V.I. sailors compete in regional championships


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ST. THOMAS - A year ago, Kyle Brego had just made the transition from Laser Radial to Laser Full Standard. After a strong summer of sailing, Brego is now a seasoned veteran in his class.

The Antilles School senior was among five U.S. Virgin Islands high school sailors in action at the South Atlantic District Championship in Clearwater, Fla., last weekend.

Brego won one race and took second overall in his Laser Full Standard Class to earn an invitation to the ISSA National High School Single-handed Championship. He will race for the Cressy Trophy on Nov. 9-11 at the U.S. Sailing Center in Long Beach, Calif.

Only the top three sailors in each class, from each of the nation's six districts, advance to the national championship. The South Atlantic District includes sailors from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Northern Alabama and the Caribbean.

"I had missed qualification the last two years, so I really wanted it this year," said Brego, one of six seniors on the Antilles sailing team. "Last year was my very first race in full rig, so I guess I've come a long way. I had a good summer and I'm trying to put it all together."

Another senior, Alec Tayler, was in good shape for qualification in Laser Radial before the last race of the weekend.

"I was third going into the last race, but I was over the line," said Tayler, who tallied one first- and three second-place finishes in the 15-race regatta. "I just pulled it a little bit early, and since it's high school, I had to keep the score. Then I fell to seventh."

Tayler, a team captain, was among the Top 3 and qualified for nationals last year, but finished seventh among the 28 Laser Radial sailors last weekend and missed the cut.

Fellow Laser Radial sailors Nicholas Gartner (10th) and Colin Brego (11th) rounded out the team for Antilles while Mack Bryan, of the Country Day School on St. Croix, was also in action. Bryan finished 20th in Laser Radials.

There was a delayed start on the first day of the regatta, Tayler said, and wind conditions were light. The sailors still got eight races in and then enjoyed about 10-12 knots on the second day.

Even though it's considered an individual sailing event, Antilles finished atop the team standings last year fueled by a first-place showing from Ian Barrows. Barrows, now a senior, did not compete last weekend because he had to focus on schoolwork.

Barrows won the Cressy Trophy in 2011 in the Laser Radial Class and is expected to add even more depth to a senior-laden Antilles squad with more qualifiers slated for March.

"We only lost one senior from last year so we're pretty much the same team," Tayler said. "I guess that adds a little pressure, but we're going to continue to work hard."

Kyle Brego will focus on this year's Cressy Trophy the next month and looks forward to rest of the high school sailing season.

"I'm going to train during the week and on the weekends," he said. "The focus will be to practice in all different conditions. Long Beach is going to be choppy and it will be cold. But I'm definitely looking forward to it."

Roller competes at U.S. Naval Academy

St. Mary's College of Maryland senior Mimi Roller, a St. John native, finished second in the Laser Radial class at the MAISA Women's Singlehanded Championship at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., last weekend.

Roller, who represented the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 2012 Summer Olympics, scored 25 points, and her runner-up finish earned her a berth into the ICSA Women's National Singlehanded Championships on Nov. 2-4 in Long Beach, Calif.

The competition for the Faye Bennet Trophy last weekend attracted 16 sailors from six schools as Navy junior Marissa Lihan took first place by 20 points. Roller's teammate, sophomore Catherine Shanahan, rounded out the top five finishers with 90 points and also advanced.

- Contact sports writer Aaron Gray at 714-9102 or email agray@dailynews.vi.

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