season, follow Lake Forest Sailing on Instagram @lakeforestsailing. For information on getting involved in youth sailing at LFS visit www.lfparksandrec.com/sailing or email Sailing Director Will Howard at HowardW@cityoflakeforest.com.
The Lake Forest Sailing program of the Lake Forest Parks and Recreation Department provides training and racing opportunities for all youth ages that are interested in committing to the process and offers a wide range of water sports opportunities at our beautiful lakefront. The Lake Forest Parks & Recreation Department is committed to providing residents of all ages positive experiences through a variety of high-quality programs, activities, and services under the direction of professional and dedicated staff who are responsive to the changing needs of the community.
Program Supervisor, Lake Forest Sailing
Lake Forest Parks & Recreation